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ICC will not take action over Gaza flotilla raid

(Transcript from SBS World News Radio)

The United Nations backed International Criminal Court says it will not take action over Israel’s deadly raid on a flotilla bound for Gaza in 2010.

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It comes as Israel faces strained diplomatic relations with Turkey and other neigbours over recent unrest in Jerusalem.

Brianna Roberts reports.

(Click on the audio tab above to hear the full report)

Before dawn on the 31st of May, 2010, Israeli soldiers boarded the Turkish-owned ship Mavi Marmara in international waters off the coast of Israel.

The ship was part of a flotilla called the “Gaza Freedom Flotilla” which was trying to deliver aid to Gaza in breach of an Israeli blockade on the territory.

10 Israeli soldiers were injured in the ensuing chaos, and 10 Turkish nationals died.

The International Criminal Court had been examining whether the actions amounted to war crimes.

ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda says even though war crimes may have been committed, they were not “grave enough” to merit a prosecution.

“These alleged crimes include notably wilful killing, wilfully causing serious injury to body and health and committing outrages upon personal dignity. However, after carefully assessing all relevant considerations, I concluded that the potential case, or cases, likely arising from an investigation into this incident would not be of sufficient gravity to justify further action by the court.”

Israel’s Foreign Ministry says it regrets that the ICC’s time had been wasted on what Isreal says was a politically motivated complaint.

The Ministry released a statement saying the incident had been examined prevously by an Israeli investigation and the UN.

It said:

“Israel believes that it was pointless to initiate a preliminary inquiry in the first place, and regrets that the resources and precious time of the court – an institution established to combat the world’s worst atrocities – were allocated to an unfounded and politically motivated legal complaint.”

The UN ruled that Israel’s decision to board the vessels with such force was “excessive.”

But, it said Israeli forces “faced significant, organised and violent resistance” from a group of passengers which required them to use force for their own protection.

The ruling comes amid strained relations between Turkey and Israel.

As the ICC announced its decision, Turkey issued a stern warning to Israel over its actions at Holy sites in Jersalem.

Tensions over a compound, which is a holy site in both Islam and Judaism, have fueled daily clashes between Israeli security forces and Palestinians in Jerusalem in recent weeks.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has condemned a raid by Israeli forces on the compound, which houses the al Aqsa mosque.

“(The) Israeli administration’s attempt is barbaric, villainous and unforgivable. We cannot remain silent in the face of these developments. We have to take every measure that is necessary within the international framework.”

Relations between Turkey and Israel has deteriorated sharply in recent years.

Last year Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu attemped to repair diplomatic relations, apologising for the 2010 flotilla raid.

Reconcilliation appears to be now a distant hope for the two countries, which were once regional allies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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