The Freedom Flotilla Coalition (FFC) welcomes confirmation in her 30 November 2017 statement by International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, that there exists a “reasonable basis to believe that war crimes were committed by some members
of the Israel Defence Forces during and after the boarding of the Mavi Marmara on 30 May 2010”, when it and other vessels were headed towards Gaza (Palestine), but completely disagree with her decision that “however, no potential case arising from this situation can, legally speaking, be considered of “sufficient gravity” under the Rome Statute to be admissible before this Court, therefore barring the opening of an investigation.”
In an act of state piracy, Israeli forces killed ten civilians:
Cengiz Akyüz, 42 (four gunshot wounds: back of head, right side of face, back, left leg)
Ibrahim Bilgen, 60 (four gunshot wounds: right chest, back, right hip, right temple)
Cevdet Kılıçlar, 38 (one gunshot wound: middle of forehead)
Furkan Doğan, 19 (five gunshot wounds: nose, back, back of head, left leg, left ankle)
Fahri Yaldiz, (four gunshot wounds: left chest, left leg, right leg twice)
Ali Haydar Bengi , 39 (six gunshot wounds: left chest, belly, right arm, right leg, left hand twice)
Çetin Topçuoğlu, 54 (three gunshot wounds: back of head, left side, right belly)
Cengiz Songür, 47 (one gunshot wound: front of neck)
Necdet Yildirim, 32 (two gunshot wounds: right shoulder, left side of back )
and Uğur Süleyman Söylemez (who died in 2014 after four years in a coma). In addition they wounded dozens of other people as they imprisoned all of the passengers on board.
Family members chant slogans and hold photos of victims of the Mavi Marmara ship, outside the city’s main courthouse after the trial in Istanbul, Friday, Dec. 9, 2016. Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency says a court has dropped a case against Israeli military officials accused over the deaths of 10 Turkish activists, a decision aligned with a reconciliation pact between Turkey and Israel. (AP Photo/ Emrah Gurel)

These people, their families and friends are yet to obtain justice.

The Freedom Flotilla Coalition rejects the decision by this same ICC prosecutor to prevent these crimes from being judged by the ICC, as there are no open cases investigating these crimes in any state and it is therefore granting the Israeli government impunity.
The government of Turkey (where nine of the murder victims were citizens, while Furkan Dogan had dual US-Turkish nationality) reached a spurious agreement with the Israeli government, without taking into account the victims or their families; the Spanish government ‘just happened’ to change its law of universal jurisdiction so that the case of the Spanish victims had to be provisionally closed. as a result, at present there is no national government currently willing or able to do justice in this case.

The ICC was created to ensure justice when national states are unable or unwilling to act in relation to serious crimes. It is no secret that the Israeli judicial system forms part of the occupation apparatus and will not punish these crimes nor many others committed against the Palestinian people.

All of this shows the complicity of the international community with the Israeli occupation and the blockade imposed on Gaza, as well as the inconsistency of the ICC prosecutor.

As the prosecutor acknowleged in her closing statement, her conclusion on the applicable criteria under the Rome statue does not excuse any crimes which may have been perpetrated in connection with the Mavi Marmara incident: 

For all these reasons, in addition to legal steps being undertaken by the victims’ lawyers at the ICC or elsewhere, the Freedom Flotilla Coalition is already organizing its next mission: preparing a new flotilla to sail to Gaza while at the same time carrying out activities in solidarity with Gaza’s fishers, who are restricted to working less than six nautical
miles from the Gaza coast, while the Israeli blockade of Gaza continues and Israel exploits Palestinian resources – including water and natural gas. As always, our direct action is aimed at sending a message of hope to the people of Gaza and demanding that world’s governments comply with their obligations and respect international law.

What can I do?
Please support our ongoing direct action work against the blockade of Gaza demanding full freedom of movement for all Palestinians.


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