Israel is of the view that there was no basis to open a preliminary examination in the first place and regrets that the precious time and resources of the Court,
Israel takes positive note of the decision by the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to close the Preliminary Examination into the Flotilla (Mavi Marmara) incident which was opened following a referral submitted to the ICC in the name of the Union of the Comoros in May 2013. At the same time, Israel has reservations with respect to some of the legal reasoning and several incautious statements in the Prosecutor’s report.
Israel is of the view that there was no basis to open a preliminary examination in the first place and regrets that the precious time and resources of the Court – an institution established to combat impunity for the worst atrocities in the world – were allocated to a complaint that was legally unfounded and politically motivated.
It should be emphasized that the examination conducted was preliminary only, and the Prosecutor decided to close the file without seeing a need to address the issue of resort to self-defense by IDF soldiers who were confronted, as mentioned in the report, by violence from IHH activists in the context of a flotilla which the Prosecutor considered as not constituting a humanitarian mission.
It should be noted that any preliminary statement by the Prosecutor regarding the conduct of IDF soldiers without addressing at all the central issue of self-defense which would justify the resort to force and without conducting a thorough investigation of the incident itself, is bound to be distorted and misleading.
In this context, it should be mentioned that these issues were already subject to detailed and thorough investigation, including by an independent Commission of Inquiry headed by a former Supreme Court justice (The Turkel Commission) and by a Panel of Inquiry established by the UN Secretary General (The Palmer Panel). Both these bodies found that IDF soldiers were compelled to respond with force to protect their lives in the face of organized, pre-meditated and lethal violence.
The Prosecutor also decided to close this file without addressing the issue of complementarity, according to which the ICC will not investigate incidents which are subject to appropriate investigation by the relevant state. In this context, it should be stressed that Israel is recognized by leading experts in the international community as a state governed by the rule of law with effective and independent investigative mechanisms which meet high international standards.
Israel will continue to act in accordance with its right and duty to protect the security of its citizens, while upholding the rule of law.