An IDF soldier..
(photo credit: IDF SPOKESMAN'S OFFICE)
Yesh Din on Monday filed a second petition with the High Court of Justice to compel Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit and the IDF to reopen the closed investigation into the death of Bassem Abu Rahmeh, who was killed in April 2009 when he was hit by an IDF tear-gas canister.
The NGO filed the petition on behalf of Abu Rahmeh’s mother, Subhiya. The case gained international attention when it was featured in the film Five Broken Cameras, which was nominated for Best Foreign Film in the Academy Awards.
The IDF legal division closed the investigation in September 2013 after explaining that there wasn’t sufficient evidence to prosecute soldiers involved in firing the canister and that they had been unable to identify which soldier fired the canister.
That decision was made more than four years after the event, however, and came only after a prior petition to the High Court was filed to order the IDF legal division to make a decision about whether or not to indict.
The current petition relates to an appeal of that decision filed in May. There was also an earlier petition and appeal to former attorney-general Yehuda Weinstein in July 2014. But that petition and appeal were set aside after the Justice Ministry told the NGO that it had changed its procedures and required Yesh Din to take other steps before appealing.
Yesh Din said it then took all of the additional steps, but to no avail, as the NGO has not heard anything for the past seven months.
The basic premise of the newest petition is that the IDF’s explanation of its closing of the case was vague and therefore leaves the case open to questions as to whether all relevant witnesses were heard from, whether all evidence was probed and whether the expert reports on the issue were properly considered.
Abu Rahmeh was killed when a tear-gas canister struck his chest during a nonviolent demonstration against the separation barrier in his village, Bil’in.