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Reporters Without Borders asks ICC to investigate Israel war crimes against journalists

May 16, 2018 at 2:20 pm

Global media freedoms watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has “formally asked” the International Criminal Court to investigate “what it regards as war crimes” committed by the Israeli military against Palestinian journalists covering protests in Gaza since 30 March.

READ: ICC warns Israel over killing of protesters in Gaza

According to a statement from the group, the submission to ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda is based on Article 15 of the Rome Statute, and “concerns the direct shots that IDF snipers have fired at some 20 Palestinian journalists during the ‘March of Return’ protests in Gaza”.

Journalists shot on Monday:

  • Omar Hamdane, a cameraman working for the Algerian national TV broadcaster ENTV, sustained gunshot injuries to the foot
  • Al Jazeera reporter Wael Dahdouh was injured in the right hand
  • Zain Media cameraman Mohammed Abu Dahrouj was hit in the left leg
  • Yasser Qudeih, a freelance photographer, sustained a gunshot injury to the stomach
  • Abdullah Al-Shorbagi, was shot in the left foot
  • Nihad Fuad, a reporter for Forsan Al-Erada community radio, was hit in the head
  • Farhan Hashem Abu Hadayd, a reporter for the Safad Press website, was shot in the left leg

In RSF’s view, “these are crimes that clearly fall under the ICC’s competence.”

The Israeli authorities could not have been unaware of the presence of journalists among the civilian demonstrators, and therefore failed in the elementary duty of precaution and differentiation when targeting these protected persons with live rounds

said RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire.

“These deliberate and repeated violations of international humanitarian law constitute war crimes. While referring them to the International Criminal Court, RSF calls on the Israeli authorities to strictly respect international law,” he added.

RSF noted that two Palestinian journalists have been killed by live rounds fired by Israeli soldiers since 30 March, namely Yaser Murtaja, 30, a photographer for the independent Ain Media agency, and Ahmed Abu Hussein, 27, a reporter for Shaab and Bisann News.

“In all,” RSF concluded, “at least 20 other journalists have sustained gunshots injuries, of whom at least three were clearly identified as media personnel.”