(photo credit: REUTERS)
The state’s civil damages case against the family of a terrorist who ran over and murdered four IDF soldiers in Armon Hanatziv in Jerusalem is “vengeful and wicked,” an NGO told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday afternoon.
The case – seeking some NIS 2 million per soldier in wrongful-death damages from the inheritance of the east Jerusalem attacker Fadi Kunbar – is likely the first of a new line of cases by the state to deter potential terrorists from violence.
The concept is to put the onus for compensation on terrorists’ families.
The lawsuit filed recently by the Jerusalem District Attorney’s Office Civil Division was first reported earlier Sunday by Haaretz.
Normally, the state only seeks money from criminals who were captured alive as part of a criminal trial in which the perpetrator is put in jail.
But since Kunbar was killed during his January 8 attack, the state decided to seek civil compensation from any inheritance he left his family, even though all sides view them as innocent. The family is represented by the NGO, Hamoked – Center for the Defense of the Individual.
Hamoked lawyer Anat Gonen said the lawsuit was vengeful because the family is not only innocent, but there is little or no inheritance.
Paramedics at scene of Jerusalem vehicular terror attack at the Armon Hanatziv promenade, Jan. 8, 2017 (credit: MAGEN DAVID ADOM)
In other words, said Gonen, the lawsuit is only being filed “to harass” the family, drag them into court and compel them to pay attorneys’ fees to defend themselves.
Gonen did not claim the lawsuit was illegal, as Israeli law does permit suing against the inheritance of a dead murderer for wrongful death damages.
But she disputed that the case could have any utility due to the limited inheritance and the fact that any future income or assets connected to the family that were not specifically Kunbar’s could not be part of the lawsuit.
Gonen said the civil case was also problematic since the state already effectively neutralized the two possible serious assets. One was a residence that the state sealed as part of the separate house demolition and sealing program against terrorists’ families. The other asset was a truck, which the state confiscated.
She said that the state could not legally seal and effectively take away those assets in such special administrative proceedings without standard procedure and then later sue in a regular civil court to obtain compensation from the same class of assets.
Goren also said it was problematic that the state appeared only ready to sue east Jerusalem Arabs and Palestinians as opposed to Jewish terrorists or criminals.
The Justice Ministry responded that the lawsuit came as a result of “a terror incident in which soldiers were killed and was designed to” compensate monetary losses. It was also designed “to send a clear and unambiguous message” to terrorists that their families would have to deal with economic harm caused by the terrorists’ actions.
The ministry added that additional similar civil cases will likely be filed against families of terrorists in the near future.
Among those killed by Kunbar – whose attack was captured in a horrifying video that went viral on YouTube – were: Lt. Yael Yekutiel, 20, Lt. Shir Hajaj, 22, Sec.-Lt. Shira Tzur, 20, and Sec.-Lt. Erez Urbach, 20. At least 13 others were wounded in the attack on a group of soldiers disembarking from a bus.
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