Zum Antrag der Comoren an den ICC, Israels Eingreifen auf die „Mavi Marmara“ unter dem Rom-Statut zu prüfen


Gestützt auf den Umstand, dass die „Mavi Marmara“ wenige Tage vor dem Vorfall bei den Behörden der Union der Comoren registriert worden war, brachten die Comoren, vertreten durch eine Istanbuler Rechtsanwaltskanzlei, die elmadag lawfirm advocacy consulting, mit Schriftsatz vom 14.5.2013 beim Internationalen Strafgerichtshof im Haag (ICC) nach Artikel 14 und 12(2)(a) Rom-Statut den Antrag ein, den Vorfall vom 31.5.2010 unter dem Statut zu prüfen, bei dem Mitglieder der Israelischen Verteidigungskräfte (Israeli Defence Forces, IDF) Schiffe der „Gaza Freedom Flotilla“ (GFF), also insbesondere die „Mavi Marmara“ (MM) in internationalen Gewässern enterten und dabei insgesamt 9 Passagiere derselben töteten und weitere verletzten.

Im genannten Schriftsatz wird die GFF als humanitäre Hilfsflotte bezeichnet, die keinerlei Waffen, sondern ausschließlich humanitäre Hilfsgüter, sowie insbesondere Baumaterialien an Bord hatte. Die MM hatte demnach hingegen ausschließlich Passagiere an Bord, nämlich 581 Aktivisten.

Kurzgefasst trug sich der Vorfall in den Morgenstunden des 31.5.2010 (gegen 0430 Uhr) demnach (laut Schriftsatz; Hervorhebungen durch uns) wie folgt zu:

41. The first shot was fired at the MV Mavi Marmara from the Zodiac Boats as the IDF attack commenced. Soldiers from the Zodiac boats made unsuccessful attempts to board the MV Mavi Marmara. Minutes after soldiers from the Zodiac boats had made their initial unsuccessful attempts to board the MV Mavi Marmara-, a helicopter approached the vessel, at approximately 0430 hours. The helicopter hovered above the top deck. At this point between 10 and 20 passengers were located in the central area of the top deck, although this number increased as other passengers learned of events on the top deck. The Israeli forces used smoke and stun grenades in an attempt to clear an area for the landing of soldiers.

42. The soldiers then attempted to board the MV Mavi Marmara. Their initial attempt at lowering a rope failed, as the first rope that was let down from the helicopter was taken by passengers and tied it to a part of the top deck and thereby rendered ineffective for the purpose of soldiers‘ descent. A second rope was then let down from the helicopter and the first group of soldiers descended. The Gaza Flotilla Report maintained that it was „not… plausible that soldiers were holding their weapons and firing as they descended on the rope. However, it has concluded that live ammunition was used from the helicopter onto the top deck prior to the descent of the soldiers.“

43. The passengers aboard the MV Mavi Marmara were then attacked by the IDF soldiers, armed with heavy machine guns and a range of smaller weapons. At no time did any gunfire originate from the passengers of the flotilla. In all, nine (9) activists were killed by the Israeli troops, all of which were from the IHH. In addition, dozens were injured, and hundreds were detained.

44. Activists aboard the MV Mavi Marmara subsequently clashed with the Israeli Special Forces. Some of the activists armed themselves with metal rods and kitchen knives in an attempt to resist the soldiers.

45. The Gaza Flotilla Report provides as follows on the IDF action:

167. „… throughout the operation to seize control of the Mavi Marmara, including before the live fire restriction was eased, lethal force was employed by the Israeli soldiers in a widespread and arbitrary manner which caused an unnecessarily large number of persons to be killed or seriously injured. Less extreme means could have been employed in nearly all instances of the Israeli operation, since there was no imminent threat to soldiers; for example in relation to the operation to move down to the bridge deck and seize control of the ship and the firing of live ammunition at passengers on the bow deck of the ship. Even in a situation where three individual soldiers have been injured and detained, the objective of freeing these soldiers does not legitimate the use of force outside applicable international standards and soldiers must continue to respect and preserve life and to minimize injury and damage.

