Leading lawyers from Bindmans LLP and Doughty Street Chambers were instructed by the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), Palestinian Journalist’s Syndicate (PJS) and the International Centre of Justice for Palestinians (ICJP) to submit the complaint which asked the ICC prosecutor to launch in investigation into the targeted killing and maiming of journalists and the destruction of the media infrastructure in Palestine.
The complaint details the systematic targeting of Palestinian journalists on behalf of four named victims – Ahmed Abu Hussein, Yaser Murtaja, Muath Amarneh and Nedal Eshtayeh – who were killed or maimed by Israeli snipers while covering demonstrations in Gaza. All were wearing clearly marked PRESS vests at the time they were shot. The complaint also details the targeting of media and bombing of the Al-Shorouk and Al-Jawhara Towers in Gaza City in May 2021.
On 11 May 2022, just days after the ICC prosecutor acknowledged receipt of the complaint, Palestinian American journalist, Shireen Abu Akleh, was shot in the occupied West Bank. A long-time TV correspondent for Al Jazeera Arabic, Shireen was killed while covering Israeli army raids in the city of Jenin. There are strong grounds to believe that Shireen was shot by Israeli armed forces. Her case joins a long list of journalists targeted by the Israeli armed forces in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
Exclusively, Al Jazeera’s Jerusalem Bureau Chief, Walid Al-Omari, will join key speakers from Doughty Street Chambers and Bindmans LLP along with speakers from the International Federation of Journalists, the Palestinian Journalists' Syndicate, and the ICJP to present key parts of the complaint lodged in April and to provide an important update on the killing of Shireen Abu Akleh.
Tayab Ali, Director of the ICJP comments: "A free press is the cornerstone of a democracy. The targeting of journalists in conflict zones anywhere in the world is unacceptable and must bring severe consequences for those that try to hide their crimes and violations by killing or maiming journalists. On 5 February 2021, the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber accepted that it has jurisdiction over the situation in Gaza, West Bank and East Jerusalem. We are confident that the ICC will investigate and prosecute the perpetrators of the crimes alleged in our complaint. There could not be a more important time than now for the ICC and international community to send a clear signal to states that further their own interests through war crimes, that they will not have impunity, but will instead be swiftly held to account for their violations."
IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger said: "Once again, journalists wearing press waistcoats and clearly identified as media workers were targeted by snipers. The systematic targeting of Palestinian journalists cannot go unpunished. The journalists and their families deserve justice and the IFJ working with the PJS, ICJP, Bindmans and Doughty Street Chambers is determined to ensure those responsible for crimes against journalists are held accountable".