Media watchdog files ICC complaint over journalists killed in Gaza

In a press release, RSF stated that it has requested the ICC’s prosecutor to investigate alleged war crimes committed by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) against at least nine Palestinian reporters since December 15th. This move comes after the ICC said in January that it was probing potential crimes against journalists since the outbreak of hostilities between Israel and Hamas militants in Gaza, which has resulted in the deaths of more than 100 members of the press.

| Updated: 27 May, 2024 3:23 pm IST

NEW DELHI: Paris-based media rights organization Reporters Without Borders (RSF) announced on Monday that it has filed a complaint with the International Criminal Court (ICC) regarding Palestinian journalists killed or injured in the ongoing Gaza conflict.

In a press release, RSF stated that it has requested the ICC’s prosecutor to investigate alleged war crimes committed by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) against at least nine Palestinian reporters since December 15th. This move comes after the ICC said in January that it was probing potential crimes against journalists since the outbreak of hostilities between Israel and Hamas militants in Gaza, which has resulted in the deaths of more than 100 members of the press.

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“We have reasonable grounds for thinking that some of these journalists were deliberately killed, and that the others were the victims of deliberate IDF attacks against civilians,” RSF said, adding that the specific complaint concerns eight Palestinian journalists killed between December 20 and May 20, and one other who sustained injuries.

Antoine Bernard, RSF’s advocacy and assistance director, stated, “Those who kill journalists are attacking the public’s right to information, which is even more essential in times of conflict.”

The complaint includes the case of two Palestinian journalists, Hamza Wael Dahdouh and Mustafa Thuria, who were killed in January while working for Al Jazeera. The network reported that the two, with Thuria also working as a video stringer for AFP and other news organizations, were killed while “on their way to carry out their duty” in the Gaza Strip.

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The Israeli army had previously told AFP that it had “struck a terrorist who operated an aircraft that posed a threat to IDF troops” and was “aware of the reports that during the strike, two other suspects who were in the same vehicle as the terrorist were also hit.”

Last week, ICC prosecutor Karim Khan asked the court to issue arrest warrants for top Israeli and Hamas leaders, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity. Israel has strongly denied the allegations, with Defense Minister Yoav Gallant calling the parallel drawn between Hamas and Israeli leaders “despicable.”

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), a New York-based non-profit, at least 107 journalists and media workers have been killed during the Gaza conflict, making it “the deadliest period for journalists since CPJ began gathering data in 1992.”

The ongoing conflict, which began after a Hamas attack on October 7th, has resulted in the deaths of more than 1,170 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli official figures. Militants have also taken 252 hostages, 121 of whom remain in Gaza, with the army stating that 37 are believed to be dead. Israel’s retaliatory offensive has killed at least 35,984 people in Gaza, mostly women and children, according to data from the Hamas-run territory’s health ministry.

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