The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) is closing the books on the Mavi Marmara case.
The Mavi Marmara was a Turkish vessel in a flotilla to the Gaza Strip that attempted to run the Israeli blockade of the territory in 2010. While Israel ultimately seized control of the ship, its soldiers were attacked by the passengers, many of whom were tied to a Turkish organization with terrorist connections.
After fighting the attackers for some time, the soldiers responded with handguns, killing 9. Israel was widely condemned internationally, despite video footage of the attackers brutally beating the soldiers.
Chief Prosecutor of the ICC Fatou Bensouda announced the decision to close the case against the Israeli soldiers and officers, which sought to charge them with war crimes, the Hebrew website Ynet reported on Friday.
The decision ends a long on-and-off investigation into the incident. Passengers on the Mavi Marmara have attempted to prosecute IDF soldiers and officials in numerous forums. Israel ultimately apologized and paid restitution to Turkey in a deal brokered by former President Barack Obama. Nonetheless, the plaintiffs pursued charges at the ICC.
In 2014, the ICC posited that it was “reasonable to believe” that war crimes had been committed. However, the court concluded there was “insufficient material” to bring charges.
The court reopened the case in 2015 in response to requests from survivors of the incident. A lengthy investigation followed, after which the court found no reason to overturn the previous judgment. According to Ynet, the court found “no reasonable basis to believe that the crimes revealed were widespread or part of a plan or policies.”
In announcing her decision to end the investigation, Bensouda stated, “For all these reasons … I decided to close this preliminary examination. … However, I would like to make it clear that I am fully aware of the impact of the alleged crimes on the victims and their families, and my conclusion does not justify any crimes that may have been committed during the Mavi Marmara incident.”
(C) 2017 . The Algemeiner . Benjamin Kerstein