The ICC says it will not take action over Israel's 2010 raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla, in which 10 activists died. But the court said Israeli forces may have committed war crimes during the attack.
The International Criminal Court's (ICC's) prosecutor said on Thursday that possible crimes committed by Israeli forces when they raided an aid flotilla headed for Gaza in 2010 did not merit action by the court.
Chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said there would be no investigation or potential prosecution because the alleged crimes, including the killing of 10 Turkish activists, were not of "sufficient gravity."
"Following a thorough legal and factual analysis of the information available, I have concluded that there is a reasonable basis to believe that war crimes under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court were committed on one of the vessels, the Mavi Marmara, when Israeli Defense Forces intercepted the 'Gaza Freedom Flotilla' on 31 May 2010," Bensouda said in a statement.
"However [...] I have concluded that the potential case likely arising from an investigation into this incident would not be of sufficient gravity to justify further action by the ICC," she said.
The ICC opened a preliminary investigation into the raid last year at the request of the tiny African state of Comoros, under whose flag the Mavi Marmara (pictured above) was sailing.
The report from the investigation concluded that "there is a reasonable basis to believe" that Israeli forces may have committed the crimes of willful killing, willfully causing serious injury and committing outrages upon personal dignity.
Eight Turks and one Turkish-American were killed on the spot when Israeli commandos stormed a six-ship flotilla trying to get through Israel's naval blockade of the Gaza Strip. A tenth Turkish activist later died of his wounds.
A UN report in July 2011 concluded that the raid was justified, but that excessive force had been used.
The incident led to a rift in relations between Israel and Turkey, formerly regional allies. Ankara's demand for an apology and compensation for the victims' families has never been met by Israel, which has also continued with its blockade of the Palestinian enclave despite Turkish admonitions.
A Turkish lawyer representing Comoros said he would continue to work toward an ICC prosecution despite Thursday's announcement.
tj/sb (AFP, AP)