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Assault on the Gaza flotilla, the international commission of inquiry is set up

Geoffrey-Palmer.jpg(BRUSSELS2) The international commission of inquiry responsible for clarifying the facts after the assault by the Israeli navy of the Mavi Marmara and other ships of the “flotilla to Gaza” on May 31, could be set up. UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon proposed the main elements. But Israel contests, for the moment, both the principle of an international commission and refuses to participate in it.

This commission would be chaired by the former New Zealand prime minister and law professor Sir Geoffrey Russell Palmer, announced Ban Ki Moon and would include 4 other members: two designated by Ban Ki Moon (an expert in international law and a military officer – l One of them would be American), one designated by Turkey and the other by Israel. We always wonder what role the Europeans play…

Legal proceedings in several countries

This commission of inquiry would not, however, stop possible proceedings before the national courts. The situation on the high seas means that it is normally the flag State which has jurisdiction. The facts having occurred mainly on a Turkish ship, as well as on other ships, it is either the law of the flag concerned which applies, or the law of victims (if national law allows this “extra-territorial” application ).

The Turkish prosecutor could thus open an investigation. And in Germany, the former Die Linke MP, Norman Päch, on board one of the boats, intends to file a complaint with the federal prosecutor's office. The French returning from Israel also indicated their similar intention. And it seems certain that many of the activists imprisoned in Ashdod after the hijacking of their ship and released today are doing the same to the judicial authorities of their country. Which will add to the ambient confusion. Even if the outcome of these legal proceedings is not proven, it could nevertheless lead to legal insecurity and cascading media repercussions for the Israeli forces which will mean a second political and media defeat after the bloody assault on the Mavy Marmara (1) .

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

(1) Read:  Assault of the Gaza flotilla: the Israeli army film does not hold up

Read also: The statement of the Security Council of 31 May 2010 and the positions of member states

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).