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17.05.13 - ICC/COMORES - BENSOUDA LOOKING INTO ISRAELI RAID ON GAZA AID SHIP

Arusha, May 17, 2013 (FH) – The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) said this week she is opening a preliminary investigation into Israel’s May 2010 raid on a humanitarian aid flotilla bound for Gaza. Fatou Bensouda’s move follows a request to the ICC by the Comores.

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“In accordance with the requirements of the Rome Statute my office will be conducting a preliminary examination in order to establish whether the criteria for opening an investigation are met,” says a statement from Bensouda’s office. “After careful analysis of all available information, I shall make a determination that will be made public in due course.”

The statement was issued after Bensouda met Tuesday with lawyers representing the Comores. It was in the Comores that the Mavi Marmara, a ship that took part in the Gaza flotilla, was registered.

The flotilla of ships was trying to reach Gaza, in defiance of an Israeli blockade. At dawn on May 31, 2010, the ships were boarded by an Israeli commando in international waters. Nine Turks aboard the Marmara were killed in the raid. In September 2011, a UN report deemed the Israeli military intervention “excessive”, although it considered Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip legal.

Pressured by US President Barack Obama, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu apologized at the end of March to Turkey. 

ER/JC

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