Turkish victims ask international criminal court to pursue Israeli gunmen over raid on ship
The international criminal court is being urged to prosecute members of the Israeli defence force for the raid on a Gaza-bound aid ship. Turkish victims have formally requested an investigation, the Guardian has learned.
Lawyers acting for Turkish citizens injured or killed when Israel intercepted the flotilla in May have written to Luis Moreno Ocampo, the court's prosecutor, claiming there is an "overwhelming" case for prosecution.
The request is a significant step towards a criminal investigation by the court, which experts say has jurisdiction to prosecute those involved in the raid despite
"The attack on the flotilla occurred in international waters, which directly violated many parts of international law as well as international public and criminal law," said Ramazan Ariturk, a partner at Elmadag Law Office, the Turkish legal body that is representing the Turkish victims and the human rights group IHH. "The crimes committed by Israeli Defence Forces should be prosecuted and the International Criminal Court is the sole authority which is able to do that."
There is mounting pressure on
The report, published last month, said
An Israeli government spokesperson said: "The event is being investigated by
The likelihood of
Neither Isreal nor the Palestinian territories are parties to the
But the Turkish victims' lawyers say the involvement of Turkey with the Mavi Marmara and the fact it was sailing under the flag of the
"Based on the overwhelming volume of materials and evidence in our possession, amassed since the date of the incident itself, including expert opinions obtained from prominent specialists in international criminal law, we are of the view that the Israeli attack on the Gaza flotilla involves crimes which fall unambiguously within the jurisdiction of the court," the letter says.
The victims' calls were backed up last week by Desmond da Silva, a QC and former UN war crimes prosecutor who said there were technical grounds for asking the ICC to intervene.
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