IDF target bombs Hamas leaders.
(photo credit: IDF SPOKESMAN'S OFFICE)
Human rights groups B’Tselem and Yesh Din accused the IDF on Sunday night of conducting its investigations improperly, leading the former NGO to withdraw its cooperation with IDF inquiries.
The Jerusalem Post has learned, however, that Yesh Din continues to cooperate with the IDF quietly.
In fact, only one day before informing the press that B’Tselem would no longer coordinate with the IDF in collecting complaints and evidence relating to war crimes allegations from the recent Gaza war, Yesh Din met with the IDF’s top lawyer for investigating such crimes.
In that light, the IDF would likely view the recent press release on breaking relations as an attempt to grab headlines.
The joint NGO press release did indicate at the very least a desire to alter tactics in addressing the IDF, slamming it even harder than the NGOs have in recent years, when some gaps between their own and IDF reports seemed to have shrunk somewhat.
A major focus of the NGOs assault on the IDF’s credibility for investigating its own soldiers on war crimes allegations, was charting out what the groups said was a failure to carry out recommendations for improving the investigatory apparatus by the quasi-governmental Turkel Commission.
While the NGOs criticism mentioned failure to implement Turkel recommendations, such as moving away from a focus on operational debriefings by non-lawyers toward a focus solely on investigations by officers with legal training, it also mentions criticisms which the Turkel Commission dismissed, such as the IDF legal division operating a “dual-hat.”
The dual-hat criticism highlights the argument that since an arm of the IDF legal division approves military targeting decisions that will be under investigation, it is an inherent conflict of interest for another arm of the same legal division to investigate those decisions.
The Turkel Commission said that within the legal division there is sufficient separation between the target- approving and investigatory arms.
The IDF responded saying it had implemented many of the Turkel recommendations even before they were published and it continued to work with former foreign ministry director-general Joseph Ciehanover on implementing others (though it did not specifically respond regarding operational debriefings).