Family of Shireen Abu Akleh files complaint at International Criminal Court

Relatives claim new evidence appended to submission proves reporter was ‘deliberately targeted,’ say US still has obligation to investigate ‘Israeli war criminals’

A mural of slain of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, in Gaza City, May 15, 2022. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)
A mural of slain of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, in Gaza City, May 15, 2022. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

The family of slain journalist Shireen Abu Akleh submitted an official complaint to the International Criminal Court (ICC) this week regarding her killing.

The family included new evidence in the complaint that it says proves Israeli soldiers “deliberately targeted” the Palestinian-American Al Jazeera reporter.

“The evidence is overwhelming. It’s been over four months since Shireen was killed. Our family shouldn’t have to wait another day for justice,” a statement said.

It continued: “It’s obvious that Israeli war criminals cannot investigate their own crimes. The US still has an obligation to investigate and take meaningful action for one of their own citizens. But when an individual state fails to protect its own citizens, it’s the responsibility of the international community to protect them instead.”

The veteran journalist was shot in the head on the morning of May 11 while covering a gun battle between Israeli forces and Palestinian terrorists during an IDF raid near the northern West Bank city of Jenin.

While the Israeli army has conducted its own investigation and acknowledged the bullet in question was “in very high likelihood” shot from an IDF gun, it firmly rejects allegations that the veteran journalist, who was wearing a vest and helmet marked “Press,” was deliberately targeted.

The International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, on March 31, 2021. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

The evidence the Abu Akleh family appended to the ICC submission was published publicly on Tuesday by Al-Haq, a Palestinian rights group blacklisted by the Israeli army due to alleged ties with the terrorist group PFLP, alongside the London-based research firm Forensic Architecture.

The report combined spatial and audio analysis, drone footage, geolocated video and previously unseen video footage filmed by another journalist at the scene.

The IDF told The Times of Israel in response to the report that it rejects the claim that Abu Akleh was shot intentionally and that the new investigation was “biased and misleading.”

The family has criticized the IDF’s internal investigation, saying that the army “tried to obscure the truth and avoid responsibility” for the killing.

Rights groups claim Israeli investigations of the shooting deaths of Palestinians often languish for months or years before being quietly closed and that soldiers are rarely held accountable.

In 2021, the ICC ruled that it had jurisdiction to investigate alleged crimes in the West Bank and Gaza. Israel, which is not a member of the ICC, rejected the decision.

Emanuel Fabian contributed to this report. 

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