Pressure mounts for Canada to endorse International Criminal Court investigation of murder of Palestinian journalist

Alberta's only non-Conservative MP in a 'difficult place' balancing  provincial and federal interests | The Star

Minister, I ask your government to support the request to refer this case to the ICC,” wrote NDP foreign affairs critic Heather Macpherson in a letter to Global Affairs minister Melanie Joly. “We can not and should not rely on the Israeli military to investigate itself.” Read more….

The Palestinian Authority and the Aljazeera network have called for an investigation by the International Criminal Court into the killing of Journalist Shareen Abu Akleh. “According to Article 8 of the Charter of the International Criminal Court, targeting war correspondents, or journalists working in war zones or occupied territories by killing or physically assaulting them, is a war crime“, notes the news network.

And now pressure is mounting on the Canadian government to support the move.

The National Council of Canadian Muslims has sent a letter to Mme Joly urging thatCanada recognize the jurisdiction of the International Ciminal Court in the investigation of the killing of Shireen Abu Aqla”.

A similar letter was sent by the Executive Minister of the United Church of Canada urging that “Canada denounce and call for an independent investigation into the killing of Palestinian American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh.”

A number of Palestinian human rights organizations in Canada have also joined in. What we actually need is an independent and international investigation, preferably at the level of the International Criminal Court,” said Michael Bueckert, vice president of Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East.

At first, Israel tried to suggest that it may have been Palestinians themselves who had killed Abu Akleh, but when evidence provided by CNN and others clearly showed that she was targed by an Israeli sniper, it backed down. It undertook a new approach – saying it would undertake a “thorough investigation itself”. But given the history of coverups of the murders of Palestinian journalists, that approach too quickly was discredited by the international community.

“Canada should support a truly independent investigation by the International Criminal Court”

More recently, there have been some proposals from some US politicians for the US to get involved in an investigation.

But this would not constitute a real “independent, international investigation” according to Diana Buttu, a Palestinian Canadian who is a former legal adviser to the Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas.

Buttu had known the slain journalist for more than two decades, she wrote in an article in the New York Times. In conversation from her home in Haifa, she told CTIP that “The investigation of the Israeli shooting of Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akla should be referred to an independent organization like the International Criminal Court. Not to the Israelis, nor to their US allies

Canadian reaction?

Canada’s official reaction has been – well – inadequate. So far, Minister Joly has limited herself to saying “my heart is with her family and those that have followed her work” and calling for “thorough” investigation but not supporting an independent investigation under the auspices of the ICC.

As Israel becomes more and more violent in its repression of Palestinians, official Canada is in a dilemma: How to continue to protect Israel while claiming to support human rights around the world. Canada was one of the originators of the International Criminal Court.

Even though our Ambassador to the UN, Bob Rae has a senior position at the ICC, Canada continues to oppose allowing the ICC to investigate this or other possible war crimes in the West Bank on the grounds that Palestine is not a “state”.

What do do?

CTIP readers who are embarassed by the Canadian reaction (or lack of it) can express their feelings by writing Prime Minister Trudeau (justin.trudeau@parl.gc.ca), copying others, (eg. melanie.joly@parl.gc.ca) and your local member of parliament (first name.last name@parl.gc.ca). Even more important, copy your family and friends. They may not know about how Canada is holding back.

All you have to say in your email is “Canada should support an independent investigation by the ICC of the killing of Palestinian journalist Shareen Abu Aqleh.”


Canada Talks Israel Palestine (CTIP) is the weekly newsletter of Peter Larson, Chair of the Ottawa Forum on Israel/Palestine (OFIP). It aims to promote a serious discussion in Canada about Canada’s response to the complicated and emotional Israel/Palestine issue with a focus on the truth, clear analysis and human rights for all. Readers with different points of view are invited to make comment.

Want to learn more about us? Go to http://www.ottawaforumip.org

6 comments

  1. ISRAEL HAS NOT FALLOWED INTERNATIONAL LAWS SINCE ITS CREATION 70 + YEARS AGO.“Canada should support an independent investigation by the ICC of the killing of Palestinian journalist Shareen Abu Aqleh.”

    CANADA WILLNOT CHANGE ITS POLICIES RE ISRAEL AS THISIS A POLITICAL DECISION AND OUR POLITICIANS ARE GIVEN ORDERS FROM TEL AVIV AND WASHINGTON——WE DO WHAT WE ARE TOLD….,……….ITS EMBARASSING….WE ACCEPT WHEN ISRAELI AND SANCTION THEIR ACTIONS EVEN WHENIT AMOUNTS TO SHEER MURDER ON ISRAELS PART—-NO WONDER THERE HAS BEEN LITTLE PROGRESS IN ACCEPTING INTO MIDDLE
    EAST NATIONS ISRAEL SEEMS TGO ENJOY BEING ODD PERSON OUT…..

    BAIE@VIDEOTRON.COM

  2. Absolutely, an independent investigation by the ICC of Shareen’s killing must be conducted without delay aa should many more egregious brutal attacks on innocent Palestinians and children. What other country receives whitewashing of so much criminal behaviour and no accountability?

  3. Unfortunately we are dreaming that any serious investigation will take place. First no doubt that the assassination was done by orders from the highest Israeli leaders, including Prime Minister. So how Israel can investigate or allow any real one to take place. They either will not cooperate with investigators or stonewall, and other western countries will in no way push. It happened times before. Remember Richard Goldstone findings of war crimes, no one even read it, just dismissed as antisemitism. So nothing meaningful will take place and no power will push for it.

    1. Hey Jake,
      I agree and don’t agree. You are probably right that THIS time will not turn things around. But the weight of evidence is accumulating. Israel’s reputation is turning black. I suggest that instead of focussing on what WONT happen this time, we should focus on what will happen the next time, or the time after that. And maybe contribute to it by writing our MPs and all our friends……

  4. Hats off to NDP foreign affairs critic Heather Macpherson for raising this issue with Mme Joly. And perhaps one could ask our ambassador to the UN , Bob Rae, where are the Palestinians to go to seek justice if not the ICC.

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