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Letters/Discussion Forums

Mavi Marmara: Things look fishy



Nathan Cheiman

Gadija Davids, a South African journalist was on board the Mavi Marmara in 2010 when it attempted to enter Gaza, which was blockaded by the IDF. As Israeli naval commandos boarded the vessel, they were attacked by the passengers, of whom 10 were killed.


The International Criminal Court was requested to investigate the Mavi Marmara incident and on November 6 last year, a report was issued from the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court which inter alia states that Turkey and Israel were afforded an opportunity to provide information, but “no information was forthcoming”.


An interesting feature of the ICC report is the conclusion which states: “The prosecutor has concluded that the information available does not provide a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation.”


The ICC also dealt with jurisdiction, and stated that under article 12(2) (a), it would have jurisdiction over crimes committed on board the vessel.


The prosecutor noted that “protected civilian status does not preclude the possibility for the lawful use of force in individual self-defence against civilians who have resorted to violence”.


From videos showing passengers on the Mavi Marmara attacking the Israeli commandos, it is clear that the soldiers had a right to defend themselves, which they did.


How Davids and her lawyer attempted to obtain a warrant of arrest in Turkey, is unknown, however absurd.


Turkey has no jurisdiction in any alleged crime committed, because the vessel was not in Turkish waters, nor was the vessel registered in Turkey (but in the Comoros). Davids is also not a Turkish resident or citizen.


Moreover, she may well be implicated in the assaults that took place against the commandos, even if she didn’t personally take part. The doctrine of common purpose is a universally well-known (and used) doctrine to implicate bystanders who identify with perpetrators of crimes.


Meanwhile, here in South Africa, Brigadier Hangwani Malaudzi, of the SAPS, was also taken by surprise and said that the matter had been referred to Interpol to establish the “veracity and validity of the document”.


This begs the question: Why was Interpol not approached in the first instance? No international warrant for arrest and detention is valid unless Interpol has issued a Red Notice or the ICC has asked a signatory to execute a warrant.


Something smells fishy with Independent Media Group’s rush to publish a story which is either a fabrication or indeed a wishful figment of their imagination. Time will tell.


Until Interpol lends credence to the document, we may regard media reports on it as “lies and damned lies”.



Northcliff, Johannesburg




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