168. In such circumstances the use of less extreme means, such as available less-lethal weaponry, would have been sufficient to achieve the required objective as required by Principle 4 of the Basic Principles on the Use of Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials.  A well-trained force such as the Israeli Defence Force should have been able to successfully contain a relatively small group of passengers armed with sticks and knives and secure control of the ship without the loss of life or serious injury to either passengers or soldiers.

169. A large number of injured passengers received wounds to critical areas of the body containing vital organs – the abdomen, thorax and head. Furthermore, a number of passengers who were clearly not engaged in any activities to resist the boarding by the Israeli forces, including a number of journalists and persons who had been sheltering from the fire, received injuries, including fatal injuries. It is apparent that no effort was made to minimize injuries at certain stages of the operation and that the use of live fire was done in an extensive and arbitrary manner. It is difficult not to conclude that, once the order to use live fire had been given, no one was safe. Under the circumstances, it seems a matter of pure chance that there were not more fatalities as a result. Principle 5 of the Basic Principles on the Use of firearms by Law Enforcement Officials stipulates that „whenever the lawful use of force and firearms is unavoidable, law enforcement officials shall: (a) Exercise restraint in such use and act in proportion to the seriousness of the offence and the legitimate objective to be achieved; and (b) Minimize damage and injury and respect and preserve human life.“

170. The circumstances of the killing of at least six of the passengers were in a manner consistent with an extra-legal, arbitrary and summary execution. Furkan Doğan and Ibrahim Bilgen were shot at near range while the victims were lying injured on the top deck. Cevdet Kiliçlar, Cengiz Akyüz, Cengiz Songür and Çetin Topçuoglu were shot on the bridge deck while not participating in activities that represented a threat to any Israeli soldier. In these instances and possibly other killings on the Mavi Marmara, Israeli forces carried out extralegal, arbitrary and summary executions prohibited by international human rights law, specifically article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

171. … the use of firearms should have been preceded by clear warnings of the intent to do so. While the circumstances of the initial stages on the top deck may not have been conducive to the issuance of such warnings, later stages in the Israeli operation to secure control of the ship certainly were possible and necessary.

172. The Mission is satisfied that much of the force used by the Israeli soldiers on board the Mavi Marmara and from the helicopters was unnecessary, disproportionate, excessive and inappropriate and resulted in the wholly avoidable killing and maiming of a large number of civilian passengers. On the basis of the forensic and firearm evidence, at least six of the killings can be characterized as extralegal, arbitrary and summary executions. As such, the conduct of the Israeli forces amounted to violations of the right to life and of the right to physical integrity, as stipulated in articles 6 and 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

46. Statements collected by IHH support the findings of the UNFFM. For example, the statement provided by Erol Çitir provides an eyewitness account of the murder of Cevdet Kiliçlar.

I saw the moment of the death of Cevdet Kiliçlar. He was shot while he was taking a photo, at the moment when his camera has flashed. He was shot in his forehead. Subsequently, I have attempted to bring him to the inside of the ship. While I was holding his head, I noticed a piece of his brain in my hand.

[…]

51. For all intents and purposes, the State of Israel is an occupying power in Gaza. This has been recognized by the International Court of Justice in its advisory opinion on the Wall case. The situation was correctly summed up by the Goldstone report as follows:

Given the specific geopolitical configuration of the Gaza Strip, the powers that Israel exercises from the borders enable it to determine the conditions of life within the Gaza Strip. Israel controls the border crossings (including to a significant degree the Rafah crossing to Egypt, under the terms of the Agreement on Movement and Access) and decides what and who gets in or out of the Gaza Strip. It also controls the territorial sea adjacent to the Gaza Strip and has declared a virtual blockade and limits to the fishing zone, thereby regulating economic activity in that zone. It also keeps complete control of the airspace of the Gaza Strip, inter alia, through continuous surveillance by aircraft and unmanned aviation vehicles (UAVs) or drones. It makes military incursions and from time to time hit targets within the Gaza Strip. No-go areas are declared within the Gaza Strip near the border where Israeli settlements used to be and enforced by the Israeli armed forces. Furthermore, Israel regulates the local monetary market based on the Israeli currency (the new sheqel) and controls taxes and custom duties.

