US Investigation into Killing of Journalist Shireen Abu ‘Akleh Attempts to Mislead Justice and Its findings not Binding


In contrary to investigations conducted by human rights organizations, the Palestinian Public Prosecution and the United Nations (UN), last Monday, 04 July 2022, the U.S. State Department said that the US investigations on the killing of journalist Shiren Abu ‘Akleh have not identified the party responsible for the crime. The U.S. State Department spokesperson said that “after an extremely detailed forensic analysis, independent, third-party examiners, as part of a process overseen by the U.S. Security Coordinator (USSC), could not reach a definitive conclusion regarding the origin of the bullet that killed Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh. Ballistic experts determined the bullet was badly damaged, which prevented a clear conclusion.”

Meanwhile, the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) said on the same day that the forensic analysis was conducted by Israeli experts in a laboratory in Israel in presence of the USSC.

However, the USSC concluded that the bullet might be fired from Israel Defense Forces (IDF)’s position, but he still “found no reason to believe that this was intentional.”

Abu ‘Aqleh’s family commented on the US statement that they feel “suspicious” because the US analysis of the bullet that killed her was not definitive. The family added that focusing on the bullet has always been irrelevant, describing it as as an attempt by the Israeli authorities “to spin a story in its favor.” The family added: “we will never believe this.”

The Palestinian Public Prosecution rejected the US investigators’ findings and said in a statement on 04 July 2022, “ Regarding the US statement on the results of the technical examination of the presence of severe damage to the bullet that prevented a clear conclusion, the Public Prosecution emphasizes this is not true and is shocked by what came in the statement since the Public Prosecution’s technical reports show that the condition of the bullet could match the weapon used.”  The prosecution stressed, “the US statement that there was no reason to believe the shooting was intentional is unacceptable.” The prosecution affirmed that its investigations and findings were based on a set of irrefutable evidence and proofs.”

It is clear that the statement by the US Department of State is contrary to the findings made by many international and independent bodies investigating the case, including the United Nations itself.  Ravina Shamdasani, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

(OHCHR) Spokesperson, commented in a press conference in Geneva on 22 June that, “all information gathered – from the Israeli Army and Palestinian Advocate General, was consistent with the finding that the shots that killed Abu Akleh and injured her colleague Ali Sammoudi came from Israeli Security Forces and not from indiscriminate firing by armed Palestinians, as initially claimed by Israeli authorities.”

PCHR emphasizes that US interference is a deliberate and suspicious attempt to mislead justice and is not binding to any party as it comes within US constant position to provide protection and cover-up to the Israeli war criminals regardless of their crime.  The US policy was very evident when the former US President, Donald Trump, issued an executive order on 11 June 2020 that included direct threats to the ICC Prosecutor, assistants, and judges.  The order included blocking property, freezing assets, restriction on issuance of US visas and even being exposed to arrests if attempts were made to prosecute US personnel or personnel of countries that are United States allies, including Israel.  This executive order was issued following the ICC Prosecutor’s decision to refer the situation of Palestine to the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber I.  the executive order also criminalizes whoever assists the ICC; thus, any individual providing information to the court might be arrested; Whether he is a resident or just entering the US.[1]

PCHR emphasizes that US contribution to the investigation is a clear attempt to exempt Israel from liability. Therefore, PCHR calls upon the ICC Prosecutor to open an investigation into the killing of journalist Shereen Abu Akleh in accordance with its jurisdiction over the occupied Palestinian territory.



[1] PCHR Condemns US Economic Sanctions on International Criminal Court Officials, Press release on 03 September 2020

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