A Palestinian protester holding a Palestinian flag runs away from tear gas fired by Israeli soldiers during clashes following a protest against the nearby Jewish settlement of Qadomem.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
More than two years after IDF soldiers shot and killed unarmed 16-yearold Palestinian Samir Awad in January 2013, the state informed his family’s lawyers late Tuesday that it would be indicting the shooter, pending a pre-indictment hearing.
Pre-indictment hearings rarely change the state’s mind, but there are exceptions, such as some of the charges in the cases involving Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman.
The indictment of a soldier for shooting a Palestinian is rare and could be considered a remarkable victory for the Awad family.
However, human rights NGO B’Tselem, which is involved in the petition, called the expected charges “a new low,” arguing that they resembled negligence and violations of fire regulations as opposed to more serious charges like murder or manslaughter.
B’Tselem also criticized the state for not specifying which or how many soldiers would be indicted.
The state did not respond to a request for comment by press time.
The High Court of Justice had repeatedly pounded the state over its extensive delay in deciding whether to issue an indictment or close the case, including rejecting the state’s most recent request for a three-month extension and ordering it to decide by mid-April.
The state had asked for the extension on March 17 – two weeks past the March 1 deadline that the High Court gave the state in a December 1, 2014, court order, which was supposed to be the final extension.
At the December hearing, the court had slammed the IDF and the state for dragging their feet on the investigation, including allowing the two soldiers involved in the shooting to be released from the army before they were properly questioned.
The case has also been a black eye for the state, which has been trying to present its investigative apparatus to the world – and particularly to the International Criminal Court – as objective and prompt in investigating alleged crimes by soldiers.