IHH steht für die Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief, eine türkische NGO, die die Mavi Marmara eignete und die Flotilla führend organisierte.

Die bezogenen Basic Principles on the Use of firearms by Law Enforcement Officials gelten nur für Sicherheitskräfte im Frieden, mithin insbesondere die Polizei. Demgegenüber war auf die IDF (humanitäres) Kriegsrecht anzuwenden, insbesondere die Genfer Konvention IV, die da auszugsweise lautet:

ART. 55. — To the fullest extent of the means available to it, the Occupying Power has the duty of ensuring the food and medical supplies of the population; it should, in particular, bring in the necessary foodstuffs, medical stores and other articles if the resources of the occupied territory are inadequate.

[…]

ART. 56. — To the fullest extent of the means available to it, the Occupying Power has the duty of ensuring and maintaining, with the co-operation of national and local authorities, the medical and hospital establishments and services, public health and hygiene in the occupied territory,with particular reference to the adoption and application of the prophylactic and preventive measures necessary to combat the spread of contagious diseases and epidemics.Medical personnel of all categories shall be allowed to carry out their duties.

[…]

ART. 59. — If the whole or part of the population of an occupied territory is inadequately supplied, the Occupying Power shall agree to relief schemes on behalf of the said population, and shall facilitate them by all the means at its disposal.

Such schemes, which may be undertaken either by States or by impartial humanitarian organizations such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, shall consist, in particular, of the provision of consignments of foodstuffs,medical supplies and clothing.

All Contracting Parties shall permit the free passage of these consignments and shall guarantee their protection.

A Power granting free passage to consignments on their way to territory occupied by an adverse Party to the conflict shall, however, have the right to search the consignments, to regulate their passage according to prescribed times and routes, and to be reasonably satisfied through the Protecting Power that these consignments are to be used for the relief of the needy population and are not to be used for the benefit of the Occupying Power.

Nicht so sehr, dass Artikel 59/2 bloß von Nahrungsmitteln, Medizingütern und Kleidung spricht, wollen wir hervorheben, sondern, dass die humanitären Organisationen, die berechtigt sein sollen, diese humanitäre Hilfe zu leisten, unparteiisch sein müssen.

Im Bericht der public commission to examine the maritime incident of 31 may 2010 (Turkel Kommission-Bericht) kann ab Paragraph 123 nachgelesen werden, dass die Israelischen Behörden mit der Flottila bereits auf einer Breite von Libanon tags zuvor Funkkontakt aufgenommen hatten. Insbesondere zur Mavi Marmara ist dort Folgendes nachzulesen:

The captain of the Mavi Marmara said that he refused to stop since the purpose of the flotilla was humanitarian only, and because Israel did not have authority to act against the ship outside its territorial waters. When the captain of the Mavi Marmara was warned that if the ship did not stop, it would be responsible for the consequences, a response was heard on the radio network that if the Israeli Navy attacked the ship, it would be the Israeli Navy that would suffer the consequences.

Schon im Hinblick auf den steil aufwärts gerichteten Schusswinkel, von einem Zodiac Boot aus gesehen, ergibt wenig Sinn, dass die IDF auf die Mavi Marmara bereits geschossen haben soll, bevor der Hubschrauber auftauchte. Mit den Pflichten der IDF sowie dem gesunden Menschenverstand weit eher vereinbar ist, dass vom Zodiac Boot aus, eventuell nach dem ersten gescheiterten Versuch, das Schiff zu entern, ein Warnschuss abgegeben wurde, um der Mavi Marmara zu verdeutlichen, dass die Situation kein Spass sei.

