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The Mavi Marmara trial will be held at ICC

In the International Criminal Court (ICC) in connection with the threats, The Mavi Marmara trial will be held on 1 May.

In an unprecedented turn of events brought about by the efforts of the lawyers of the victims to overturn the decision of the ICC prosecutor not to press charges against Israel, the concerned parties will come together at the ICC courthouse on May 1, 2019 at 9.30 to plead their case before the court.

In the aftermath of the vicious attack staged by Israel on the Mavi Marmara boat and the Gaza Freedom Flotilla on May, 31 2010, victims from 37 countries are still looking for justice, making their case on different legal platforms.

As is known, an application was made to the ICC on behalf of Comoros, the flag state of Mavi Marmara, on May 14, 2013. Following the application, a litigation process was launched against Israeli political and military offenders on behalf of Comoros, Cambodia and Greece.

ICC Prosecutor has previously pronounced her decision in November 6, 2014 by noting that ‘War crimes have been committed in the context of the interception of the Mavi Marmara and other vessels in the Flotilla by IDF soldiers on 31 May 2010, including namely “wilful killing, wilfully causing serious injury to body and health, and committing outrages upon personal dignity.”  As Israel continued to have effective control over Gaza, it has the status of an occupying power. All the passengers of the Flotilla had the status of protected civilians under international law and the Israeli soldiers carried out the attack despite knowing the passengers were civilians.’ The Prosecutor further reinforced her dismissal of self-defence by stating that ‘the autopsy reports of those killed indicate that they have received multiple shots in the head, legs and neck and at least 5 of the passengers who were killed were shot at close range.’

Despite finding crimes may have been committed by Israel, the Prosecutor refused to open an investigation into the attack on the basis that it did not carry sufficient ‘gravity’ to justify further action by the Court. Following the appeals made by the lawyers of Mavi Marmara, the Prosecutor’s colleagues concluded that the she erred in her decision.

In its recent decision issued on 15 November 2018, the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber once again found that the Prosecutor’s decision was wrong and ordered her to reconsider. It has also requested the Prosecutor reach a final decision by the deadline of 15 May 2019 to prevent further prolonging of the process. The Prosecutor appealed against this decision. While it is flagrant that Israel brutally used force aiming to murder all passengers more than 700 ICC Prosecutor has previously pronounced her decision in November 6, 2014 by noting that ‘War crimes have been committed in the context of the interception of the Mavi Marmara and other vessels in the Flotilla by IDF soldiers on 31 May 2010, including namely “wilful killing, wilfully causing serious injury to body and health, and committing outrages upon personal dignity.”  As Israel continued to have effective control over Gaza, it has the status of an occupying power. All the passengers of the Flotilla had the status of protected civilians under international law and the Israeli soldiers carried out the attack despite knowing the passengers were civilians.’ The Prosecutor further reinforced her dismissal of self-defence by stating that ‘the autopsy reports of those killed indicate that they have received multiple shots in the head, legs and neck and at least 5 of the passengers who were killed were shot at close range.’

Despite finding crimes may have been committed by Israel, the Prosecutor refused to open an investigation into the attack on the basis that it did not carry sufficient ‘gravity’ to justify further action by the Court. Following the appeals made by the lawyers of Mavi Marmara, the Prosecutor’s colleagues concluded that the she erred in her decision.

In its recent decision issued on 15 November 2018, the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber once again found that the Prosecutor’s decision was wrong and ordered her to reconsider. It has also requested the Prosecutor reach a final decision by the deadline of 15 May 2019 to prevent further prolonging of the process. The Prosecutor appealed against this decisionin a simultaneous attack on the Marmara Boat and other boats, and only pulled back from murdering other civilians on the boats when it became apparent that the events on the boats were being broadcast live to the entire world, and while it is plain for all the world to see how aid volunteers are imprisoned and people are subjected to all sorts of humiliating treatment, including torture, the ICC Prosecutor gets cold feet about launching a criminal investigation against Israel, which is a blatant violation of law.

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Following these developments, ICC Appeals Chamber ruled that a trial should be held on May 1, 2019 to listen to the ICC prosecutor and the lawyers of the victims. The trial will see the attendance of family members of the martyrs, representatives of the flotilla organization and some of the victims. The hearing will be broadcast live on the ICC website. As is known, Israel tried to manipulate the Court last month encouraged by the US threats in that regard.

This search for justice at the doors of ICC, which has been going on for a long time now, should also bring justice for hundreds of children and women who lost their lives during the siege of Gaza by Israel and for the victims on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla which was carrying humanitarian aid materials to the region despite the siege. It should also ensure the prosecution of the myriad of crimes perpetrated against them. The victims are awaiting the prosecution of Israel in accordance with the Rome Statute, the fundamental law that regulates the functioning of the ICC. It is the duty of this court, which was established to prosecute crimes against humanity to foil all sorts of threats and blackmail since 2010 designed to cause a miscarriage of justice, including those leveled by the USA, the loyal ally of Israel, to stop any potential litigation process against Israel.

We are making an open appeal to the Prosecutor and the International Criminal Court to initiate this investigation to see justice served. It should not be forgotten that ICC is the most cherished hope of humanity and the victims against attempts by certain circles to violate and manipulate justice for their own ends.

On behalf of the

MAVİ MARMARA LEGAL COMMISSION

Attorney Gülden Sönmez

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