ICC prosecutor opens initial probe into Gaza flotilla

THE HAGUE (AFP) – The International Criminal Court (ICC) has opened a preliminary probe into Israel’s deadly raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla in 2010, the prosecutor’s office said Tuesday.

Established in 2002, the ICC is the world’s only permanent independent tribunal, set up to try the world’s worst crimes. The Rome Statute is the court’s founding document.

“My office will be conducting a preliminary examination in order to establish whether the criteria for opening an investigation are met,” Fatou Bensouda said in a statement issued from the court based in The Hague.

If Bensouda believes she has enough evidence, she may then approach judges for the go-ahead to open a full investigation which could lead to a future trial.

The ship on which the activists sailed was registered in the Indian Ocean island country, which has been a state party to the ICC since 2006.

Nine Turkish nationals were killed when Israeli commandos staged a botched pre-dawn raid on a six-ship flotilla seeking to bust Israel’s naval blockade of the Gaza Strip on May 31, 2010.

Israel imposed its blockade on Gaza in 2006 after militants there seized an Israeli soldier, who was eventually freed in 2011 in a trade for 1,000 Palestinian prisoners held by Israel. The blockade was strengthened in 2007, when the Islamist Hamas movement took control of Gaza, then eased somewhat following an international outcry over the killing of the Turkish activists.

Source: Ma’an News