ICC prosecutor battles to keep lid on Mavi Marmara case

Israel has largely been exonerated by a domestic commission and a UN one for halting the flotilla of international left-wing activists intent on breaching its military blockade of the Gaza waters.

The Turkish ship Mavi Marmara leaves Istanbul May 22, 2010, aiming to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza (photo credit: REUTERS)
The Turkish ship Mavi Marmara leaves Istanbul May 22, 2010, aiming to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The International Criminal Court has re-opened the possibility that Israelis could be sued at The Hague over the 2010 IDF raid on the Gaza flotilla ship the Mavi Marmara that led to the death of 10 Turkish citizens.
Israel has largely been exonerated by a domestic commission and a UN one for halting the flotilla of international left-wing activists intent on breaching its military blockade of the Gaza waters.
Turkey and Israel reached an agreement that ended the diplomatic crisis sparked by the incident, in which activists attacked the IDF as soldiers boarded the ship.
In 2013, Comoros filed a war crimes suit against Israel over the incident, but Bensouda close the file in 2014. The ICC pretrial chamber asked Bensouda to reconsider the case in 2015 and she closed the case again in 2017.
On November 15, the judges of the pre-trial chamber asked her once more to reconsider the situation in the next six months.
If the case goes to trial, attorneys will weigh grave legal questions regarding war crimes.
But the questions before the court at this junction are all about jurisdiction and process, pitting the role of the prosecutor against that of the three justices in the pre-trial chamber.
The pre-trial has argued that Bensouda made errors in her review of the material, and that those mistakes must be correct to arrive at the appropriate conclusion.
The judges wrote that they considered it “appropriate to order the prosecutor to reconsider her 6 November 2014 Decision in accordance with the 16 July 2015 Decision. Specifically, the five main errors identified by the Pre-Trial Chamber must serve as the basis for the reconsideration.”
The judges asked Bensouda to submit a new review of the case by May 15, 2019.
Bensouda has said she believes that the pre-chamber has overstepped its authority and cannot order to review the case another time.
On Wednesday, she appealed the review and asked that the review schedule be set only after a ruling has been issued on the appeal.