Palestinian Journalists to Complain to ICC against Targeting by Israel

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate (PJS), and international rights groups are preparing to lodge a complaint with the International Criminal Court (ICC) against Israel over the latter’s “systematic targeting” of Palestinian journalists in Gaza, the IFJ has announced in a press release.

Al-Jalaa Tower in Gaza, which housed international media offices, only seconds before it was entirely toppled by an Israeli air strike on May 15, 2021 (Photo: WAFA)

Working with Palestinian and human rights groups, the IFJ said it has retained leading human rights lawyers from the British-based Bindmans and Doughty Street Chambers to submit the complaint to the ICC.

The complaint will detail the systematic targeting of Palestinian journalists on behalf of four named victims – Ahmed Abu Hussein, Yaser Murtaja, Muath Armaneh and Nedal Eshtayet – who were killed or maimed by Israeli snipers while covering demonstrations in Gaza. All were wearing clearly marked PRESS vests at the time they were shot.

The complaint will also include the targeting of media and bombing of the Al-Shorouk and Al-Jawhara Towers in Gaza City in May 2021 including the cases of Alam News, Al Hayat Newspapers, Mayadeen Media, Al Bawaba 24 and others.

In December 2020, the IFJ submitted complaints to the UN Special Rapporteurs (UNSR) setting out how the systematic targeting of journalists working in Palestine and its failure to properly investigate killings of media workers violates the right to life and freedom of expression, is in breach of international humanitarian law, and may amount to war crimes. The UNSR complaint also raised broader issues affecting Palestinian journalists, including discrimination, violations of freedom of movement and restrictions on press accreditation.

IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger reiterated: “The targeting of journalists and media organizations in Palestine violates the right to life and freedom of expression. These crimes must be fully investigated. This systematic targeting must stop. The journalists and their families deserve justice and the IFJ working with the PJS, ICJP, Bindmans and Doughty Street Chambers is determined to ensure those responsible for crimes against journalists are held accountable.”