ICC Prosecutor Rejects Request to Reopen Marmara Probe

International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda on Monday appealed a recent ruling by a special panel of judges that she must reconsider her previous decision not to investigate alleged war crimes committed by IDF troops when they boarded the Mavi Marmara ship in May 2010, Haaretz reported.

In an unusual move, the ICC judges on July 16 decided to investigate the previously closed case in which ten protesters who attacked IDF soldiers with lethal weapons were killed and Israeli troops were wounded.

The judges called to "recheck" the decision not to investigate the IDF's naval commando Shayetet 13 storming of the Mavi Marmara, conducted after the flotilla ignored repeated demands to stand down and have Israel deliver its supposed humanitarian goods to Gaza, in defense of Israel's legal maritime blockade of Gaza.

Bensouda, who closed the file on the case seven months ago, wrote in her appeal Monday that the judges’ decision altered the mandate she was given under the Rome Statute that established the ICC, and dramatically expands the scope of issues the court is meant to deal with.

The prosecutor also argued that the special panel found technical errors in her work solely with regard to those decisions it disagreed with. As such, Bensouda said, the judges had exceeded their authority under the Rome Statute, according to Haaretz.

The prosecutor asked the ICC appeals court to overturn the demand to reevaluate her decision not to investigate, and to finally reject the complaint the Comoros Islands had filed in 2013 on the matter. The Mavi Marmara is a Comoros-flagged passenger ship.

The judges’ call to reopen the case was condemned by Israeli officials. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu stressed that "IDF soldiers acted in self defense while stopping an attempt to break a blockade carried out in accordance with international law as determined by the committee appointed by the UN Secretary General, a committee headed by a Supreme Court judge and international observers.”

He condemned the ICC for choosing to single out Israel for cynical political reasons while Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad is massacring tens of thousands of his own people, hundreds are being executed in Iran and Hamas in Gaza uses children as human shields.

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon described the decision as “scandalous” and “hypocritical”, adding, "The soldiers followed international law and defended themselves from violence by terrorists. We are fully backing the fighters, and we will fight to the bitter end against any attempt to harm them.”

Similarly, Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid described the ICC as “anti-Semitic” and “hypocritical” in the wake of the decision.

Following the Marmara incident, Israeli authorities found the vessel wasn't carrying any humanitarian aid, indicating how the true goal of the provocative move was to open Gaza to free naval access, which it has consistently used to smuggle in weapons to be targeted against Israel.

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/198714

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