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Legal experts to refer case of slain Palestinian journalist to ICC

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Palestinian women hold the picture of slain Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh during her funeral in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin, May 13, 2022. (Photo by AP)

An international team of legal experts says they plan to refer the case of veteran Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, who was recently killed by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank, to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The announcement was made during a Friday press conference held in the British capital, London, that included the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate, the International Federation of Journalists, the International Center for Justice for Palestinians (ICJP), and Al Jazeera Media Network.

Nasser Abu Bakr, head of the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate, said the association was determined to proceed with the case to the end and stressed that launching an immediate investigation was a matter of great importance.

"We want accountability and trial for the perpetrators of crimes against Palestinian journalists so that they do not escape punishment in accordance with the resolution of the United Nations General Assembly in 2013,” Abu Bakr said.

“We demand that the trial of the perpetrators constitute an entry point for providing international protection for Palestinian journalists, especially since the number of journalists who have been killed has increased since 2000 to this day to more than 50 journalists,” he added.

The head of the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate underlined, "The targeting is systematic and intentional, and we are no longer able to tolerate more, and we are afraid of its escalation and increase in all forms and targeting, which poses a real danger to every Palestinian journalist, especially those who cover events in the field and on the ground."

Walid Al-Omari, director of Al Jazeera's office in Palestine, said the channel was determined to achieve justice for Abu Akleh, adding that all reports confirm the veteran journalist’s killing was a premeditated murder and there were no gunmen or demonstrators at the site where she was killed.

Al-Omari stressed that all the data indicated that Abu Akleh was killed by a sniper's rifle, who had deliberately shot her in the head.

Abu Akleh was shot in the head by Israeli forces on May 11, while she was standing with a group of journalists near the entrance of Jenin refugee camp, reporting on an Israeli raid on the camp.

Her tragic death sent shock waves across the region, drawing global condemnation. The United Nations and the European Union, among others, called for a full investigation into what has been described as a deliberate murder “in cold blood.”

More than 50 US lawmakers have so far called for an investigation into the crime as Tel Aviv is refusing to launch a probe.

Over 100 leading artists from across the world have also condemned Israel’s killing of Abu Akleh, demanding accountability for the regime’s crimes.

The International Criminal Court has already opened an investigation into possible war crimes by Israel in both the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip. However, Israel does not recognize the court’s jurisdiction and has called the war crimes probe unfair and anti-Semitic.

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