The International Criminal Court said that it initiated a preliminary investigation into the May 2010 deadly Israeli attack that targeted the Turkish MV Marmara solidarity Ship leading to the death of nine Turkish activists. humanitarian and medical supplies.The court said it needs to investigate the issue to determine whether the Israeli attack constituted war crimes, or crimes against humanity.
ICC Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, stated on May 14 that the preliminary aims at determining whether the criteria for initiating an investigation have been met.
Bensouda said that she carefully examined all acquired information, and that she will be “making a determination that will be publicly declared in due course”.
She further stated that she met several lawyers, based in Istanbul, representing the government of the Comoros that referred to file for her office. The MV Marmara Turkish ship was registered in the Comoros Island, in the Indian Ocean, that has been a member of the ICC since 2006.
The MV Mararma was part of the Freedom Flotilla, one of many solidarity ships that sailed to Gaza to deliver the urgently needed medical and humanitarian supplies to the besieged Gaza Strip.
Israel imposed a deadly siege on Gaza in 2006 after Palestinian fighters abducted Israeli corporal Gilad Shalit from a military base across the border with Gaza. The siege was intensified in 2007, leading to the death of hundreds of patients due to the lack of medical equipment and medications.
Shalit was released in 2011 under a mediated prisoner swap deal that secured the release of more than 1000 Palestinian detainees held by Israel.
A few days ago, Turkish deputy Prime Minister, Bülent Arınç, stated that the reconciliation agreement that is being formulated between Israel and Turkey, obliges the families of the Turkish victims to drop all charges filed against Israel for the attack on Marmara, and in return, Israel will pay“a very generous compensation”, according to the official.
He added that should an agreement be signed, all families will be legally bound to drop all charges, and that the families that do not drop the charges will not be compensated.
Turkish sources reported that the families said they are determined to continue the legal battle against Israel, and its officers responsible for the deadly attack on Marmara.
A representative of the families said that they cannot accept their government’s intention to drop the charges against Israel, and added that “it is inconceivable to be talking about compensation without justice, and without lifting the illegal and deadly blockade on Gaza.