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Al-Jazeera Submits Case to ICC Regarding Shireen Abu Akleh’s Death

Image: Al-Jazeera 


In May this year, Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was shot and killed.  As a result, numerous speculations have risen against the Israel Defense Force (IDA) and its involvement in the killing. However, the Israeli government has denied all allegations. Upon recent developments, Al-Jazeera, the network Abu Akleh worked for, has submitted the case to the International Criminal Court. This is what we know so far.


Shireen Abu Akleh’s death


On the morning of May 11th, Al-Jazeera, a Qatari-based news organization, attempted to cover the Israeli military operations at the Jenin camp in the northern region of the West Bank. Al-Jazeera’s reporters, producers, and camera crew began to walk towards the camp’s entrance with protective gear labeled ‘PRESS’ to commence the coverage. Suddenly, the sound of gunshots rang. Amid the chaos, press members attempted to flee the scene. Reporter Shatha Hanaysha and journalist Shireen Abu Akleh scattered to seek refuge. Seconds later, Shireen Abu Akleh collapsed. Hanaysha initially assumed that Akleh had tripped, but Akleh was fatally struck in the head. Shireen Abu Akleh was only 51 years old.


Investigations into Shireen Abu Akleh’s death 


Initial investigations concluded that the bullet fired at Abu Akleh was from approximately 200 feet away. Days following the incident, justifications for the slaughter provided by the Israeli government proposed that Abu Akleh was essentially collateral damage due to her proximity to Palestinian militants. It was suggested that Abu Akleh was caught in the crossfire between armed Palestinian militants and the IDA. As a result, Israel vehemently claims that she was shot by a militant or a member of an IDA responding to rebel fire. According to eyewitness accounts and video footage, there was no active combat by either party. Despite the Israeli government’s adamant claim of no involvement, upon independent monitoring by the United Nations, in June,  it was concluded that Israeli forces killed Shireen Abu Akleh. After much deliberation, the Israeli government states that there is a “high possibility that [Abu Akleh] was accidentally hit [by IDF forces]”.


Shireen Abu Akleh’s time in the United States granted her American citizenship. When a United States citizen is killed overseas, the State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs often assists the local investigations in resolving the issue. A lack of investigative cooperation leads to rare instances, such as this one, where the United States directly intervenes and begins to investigate. Following the formal declaration that the United States will investigate the death of Shireen Abu Akleh,  Israel has stated their refusal to cooperate.


What has been the response?

Shireen Abu Akleh was a beloved journalist across the Arab world. However, her horrific death has left many angered and confused.  Due to the lack of effective results in the investigations, Al-Jazeera, in conjunction with Abu Akleh’s family, has continually sought justice for the slain journalist. As of December 7th, “Al-Jazeera has submitted the results of a six-month long investigation to the International Criminal Court (ICC)” to seek justice for Abu Akleh and further prevent crimes against humanity and war crimes in Israeli-occupied territories. Stay tuned for updates.

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