Family of Slain Journalist Files Complaint at the International Criminal Court
International Justice and Human Rights Researcher
Global Human Rights Defence
On 21 September 2022, the family of Shireen Abu Akleh filed a complaint with the International Criminal Court approximately four months after she was slain.  On 11 May 2022, Shireen Abu Akleh, a well-known Palestinian-American journalist reporting for Al Jazeera was fatally shot in the back of the head during an Israeli raid in the West Bank at the entrance to the Jenin Refugee Camp. Shireen Abu Akleh, like the other journalists that accompanied her, were wearing helmets and blue vests clearly stating “Press.”  Thirteen shots were fired at the press corps. When refugees, including children, moved to render aid to Shireen Abu Akleh, they were fired upon as well. 
Israel immediately denied that Shireen Abu Akleh was shot by Israeli personnel.  A claim they later had to retract when evidence indicated that she was, in fact, shot with a round fired by Israeli personnel.  This death, which the family claims was intentional, followed a complaint filed with the ICC in April 2022 by the International Federation of Journalists claiming that Palestinian journalists were being targeted by the Israeli Defence Force. 
Israel has closed its own investigation, finding that although the veteran journalist was likely shot by an Israeli soldier, it was not done intentionally.  The new complaint is accompanied by evidence which includes drone surveys, spatial and audio analysis, geolocated photos and videos.  Forensic Architecture, an organization that participated in evidence collection and analysis, asserts that little doubt remains regarding the fact that Shireen Abu Akleh was targeted and intentionally killed by IDF forces.  Even if these claims prove to be correct, and the ICC chooses to prosecute, justice may nonetheless prove to be elusive for the victim’s family. Isreali is not a signatory of the Rome Statute. While the ICC determined that it has a mandate that includes investigating war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide that occur in occupied Palestinian territories, Israel does not acknowledge this authority. Even if a particular soldier or commander is identified by the Office of the Prosecutor as a suspect in the alleged murder, Israel will not turn military personnel over to the Tribunal to face trial in the Hague.
 Bethan McKernan, ‘Shireen Abu Akleh’s family submits complaint to ICC’ (The Guardian, 21 September 2022) <https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/sep/21/shireen-abu-aklehs-family-submits-complaint-to-icc> accessed 28 September 2022 (Guardian)
 The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, ‘The Killing of Shireen Abu Akleh’ (The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, 21 July 2022) < https://www.btselem.org/firearms/20220721_killing_of_shireen_abu_akleh> accessed 28 September 2022.
 Ash Obel, ‘Family of Shireen Abu Akleh Files Complaint at International Criminal Court’ (The Times of Israel, 22 September 2022) <https://www.timesofisrael.com/family-of-shireen-abu-akleh-files-complaint-at-international-criminal-court/> accessed 28 September 2022.
 Guardian (n 1).