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France - Middle East

French flotilla passengers lodge war crimes case against Israel

Free Gaza movement

Nine French passengers on board the Gaza aid flotilla stormed by Israeli soldiers in May have filed a complaint with the International Criminal Court for war crimes and crimes against humanity, their lawyer said on Wednesday.

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The complaint filed with the prosecutor of the ICC holds the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Minister of Defence Ehud Barak and the Chief of Staff Gaby Ashkenazei responsible for the operation which resulted in the deaths of nine Turkish activists.

Dossier: Gaza 2009

Liliane Glock, a lawyer based in Nancy, is representing nine of the 10 French people who participated in the flotilla, two widows of the Turkish activists killed and another of the Turkish survivors.

Glock indicated that a similar complaint would be filed Thursday in the name of other victims on the flotilla. Netanyahu has insisted that Israel acted lawfully in its commando raid.

Following May’s attack in international waters the complainants hope the ICC will authorise an inquiry, citing a report from the UN Human Rights Council which said there was “clear evidence to support prosecution”.

The 56-page report compiled by three of the UN’s international lawyers said charges could be filed under the Fourth Geneva Convention for “wilful killing; torture or inhuman treatment; wilfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health".

In June the French charity Committee for Charity and Support for the Palestinians lodged a complaint in courts in Marseille and Paris.

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