Al Jazeera to send Shireen Abu Akleh killing case to ICC
The Al Jazeera Media Network announced on Thursday that it would refer the killing of its veteran journalist Shireen Abu Akleh to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague.
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The Qatar-based media network said it had formed an international coalition consisting of its legal team and international experts, and was preparing a dossier on Abu Akleh's killing for submission to the ICC prosecutor.
"Al Jazeera Media Network condemns the killing of our colleague Shireen Abu Akleh, who worked with the Network for 25 years as a professional journalist covering the ongoing conflict in the occupied Palestinian territories," the network said in a statement.
"The Network vows to follow every path to achieve justice for Shireen, and ensure those responsible for her killing are brought to justice and held accountable in all international justice and legal platforms and courts."
Al Jazeera said it would also include in its submission the Israeli bombing of the network's office in Gaza during Israel's assault on the besieged strip in May 2021.
Abu Akleh, 51, was shot dead by Israeli forces on 11 May near the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank while covering an Israeli raid on the camp. Israel has denied targeting her and said it remained unclear who killed the journalist.
Eyewitnesses and colleagues who were present at the scene, including Middle East Eye correspondent Shatha Hanaysha, said Abu Akleh was targeted by an Israeli sniper. Al Jazeera said Abu Akleh was "assassinated in cold blood".
Calls have grown both in the US and internationally for an independent investigation into the killing of the Al Jazeera journalist. Earlier this month, more than 50 US lawmakers signed a letter calling for the FBI and State Department to intervene and lead a probe.
A coalition of more than 30 press freedom and human rights groups also published a statement on Thursday, calling for an immediate and independent investigation into the killing.
They called for "an international task force to investigate this attack and to ensure credibility and impartiality of procedures and outcomes".
Palestinian Foreign Minister Mustafa Barghouthi also announced the ICC had been formally asked to investigate Abu Akleh's killing. Barghouti, general secretary of the Palestinian National Initiative, said there was a need for strong international pressure on the ICC to investigate crimes including the killing of Abu Akleh.