World Court reopens Mavi Marmara war crimes case against Israel

The ICC has reopened a war crimes case against Israel.

By World Israel News Staff

The International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague reopened the investigation into the 2010 Mavi Marmara incident on Monday.

The case, involving a flotilla of ships attempting to break through the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip, has a peculiar history in the International Criminal Court.

Its chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, attempted to close the case several times, arguing that the 10 Turkish nationals killing during the Israeli raid to stop the flotilla is not sufficiently large to warrant an investigation.

In November of 2014, 2015 and 2017, Bensouda tried closing the case. But the ICC Pretrial Chamber each time in a narrow split decision ordered her to revisit her findings. After doing so she reached the same conclusion: That while war crimes may have been committed the case wasn’t of sufficient gravity to warrant the ICC’s involvement.

The Mavi Marmara was a Turkish vessel, one of six ships that attempted to run through Israel’s blockade. It was organized by the Turkish Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief (İHH).

The IHH is banned as a terrorist group in Germany, Israel and the U.S.

When Shayetet 13 Israeli Naval commandos attempted to board the ship they were met by unexpected violence from an organized group of 40 passengers armed with bars and knives.

Ten Turkish nationals were killed and several commandos were beaten. It later emerged that five of those killed had declared their desire to become shaheeds, or martyrs, New York’s Daily News reported in 2011.

It’s not clear if the ICC has jurisdiction over the case as it was brought under the presumption that the Mavi Marmara was sailing under the Comoros flag.

In June, Israel Hayom reported, “This is essential to any potential IHH proceedings against IDF soldiers in The Hague, as the ICC can only try cases involving countries that are signatories to the Rome Statute – the treaty that established the International Criminal Court – and neither Israel nor Turkey have joined it.”

It appears that the Marmara was not flying under a Comoros flag.

Attorney Nitsana Darshan-Leitner of Shurat HaDin, (Israel Law Center), argues that as a result the ICC has no jurisdiction.