ICC Prosecutor Again Refuses to Open Probe into ‘Mavi Marmara’ Incident
The lead prosecutor for the International Criminal Court at The Hague has for the third time in a decade refused to open a probe into an incident in which Israeli forces killed 10 Turkish citizens during clashes on a vessel attempting to breach a naval blockade on the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. Fatou Bensouda’s office released a statement reiterating that the prosecutor would not “reconsider a case that she had repeatedly sought to close due to lack of gravity.” In May 2010, Israeli commandos were attacked while attempting to board the Mavi Marmara, leading to a melee that resulted in the deaths. The incident caused a major diplomatic rift between Jerusalem and Ankara that has seemingly intensified in the ensuing years. Israel was also near-uniformly condemned by countries and rights-groups alike. The Jewish state, in conjunction with Egypt, imposed a blockade on the Gaza Strip in 2007 after an internecine war brought Hamas to power and led to the ouster from the enclave of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s ruling Fatah faction. The ICC has been reviewing the case since 2013, when the island nation of Comoros, under whose flag the Mavi Marmara was sailing, submitted a claim. Since Bensouda’s initial decision to forego an investigation, the case has slowly made its way through an appeals process. Somewhat ironically, Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh is currently meeting with mediators in Cairo in a bid to forge an elusive long-term cease-fire with Israel.