[News] Case of Gaza family killed in their sleep taken to International Criminal Court

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Mon Nov 23 15:40:46 EST 2015


  Case of Gaza family killed in their sleep taken to International
  Criminal Court

Ali Abunimah <https://electronicintifada.net/people/ali-abunimah>
*https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/case-gaza-family-killed-their-sleep-taken-international-criminal-court*
23 November 2015

“We have become used to Israel killing and injuring Palestinians in the 
Gaza Strip,” says Bouthaineh al-Louh. “But nothing could have fully 
prepared me for the devastating loss of my sons, grandsons and 
granddaughters in an attack against our family home.”

Al-Louh is one of the Palestinians whose cases are included in evidence 
submitted Monday to Fatou Bensouda 
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/fatou-bensouda>, the chief 
prosecutor at the International Criminal Court 
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/international-criminal-court> 
(ICC), of crimes documented by Palestinian human rights organizations 
during Israel’s 2014 offensive against the Gaza Strip.


    Killed in their sleep

“On 20 August 2014 at 4:45 AM, Israel attacked our home in Deir al-Balah 
whilst my family was fast asleep. My son and two stepsons were killed in 
the attack, as well as my nine-months pregnant daughter-in-law and her 
three children,” al-Louh says in a statement 
<http://alhaq.org/advocacy/targets/international-criminal-court-icc/998-palestinian-human-rights-organisations-deliver-submission-to-the-international-criminal-court-on-alleged-israeli-war-crimes-and-crimes-against-humanity-during-2014-gaza-offensive> 
from Al-Haq <https://electronicintifada.net/tags/al-haq-0>, whose 
director Shawan Jabarin 
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/shawan-jabarin> handed the file to 
Bensouda in The Hague.

The evidence addresses specific attacks on Palestinian homes, hospitals, 
schools and high-rise buildings.

It was submitted by Al-Haq, Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights 
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/al-mezan>, Aldameer and the 
Palestinian Centre for Human Rights 
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/pchr> under a provision of the 
court’s founding Rome Statute 
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/rome-statute-international-criminal-court> 
that permits the prosecutor to launch investigations on her own 
initiative on the basis of information she receives.

This can include evidence submitted by states, human rights 
organizations and international bodies.

Monday’s submission is the first of its kind 
<https://ccrjustice.org/home/press-center/press-releases/palestinian-human-rights-delegation-meets-hague-court-prosecutor>, 
according to the Center for Constitutional Rights 
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/center-constitutional-rights>, 
whose attorney Katherine Gallagher accompanied the Palestinian 
delegation to the ICC.

If Bensouda’s preliminary analysis finds there is a “reasonable basis to 
proceed,” the prosecutor must seek permission from a panel of judges, 
known as a pre-trial chamber, to open a formal investigation.

Israel’s 51-day assault on Gaza beginning in early July 2014, left more 
than 2,200 Palestinians dead, including 551 children, according to the 
report of an independent UN inquiry 
<https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/balance-un-gaza-report-cant-hide-massive-israeli-war-crimes> 
published in June.

Israel injured thousands more, displaced hundreds of thousands of people 
and devastated large areas of Gaza.

That inquiry concluded that the death and destruction was the 
consequence of a “policy, approved at least tacitly by decision-makers 
at the highest levels of the Government of Israel.”

In January, the ICC prosecutor opened a preliminary examination 
<https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/icc-preliminary-probe-palestine-still-long-way-war-crimes-trials> 
into the situation in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, dating back 
to 13 June 2014, which includes the attack on Gaza.

This followed the UN’s announcement that it had accepted 
<http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/01/07/us-palestinians-israel-un-idUSKBN0KG1JV20150107> 
the Palestinian Authority’s accession to the ICC, as the “State of 
Palestine.”

In February, the National Lawyers Guild submitted a report 
<https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/charlotte-silver/icc-receives-report-debunking-israels-self-defense-claims-gaza-attack> 
to the ICC prosecutor debunking Israeli claims that the attack on Gaza 
was an act of self-defense.


    Reluctant

Israel and the US administration of President Barack Obama have been 
implacably hostile 
<https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/icc-preliminary-probe-palestine-still-long-way-war-crimes-trials> 
to any efforts to bring accountability for Israel’s crimes.

Perhaps as a result 
<https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/milosevic-prosecutor-claims-top-icc-official-bowing-israeli-us-pressure> 
of the intense political pressure on the court, Bensouda has been 
reluctant in at least one other major case to proceed with 
investigations of Israeli crimes.

Earlier this month, ICC appeal judges ordered her 
<https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/charlotte-silver/icc-prosecutor-ordered-investigate-israeli-attack-mavi-marmara> 
to review her decision to close a preliminary examination into Israel’s 
deadly attack on a ship full of activists in May 2010.

Bensouda has yet to reach a new decision on whether or not to pursue 
Israel’s violent raid on the /Mavi Marmara/, a Turkish-owned vessel that 
was part of a flotilla sailing in international waters on its way to 
break the Israeli siege on Gaza.

Ten people died as a result of the Israeli attack.


    End impunity

Palestinian human rights defenders and Israel’s victims hope that the 
evidence they handed Bensouda today will leave the court no excuse not 
to pursue justice for Israel’s victims in Gaza.

“We are confident that the information now at the disposal of the office 
of the prosecutor is sufficient to open an investigation, and urge her 
to act quickly to begin a formal investigation,” Al-Haq director Shawan 
Jabarin said.

“Israel is unwilling and Palestine is unable to domestically hold to 
account Israeli perpetrators of international crimes,” Raji Sourani 
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/raji-sourani>, director of the 
Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, stated. “We need the ICC to break 
the cycle of impunity.”

“Our family will never again be complete, and our house is in ruins,” 
Bouthaineh al-Louh stated. “I hope that the ICC can acknowledge the 
crimes that we endured and punish those that deprived us of our loved ones.”

-- 
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