Following an investigation that Al Jazeera said uncovered new evidence regarding the fatal shooting of Palestinian-America journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in May, the international news network said Tuesday that it has filed a lawsuit against Israeli military forces at the International Criminal Court.
“Al Jazeera’s legal team has conducted a full and detailed investigation into the case and unearthed new evidence based on several eyewitness accounts, the examination of multiple items of video footage, and forensic evidence pertaining to the case,” said the network in a statement.
The investigation reportedly showed that Abu Akleh and her colleagues “were directly fired at by the Israeli occupation forces” when they were covering a raid by the forces in Jenin in the occupied West Bank on May 11.
“The claim by the Israeli authorities that Shireen was killed by mistake in an exchange of fire is completely unfounded,” said Al Jazeera.
Rodney Dixon, a lawyer for the network, told reporters that the ICC should identify the individuals responsible for Abu Akleh’s killing.
“The rulings of the International Criminal Court stipulate that those responsible be investigated and held accountable,” said Dixon. “Otherwise, they bear the same responsibility as if they were the ones who opened fire.”
The legal filing comes weeks after Israeli officials said they would not cooperate with an FBI investigation into the death of Abu Akleh, who was wearing a vest and helmet identifying her as a member of the press when she was shot in the head.
Israel has said it conducted an investigation which found the origin of the bullet that killed the veteran Al Jazeera journalist could not be determined because it was too damaged, suggesting that Palestinian forces could have fired the bullet.
Other investigations — including a U.S.-led forensic and ballistic probe and one by the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights — found that Israeli forces may have unintentionally fired the weapon that killed Abu Akleh, while an independent investigation by Forensic Architecture in the U.K. and the Palestinian human rights group Al-Haq concluded that Israel Defense Forces had intentionally killed the journalist.
Dixon said the ICC should consider the lawsuit “in the context of a wider attack on Al Jazeera, and journalists in Palestine,” referring to the bombing of a building that housed Associated Press and Al Jazeera offices in May 2021.
“It’s not a single incident, it’s a killing that is part of a wider pattern that the prosecution should be investigating to identify those who are responsible for the killing, and to bring charges against them,” said Dixon.