Activists of Gaza aid flotilla file suit against Israel
British activists of a Gaza aid flotilla file a lawsuit against Israel over its killing of several activists during its May 2010 attack on the aid ship.
Sun Jan 4, 2015 1:39PM
Lawyers acting for British activists have launched legal proceedings in the hope of prosecuting the Israeli soldiers in the UK.
The activists have asked the Scotland Yard to investigate whether Israeli military officers committed war crimes. The Gaza Peace flotilla was organized by international human rights activists in an effort to break Israel’s crippling blockade of the Gaza Strip. It was carrying basic supplies to Palestinians living under siege since 2007.
Israeli troops attacked Mavi Marmara, which was on its way from Cyprus to Gaza, in international waters and shot dead nine Turkish peace activists. A tenth activist recently succumbed to death after four years in comma.
Evidence passed to the Metropolitan Police names five Israeli military commanders who reportedly committed war crimes when the troops under their commanded stormed the flotilla.
Lawyers representing 13 of the 34 Britons on the Turkish-registered MV Mavi Marmara, the main civilian vessel in the fleet of six ships carrying humanitarian aid and construction materials, say some of the commanders had visited Britain since the incident and said the police now had evidence which should result in their arrest if they return. Identical legislation was used to arrest the Chilean dictator General Augusto Pinochet in the UK in 1998.
The legal team is also considering potential civil claims in addition to criminal proceedings.
A UN Human Rights Council investigation concluded in September 2010 that the Israeli military broke international laws during its raid on the Turkish ship that was part of an aid flotilla trying to deliver humanitarian supplies to Gaza. Israel said later some soldiers were forced to defend themselves.
The UNHCR report found “clear evidence to support prosecutions” of crimes under the Geneva Convention, namely willful killing, torture or inhuman treatment and willfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health.
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