Media watchdog files ICC case over journalists' deaths in Gaza

Media watchdog files ICC case over journalists' deaths in Gaza


RSF said it was asking the ICC prosecutor to investigate alleged war crimes committed by Israel army

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THE HAGUE (AFP) – Media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said on Monday it had filed a complaint with the International Criminal Court over Palestinian journalists killed or injured in Gaza.

RSF said it was asking the ICC's prosecutor to investigate alleged war crimes committed by the Israeli army against at least nine Palestinian reporters since December 15.

The ICC said in January it was probing potential crimes against journalists since the outbreak of war between Israel and Hamas militants in Gaza, which has cost the lives of more than 100 reporters.

RSF said it had "reasonable grounds for thinking that some of these journalists were deliberately killed and that the others were the victims of deliberate IDF (Israel Defence Force) attacks against civilians."

This specific complaint – the third the RSF has made – concerns eight Palestinian journalists killed between December 20 and May 20, and one other who sustained injuries.

"All concerned journalists were killed (or injured) in the course of their work," RSF said in a statement.

Antoine Bernard, RSF advocacy and assistance director, said: "Those who kill journalists are attacking the public's right to information, which is even more essential in times of conflict."

ICC prosecutor Karim Khan last week asked the court to issue arrest warrants for top Israeli and Hamas leaders, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, for alleged war crimes and crimes and humanity.

Israel has strongly denied the allegation and Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said that to draw a parallel between Hamas and Israeli leaders was "despicable".

'Deadliest period for journalists'

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists says at least 107 journalists and media workers have been killed during the Gaza war, the "deadliest period for journalists since CPJ began gathering data in 1992".

The RSF complaint includes the case of two Palestinian journalists killed in January while working for Al Jazeera.

Hamza Wael Dahdouh and Mustafa Thuria, who also worked as a video stringer for AFP and other news organisations, were killed while they were "on their way to carry out their duty" for the channel in the Gaza Strip, the network said.

The Israeli army told AFP at the time it had "struck a terrorist who operated an aircraft that posed a threat to IDF troops".

It added it was "aware of the reports that during the strike, two other suspects who were in the same vehicle as the terrorist were also hit".

The Gaza war broke out after Hamas's October 7 attack resulted in the deaths of more than 1,170 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli official figures.

Militants also took 252 hostages, 121 of whom remain in Gaza, including 37 the army says are 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.