Association for Defending Victims of Terrorism – The formal complaint details the targeting of four victims who were killed or maimed by Israeli snipers while covering Palestinian protests
A formal complaint has been filed with the International Criminal Court (ICC), alleging that Israel’s “systematic targeting” of Palestinian journalists and its failure to investigate their killings amounts to war crimes.
The complaint details the targeting of Palestinian journalists on behalf of four named victims – Ahmed Abu Hussein, Yaser Murtaja, Muath Amarneh, and Nedal Eshtayeh – who were killed or wounded by Israeli snipers while covering demonstrations in Gaza and the occupied West Bank. According to the complaint, all of them were wearing clearly marked “press” vests at the time they were shot.
Abu Hussein and Murtaja were killed in 2018, while photographers Amarneh and Eshtayeh were maimed in 2019 and 2015, respectively, after being shot by snipers in the eye.
For Palestinian journalists, violent attacks by Israeli forces come with the job. The complaint was filed in early April by the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate (PJS) and the International Centre of Justice for Palestinians (ICJP). The ICC’s Prosecutor’s Office (OPT) formally acknowledged receipt of the complaint on 25 April.
“The targeting of journalists and media organisations in Palestine violates the right to life and freedom of expression,” IFJ general secretary Anthony Bellanger said. “These crimes must be fully investigated. This systematic targeting must stop.”
On 5 February 2021, the ICC pre-trial chamber accepted that it has jurisdiction over the situation in Gaza, the West Bank, and occupied East Jerusalem. Now, those who filed the complaint are hoping the ICC will investigate and prosecute the perpetrators of the crimes against the Palestinian journalists.
“A free press is the cornerstone of a democracy. The targeting of journalists in conflict zones anywhere in the world is unacceptable and must bring severe consequences for those that try to hide their crimes and violations by killing or maiming journalists,” Tayab Ali, the director at ICJP, said.