Guest Writer: Justice is still being sought nine years after Israel’s attack on the Mavi Marmara | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED


Guest Writer: Justice is still being sought nine years after Israel’s attack on the Mavi Marmara

On 31 May, 2010, Israel carried out a deadly attack on human rights activists trying to deliver humanitarian aid to the besieged Gaza Strip. After boarding the Mavi Marmara during a dawn raid whilst it was sailing in international waters, Israeli soldiers killed nine aid workers and injured several others; one of those injured succumbed to his wounds a few years later. The assault was met with international outrage, but nine years on the victims of the attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla are still seeking justice. I was on board the Mavi Marmara on that day and witnessed the ordeal of my fellow passengers. Since then, as a lawyer, I have been working closely with the victims in their quest for justice.

The victims of the attack and their families took their case to the International Criminal Court (ICC). On 14 May 2013, an application was made to the ICC on behalf of the Comoros, where the Mavi Marmara was registered, against several Israeli politicians and military officials. These included the late Shimon Peres, who was President of Israel at the time, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. They were accused of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity during the attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla.

In her first decision on 6 November 2014, the ICC Prosecutor stated that war crimes had been committed by Israel, describing the attack as “wilful killing and causing serious injury to body and health, and committing outrages upon personal dignity.” All of the passengers taking part in the Flotilla had the status of protected civilians under international law and the Israeli soldiers carried out the attack despite knowing that the passengers were civilians. The Prosecutor objected to Israel’s claims of self-defence by stating that, “The autopsy reports of those killed indicate that they have received multiple shots in the head, legs and neck and at least five of the passengers who were killed were shot at close range.”

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