Claiming "war crimes", lawyers for aid flotilla victims ask intl ciriminal court to act
Lawyers representing the victims of Israel's raid of a Gaza-bound aid flotilla in May, in which nine Turkish peace activists were killed, yesterday urged the International Criminal Court in The Hague to pursue those responsible. "We believe war crimes and crimes against humanity were committed," Ugur Sevgili, one of the lawyers, told reporters after presenting an evidence file to the office of Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo. "The office of the prosecutor of the ICC has a duty to prosecute," said Sevgili, adding that "we want to bring an end to impunity. We want to bring justice to the people of Palestine." Sevgili said the file contains evidence in the form of videos, photos, autopsy results, and a UN report condemning the incident. The ICC is the world's only independent, permanent tribunal with the jurisdiction to try genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. Neither Israel nor Turkey is a signatory to the ICC's founding Rome Statute, but Sevgili argued this should not affect jurisdiction. "If there are war crimes, there is jurisdiction and the ICC should act," he said. The office of the prosecutor, who declined to comment on yesterday's meeting, will now conduct a preliminary analysis to determine whether to launch a full probe. That could take more than a year, said Sevgili.