ICC prosecutor again refuses 2010 Gaza flotilla raid probe

MIKE CORDER

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court on Monday again refused to open an investigation into the 2010 storming by Israeli forces of an aid flotilla heading to the Gaza strip.

Appeals judges in September ordered Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to reconsider her earlier refusals to open a formal investigation into the May 31, 2010, storming of the Mavi Marmara.

Eight Turks and one Turkish-American were killed and several other pro-Palestinian activists were wounded by Israeli commandos.

Bensouda has acknowledged that war crimes may have been committed in the raid but decided that the case wasn't serious enough to merit an ICC probe.

On Monday, she repeated that assertion.

“The Prosecutor maintains her view that there is not a reasonable basis to proceed, because there is no potential case arising from this situation that is sufficiently grave,” Bensouda said in a 44-page document.

The order was the latest and likely the last step in a long legal battle to bring the case before the court.

Bensouda first declined a request to investigate the raid in 2014. A panel of pretrial judges asked her to reconsider and she again refused to open an investigation in 2017. That decision was appealed, leading to the order earlier this year to again reconsider.

The original request was made by the tiny Indian Ocean islands nation of Comoros because the Mavi Marmara was sailing under a Comoros flag.

The ICC was set up as a court of last resort intended to prosecute senior leaders allegedly responsible for grave crimes including genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity when national courts prove unable or unwilling to take on such cases.

Israel is not a member state of the court but its nationals could have faced charges if Bensouda had opened an investigation.

Separately, Bensouda’s prosecution office is weighing up whether to open a formal investigation in the Palestinian territories, including Israel's settlement policy, crimes allegedly committed by both sides in the 2014 Gaza conflict and Hamas rocket attacks aimed at Israeli civilians.