Dass der Versuch, vom Boot aus das Schiff zu entern fehlschlug, beweist, dass die Mavi Marmara nicht kooperativ war. Das Zusatzprotokoll I zu den Genfer Konventionen lautet in seinem Artikel 23 auszugsweise:

Article 23 — Other medical ships and craft

1. Medical ships and craft other than those referred to in Article 22 of this Protocol and Article 38 of the Second Convention shall, whether at sea or in other waters, be respected and protected in the same way as mobile medical units under the Conventions and this Protocol. Since this protection can only be effective if they can be identified and recognized as medical ships or craft, such vessels should be marked with the distinctive emblem and as far as possible comply with the second paragraph of Article 43 of the Second Convention.

2. The ships and craft referred to in paragraph 1 shall remain subject to the laws of war. Any warship on the surface able immediately to enforce its command may order them to stop, order them off, or make them take a certain course, and they shall obey every such command. Such ships and craft may not in any other way be diverted from their medical mission so long as they are needed for the wounded, sick and shipwrecked on board.

3. The protection provided in paragraph 1 shall cease only under the conditions set out in Articles 34 and 35 of the Second Convention. A clear refusal to obey a command given in accordance with paragraph 2 shall be an act harmful to the enemy under Article 34 of the Second Convention.

Krieg Führen hat mit dem Messen von Kräften zu tun, und der Stärkere gewinnt. Die Bestimmung des Artikel 23/2, die unseres Erachtens auf Schiffe mit humanitären Hilfsgütern analog angewandt werden kann, hat somit den Zweck, dieses Messen im Sinne der Fortentwicklung von Technik zu fördern. Zodiac Boote sind nicht imstande, ihren Befehl, zu stoppen, gegenüber einem Schiff wie der Mavi Marmara unverzüglich durchzusetzen. Nur wenn man Artikel 23/2 des Zusatzprotokolls I analog auf Hubschrauber  anwenden könnte, ließe sich aus ihm eventuell ableiten, dass die Mavi Marmara, indem sie sich weigerte, beizudrehen, eine feindselige Handlung gesetzt hat. Doch auch bei einem Hubschrauber scheint das immediately nicht gegeben. Denn erst das Entern mittels Waffengewalt und die Übernahme des Steuerdecks ermöglicht, den Befehl durchzusetzen, während ein Kriegsschiff (angemessener Größe) schon an sich ein Schiff wie die Mavi Marmara durch Kreuzen stoppen kann.

Nichtsdestotrotz liegen gegenwärtig erhebliche Verdachtsmomente vor, denen zufolge die Hilfsflottilla im Sinne des oben zitierten Artikel 59/2 der Genfer Konvention IV nicht unparteiisch war, lehnte sie doch jedwede Akzeptanz der Autorität der Israelischen Navy und IDF augenscheinlich und offenkundig ab.

Diese Renitenz, die aus der Grundhaltung der Besatzung der Mavi Marmara hervorleuchtet, gepaart mit deren Bewaffnung durch Metallrohre und Messer, lässt den Schluss zu, dass sie in Wahrheit als feindliche Kombattanten anzusehen waren, die (mutmaßlich) Kontrebande an Bord hatten und gegen welche somit zu Recht mit militärischer Kriegsgewalt vorzugehen war.

Zumal die rechtlichen Vorteile, die sich aus dem Kriegsrecht insbesondere in menschenrechtlicher Hinsicht für die Kriegspartei ergeben, nur dann genossen werden dürfen sollten, wenn diese Kriegspartei den Krieg rechtens führt, sollte all dies aber voraussetzen, dass Israel völkerrechtlich legitim gegründet worden ist und zu Recht gegen Palästina Krieg führt bzw. den Gazastreifen besetzt hält und über ihn eine Blockade verhängt hat.

Wir halten daher dafür, dass der ICC sich mit eben diesen Fragen auseinandersetzen wird müssen, wenn er den Antrag der Comoren seriös und rechtmäßig abhandeln will, denn schon die im Schriftsatz vorgeworfenen Verbrechen nach Artikel 8(2)(a) des Rom-Statuts liegen nur vor, wenn sie against persons or property protected under the provisions of the relevant Geneva Convention begangen worden sind, was nicht der Fall wäre, wenn die Besatzung der Mavi Marmara nicht als unparteiisch anzusehen wäre.

[Wird fortgesetzt.]

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