On March 7, 2014, the Turkish NGO, Humanitarian Aid Foundation (IHH) joined the referral to the International Criminal Court (ICC), requesting the ICC Prosecutor initiate an investigation into the crimes committed by Israeli commandos and officials into Israel's raid on Freedom Flotilla I bound for Gaza.
Eight Turks and one Turkish-American were murdered on the Mavi Marmara, some of them assassinated at close range. Several other pro-Palestinian human rights defenders/passengers were also wounded when Israeli commandos stormed all six boats in the early morning on May 31, 2010.
Two important proceedings are taking place in Istanbul, 1.a criminal proceeding on March 27 against four Israeli officials (in absentia) who ordered the attack on the Flotilla. Free Gaza board members, Audrey Bomse and Greta Berlin, along with several FG passengers, will attend that proceeding, and 2.a legal conference on the search for justice in both international and domestic forums on March 25.
Audrey Bomse, attorney for Free Gaza, stated, “These are two very important cases challenging the impunity with which Israel has been able to break international law and commit crimes against humanity and war crimes. We want to do all we can, both from a legal and advocacy standpoint, to try to end this impunity."
The Mavi Marmara was flagged and registered in Comoros, an archipelago off the African coast near Madagascar. They can take the case to the ICC, since the country is a signatory to the Rome Statute[s] that created the Court.
in addition to the Comoros filing, individual victim applications requesting participation in the proceedings have been sent to the ICC from passengers on the flotilla, as well as an organizational application from the Free Gaza movement, whose boats were attacked three prior times; in December 2008, January 2009 and July 2009, establishing a pattern of attacks prior to the flotilla.
Joe Meadors, one of the survivors of the 1967 Israeli attack on the U.S.S. Liberty states, “I was on board one of the boats attacked by Israeli commandoes that morning. Attending the Mavi Marmara hearings is my way of honoring those killed and wounded on Freedom Flotilla I. That is the same honor that has been denied my shipmates for 46 years.”
David Schermerhorn, a crewmember on Challenger 1, the Free Gaza boat attacked that morning, adds, “The Turkish Criminal Court shines a bright light on the responsibility of the Israeli commanders for ordering the attack on the Freedom Flotilla. Without such an action, Israeli leaders will continue their illegal and immoral policies. It is time for accountability, and the Turkish Court has taken the opportunity to bring attention to the continuing violations of human rights.”
To follow the proceedings on March 25 and March 27, join our TWITTER page at https://twitter.com/freegazaorg and our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/FreeGazaBreakTheSiege/. We will be reporting live during those two days.