What is in Al Jazeera dossier for the ICC on Abu Akleh’s killing?

Testimony on file shows that the killing of the reporter by Israel has sparked widespread, paralyzing fear among Palestinian journalists about their safety.

The Hague the Netherlands – A dossier submitted by Al Jazeera to the International Criminal Court (ICC) with a formal request to investigate the murder of veteran television correspondent Shireen Abu Akleh shows how her death unfolded and how it has had a “chilling effect” among Palestinians. journalists, a lawyer for the global TV network says.

Abu Akleh, a Palestinian-American correspondent with Al Jazeera for 25 years, was killed by Israeli forces on May 11 on a road in Jenin in the northern occupied West Bank.

The request received by the court on Tuesday includes statements from witnesses and their video footage, including new unseen footage, attorney Rodney Dixon KC said.

The chronology that emerged from the evidence shows that “the only gunshot going on” when Abu Akleh and her colleagues were on their way was “shots at the journalists,” Dixon explained.

Abu Akleh and her colleagues wore protective helmets and jackets marked “PRESS” at the time. The evidence produced by Al Jazeera refutes claims by Israeli authorities that Abu Akleh was killed in a crossfire.

In September it said there was a “high probability” that an Israeli soldier had “accidentally hit” the journalist, but it would not launch a criminal investigation.

The entry also includes cases of other Palestinian journalists who have been targeted by Israeli authorities, including the 2021 bombing of Al Jazeera’s Gaza office.

“That’s all to show that this has been going on for a while and that Al Jazeera is a common target,” said Dixon, who investigated Abu Akleh’s assassination, collected the evidence and presented it to the ICC on behalf of Al Jazeera.

Another witness statement included in the file is from Al Jazeera journalist Givara Budeiri. In 2021, Israeli police arrested and attacked Budeiri and destroyed the equipment of Al Jazeera cameraman Nabil Mazzawi. They reported on a sit-in in the occupied Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem to mark the 54th anniversary of the Naksa, the 1967 event when Israel seized the rest of the Palestinian homeland.

“She was held and beaten and tortured on June 5, 2021,” Dixon said.

“What we highlighted in this entry is that those who questioned her kept saying it’s because you’re with Al Jazeera,” he said.

‘Cooling effect’

Witness statements on the file point to fear among journalists and how such attacks affect the ability of Palestinian journalists to work on the ground, Dixon said.

Al Jazeera journalists interviewed highlight how the killing of Abu Akleh has had a “chilling effect” and created concerns about how to safely carry out their work.

The evidence shows that “Shireen was such a prudent journalist, always doing everything in his power to protect himself and others,” Dixon said. “And the day they took all those measures. And the witnesses have consistently said that this was a shock – that they were suddenly shot directly at.”

Rather, he explained, there was an unwritten code under which Israeli troops would tell journalists they were not welcome in an area or fire tear gas or even warning shots.

The fact that Abu Akleh’s murder took place “in a situation where they didn’t expect it at all made people realize that they could be next,” Dixon said.

“So it’s completely new territory where they are deeply concerned, there are no boundaries,” the lawyer said. “Wherever they go now, they can be shot at because this happened once and there are no consequences.”

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Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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