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Reporters Without Borders Files ICC Case Against Israel Over Killed Palestinian Journalists

May 27, 2024

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has taken legal action against Israel at the International Criminal Court (ICC) over the killing and injuring of Palestinian journalists in Gaza, alleging war crimes by the Israeli military.

RSF is urging the ICC’s prosecutor to investigate potential war crimes by the Israeli army targeting at least nine Palestinian reporters since 15 December. The organization asserts there are “reasonable grounds for thinking that some of these journalists were deliberately killed and that others were victims of deliberate Israeli Defence Force attacks against civilians.”

The ICC had already initiated an investigation into potential crimes against journalists in January, following the escalation of violence in Gaza, which has claimed the lives of over 100 reporters. The latest RSF complaint focuses on eight Palestinian journalists killed between 20 December and 20 May, and one additional journalist who was injured. RSF stated, “All concerned journalists were killed (or injured) in the course of their work.”

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

Last week, ICC prosecutor Karim Khan requested arrest warrants for top Israeli and Hamas leaders, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Deadliest Period for Journalists

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), based in New York, described the current Gaza conflict as the “deadliest period for journalists since CPJ began gathering data in 1992,” with at least 107 journalists and media workers killed. 

Among the cases highlighted in the RSF complaint are the deaths of two Palestinian journalists, Hamza Wael Dahdouh and Mustafa Thuria, who were working for Al Jazeera when they were killed in January. The network reported that both were “on their way to carry out their duty” in the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli army, responding to these incidents, claimed it had “struck a terrorist who operated an aircraft that posed a threat to IDF troops,” and acknowledged that “two other suspects who were in the same vehicle as the terrorist were also hit.”

As the investigation continues, RSF and other media watchdogs remain steadfast in their advocacy for the protection of journalists and the public’s right to information, especially in conflict zones where these rights are under severe threat.

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