Al Jazeera Takes Israel to International Court Over Cameraman’s Death!

Al Jazeera has announced its decision to seek legal recourse through the International Criminal Court (ICC) regarding the death of its cameraman in Gaza.

by Faruk Imamovic
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Al Jazeera Takes Israel to International Court Over Cameraman’s Death!
© Getty Images News/Ahmad Hasaballah

Al Jazeera, the Qatar-based news network, has announced its decision to seek legal recourse through the International Criminal Court (ICC) regarding the death of its cameraman, Samer Abu Daqqa, in Gaza.

The Legal Journey Begins

In a significant move, Al Jazeera has assembled a joint working group consisting of its international legal team and other legal experts.

This group's mandate is to compile a comprehensive file for submission to the prosecutor of the ICC. The network made this announcement on Saturday, December 16, 2023, marking a decisive step in their pursuit of justice. Abu Daqqa lost his life on Friday after being wounded in what Al Jazeera has termed an Israeli attack.

The network has strongly condemned Israel, going so far as to label the incident an “assassination”.

A Broader Context of Concern

In addition to seeking justice for Abu Daqqa, Al Jazeera's legal action will encompass what the network describes as “recurrent attacks on the network’s crews working and operating in the occupied Palestinian territories and instances of incitement against them”.

This broader context indicates a pattern of concern for the safety of journalists in conflict zones. Al Jazeera’s statement refers to Article 8 of the Charter of the International Criminal Court. According to this article, deliberately targeting war correspondents or journalists in war zones or occupied territories through killing or intentional physical assault is a war crime.

This legal framework forms the basis of Al Jazeera's action. The ICC has been approached in the past to investigate Israel's actions in the region. Last month, ICC prosecutor Karim Khan acknowledged receiving a referral from five countries to investigate potential crimes in the Palestinian territories following Israel’s response to the October 7 Hamas terror attacks.

Responses from Israel and the IDF

Israel, which is not a member of the ICC and has consistently rejected the court’s jurisdiction, has yet to issue a formal response to Al Jazeera’s latest move. However, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have responded to requests for comment.

The IDF's press office stated to CNN: “The IDF takes all operationally feasible measures to protect both civilians and journalists. The IDF has never, and will never, deliberately target journalists," emphasizing the risks inherent in remaining in active combat zones. They affirmed their commitment to countering threats while striving to mitigate harm to civilians.

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