Shireen Abu Akleh’s murder: RSF alongside Al Jazeera to support its complaint before the ICC

journaliste Al Jazeera tuée à Jénine le 11 mai 2022

Seven months after the murder of the Palestinian journalist in Jenin, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has publicly supported in The Hague the complaint filed by her media outlet, Al Jazeera, to the International Criminal Court (ICC). RSF calls on the ICC Prosecutor to proceed with a long overdue investigation into crimes against journalists by Israel in Palestine.

“Shireen’s murder is the ultimate demonstration of a criminal pattern: the targeting of journalists by the Israeli Defense Forces. This is called a war crime. Shireen’s murder was not the first one and we fear it won’t be the last one until full and independent justice is served. RSF calls the ICC Prosecutor into action. His investigation on Palestine must proceed.

Antoine Bernard
RSF’s Director of advocacy and assistance

On 6 December, RSF stands aside Al Jazeera and Shireen’s family in The Hague to support the complaint filed by the media before the Court. RSF called on the prosecutor of the ICC to proceed with his investigation into the situation in Palestine, including the crimes against journalists, and to put an end to the pattern of impunity in these crimes. The ICC investigation on the situation in Palestine was formally opened in March 2021.

Internationally renowned Al Jazeera correspondent Shireen Abu Akleh was shot dead by Israeli armed forces on 11 May 2022 while she was reporting in Jenin, Palestine. Seven months after the murder, and despite numerous reports and experts pointing to the direct responsibility of Israeli soldiers, justice has not been served. Israel has made every effort to obscure the truth with vague justifications and hypotheses. 

The absence of justice in the murder of Shireen Abu Akleh is the continuation of a pattern of impunity in the crimes committed by Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) against journalists and a blank cheque for their perpetuation. Independent investigation and prosecution are long overdue for accountability to prevail at last. 

The complaint introduced today by Al Jazeera is not the first complaint for war crimes against journalists filed before the prosecutor of the ICC. Four years before Shireen’s murder, in May 2018, RSF filed a first criminal complaint with the ICC Prosecutor after analysing the case of 20 journalists shot by the IDF, including 2 shot dead, while they were covering the March of Return in Gaza.

One year before Shireen’s murder, in May 2021, RSF filed a second criminal complaint with the ICC prosecutor asking him to include, in his investigation into the situation in Palestine, the Israeli air strikes that destroyed the bureaux of the Associated Press and Al Jazeera and more than 20 media outlets in Gaza.

For the pattern of impunity to end, the ICC Prosecutor’s investigation on the situation in Palestine, including the crimes against journalists and Shireen’s murder, must proceed.

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