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Abu Akleh killing referred to ICC in complaint on family’s behalf

A Palestinian holds a light candle and a picture of slain Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, to condemn her killing, in front of the office of Al Jazeera network, in Gaza City, May 11, 2022. (AP Photo/Adel Hana, File)
A Palestinian holds a light candle and a picture of slain Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, to condemn her killing, in front of the office of Al Jazeera network, in Gaza City, May 11, 2022. (AP Photo/Adel Hana, File)

A coalition of lawyers and advocacy groups says it has referred the fatal shooting of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh to the International Criminal Court on behalf of her family, calling on prosecutors to investigate what it describes as Israel’s “deliberate targeting” of the veteran reporter.

Palestinian officials, Abu Akleh’s family and Al Jazeera accuse Israel of intentionally targeting and killing the 51-year-old journalist, who was wearing a helmet and a protective vest marked with the word “press” when she was shot in May in the West Bank during a gunfight between IDF soldiers and Palestinian gunmen.

Israel has acknowledged that Israeli fire probably killed Abu Akleh, but vigorously denies allegations that a soldier intentionally targeted her.

That point of contention has become central to Palestinian efforts to hold Israel accountable for the shooting. Abu Akleh’s advocates say they have added her case to a legal complaint taken by the ICC that accuses Israel of deliberately killing and wounding Palestinian journalists wearing press vests in the West Bank and Gaza.

“Our family shouldn’t have to wait another day for justice,” Anton Abu Akleh, Shireen’s brother, tells reporters from The Hague. “No other Palestinian-American or journalist family should have to endure what ours has.”

Filing a complaint with the court does not guarantee that prosecutors will open an investigation. If opened, such an investigation could take years, with actual prosecution far off.

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