The International Criminal Court will not prosecute Israel over the deadly raid on a flotilla carrying humanitarian aid toward Gaza in May 2010, it was announced Thursday.
“I have ultimately decided to reaffirm my previous decision of November 6, 2014,” ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said in a statement, referring to when she ruled the incident was “not of sufficient gravity”. However, sticking to that same judgement Bensouda said: “My conclusion remains that there is a reasonable basis to believe that war crimes were committed by some members of the Israel Defense Forces.”
Nine Turkish citizens died when Israeli marines stormed the Mavi Marmara, among eight ships trying to break a naval blockade of the Gaza Strip. One more died in hospital in 2014. The case was first filed by the Comoros, where the ship was registered.
Ties between Israel and Turkey crumbled after the raid but last year they agreed to end the row after secret talks. Israel offered an apology over the raid, permission for Turkish aid to reach Gaza through Israeli ports, and a payout of $20 million (18 million euros) to families of those killed.
Under the deal, both sides agreed that individual Israeli citizens or those acting on behalf of the government would not be held liable. Families of the victims had pressed on with their legal battle, but the ICC’s decision is final and was filed Wednesday, Bensouda’s statement said.