ICC can examine aid flotilla case: UN expert

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The International Criminal Court could examine Israel's deadly storming of a Gaza-bound aid flotilla in May, a member of a UN Human Rights Council's probe into the incident said Tuesday.

Desmond de Silva, a member of the inquiry, noted that the ship Mavi Marmara's flagstate is the Comoros Islands, which are members of the court, "which gives the ICC jurisdiction because the (offensives) were committed on board the Mavi Marmara."

The probe ordered by the UN Human Rights Council into the May 31 incident said last week that there is clear evidence to back prosecution against Israel for killing and torture when its troops stormed the aid ship, leaving nine Turkish activists dead.

It also said that six of the deceased were "victims of summary executions."

Israel has rejected the inquiry from the outset as biased.

During a UN Human Rights Council hearing on Tuesday, the United States also criticised the report for its "unbalanced language, tone and conclusions."

Other Western states however, called for the report to be transmitted to a separate United Nations probe into the incident which was set up by UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon.

"The European Union suggests transmitting the report before us to the international panel of inquiry," an EU diplomat said on Tuesday.

She added that the bloc "strongly encourage Israel to follow-up on the conclusions of the" rights probe.

De Silva is a British lawyer and former UN war crimes prosecutor for Sierra Leone.

© 2010 AFP

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