The International Criminal Court’s prosecutor Fatou Bensouda rejected an order for her to reconsider the decision to close her initial probe of the case and reopen the investigation into the deaths of 10 Turkish citizens aboard a Gaza blockade-busting ship in 2010.
In response, the Israeli Foreign Ministry released a statement, signaling approval of ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s decision to appeal the order by a three-judge panel to reconsider her closing of the investigation.
“The ICC never had any business to deal with this event to begin with,” an Israeli official said. “Israel acted out of self-defense according to international law.”
The Israeli raid on the Gaza-bound vessel in May 2010 led to a bloody clash with activists aboard the ship, leaving 10 Turks dead and a number of Israeli soldiers injured.
The incident was initially probed by an Israeli committee headed by jurist Jacob Turkel with the participation of international observers, the Israeli official noted.
There was no official word from the ICC, but a document shared on Twitter and signed by Bensouda, calling for the probe to be closed, seemed to confirm the report.
Bensouda was asked earlier in July to reconsider her decision last year to close the probe, despite saying there was a possibility that war crimes were committed.
Comoros, under whose flag the Mavi Marmara was sailing, appealed Bensouda’s decision earlier this month, leading a pretrial chamber of three judges to state last Thursday that Bensouda “committed material errors” in her assessment of the case’s gravity.
Consequently, the judges ordered Bensouda to reconsider “as soon as possible” her decision not to proceed with a full investigation.
Last week, she told The Times of Israel that the ICC was “carefully studying the decision and will decide on the next steps in due course.
“The decision on whether to open an investigation depends on the facts and circumstances of each situation,” Bensouda added.
In November 2014, Bensouda closed her preliminary examination into the Marmara case.
In her decision to drop the original case, Bensouda argued that Israeli forces may have committed war crimes when they stormed the Marmara, but that the possible offenses were not grave enough to merit a prosecution at the ICC.
Under the ICC’s rules, the body can only investigate cases that have not already been sufficiently probed by their home countries.