IDF Brig. Gen. accused of rape expected to confront accuser before military police

Buchris and his primary female accuser, whose name is under gag order, but who had served with him during her army service, were both questioned by police on Wednesday.

By
March 2, 2016 21:06
3 minute read.
IDF Brig. Gen. Ofek Buchris.

IDF Brig. Gen. Ofek Buchris.. (photo credit: ELI DASSA)

 
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IDF Brig.-Gen. Ofek Buchris is expected to soon confront his primary accuser in front of military police in a dramatic showdown which could determine his military future.

Buchris and the woman who accused him of rape on Tuesday, were both questioned by police on Wednesday.

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Buchris was questioned for six hours straight.

Late Wednesday, a second woman who served with Buchris also came forward and accused him of sexual harassment.

The brigadier general, who was about to take up the prestigious position of running the IDF’s operations directorate within the Operations Directorate and was on a shortlist of potential IDF chief-of-staff candidates down the line, is suspected of five counts of rape relating to the first female soldier, and may now face sexual harassment allegations from the second.

However, the primary accuser’s father on Wednesday held a press conference where he called on other women to come forward, if they had been sexually harassed or assaulted by Buchris, and there had already been reports that Buchris’s accuser had named the second woman as an additional victim.

The father added that his daughter had received a high rating from the current IDF chief of staff, who was then OC Northern Command, Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, upon being discharged, and had not had mental problems before her encounters with Buchris.



From Buchris’s side, the response has been clear: not only denial of rape but denial of having had any kind of sexual relations with his primary accuser.

It appears he will take the same line of defense with his second accuser, who came forward late Wednesday, and will lump them together as two friends who are out to get him.

In some past similar cases, suspects have taken the less legally dangerous defense of admitting sexual improprieties and affairs, but claiming as a defense that the relations were consensual.

Buchris’s side has been adamant that all of the allegations are entirely made up.

Some analysts have called this a risky defense since, if it emerges later that there was any sexual relationship, his narrative will already be disproven, and it will be harder for Buchris to fall back on a consensuality defense.

IDF Deputy Chief of Staff Maj.-Gen. Yair Golan has already suspended Buchris for at least two weeks pending the progress of the investigation, though that suspension could be extended.

On Buchris’s side, the hope is that military prosecutors will close the case quickly, so that his suspension is lifted and he can still take up the post of running IDF operations.

From his accuser’s side, the argument is that she gains nothing by making this accusation, and in fact has been “in hell” for a long time and faces only more public scrutiny and pressure by having courageously come forward.

The woman says that she has required substantial mental health care for the last few years since the incidents occurred, and that only now has she felt strong enough to file a formal complaint against Buchris.

The mental health history of the woman could be used against her to try to discredit her, but it could also be used to her advantage, if the mental health professional confirms that he believes in the authenticity of the allegations.

Some have said that the fact that Buchris’s name was ordered disclosed by the military court in the Kirya in Tel Aviv is a sign that the court was impressed with evidence confirming the woman’s allegations.

Buchris has submitted that he took a privately financed polygraph which showed his denials were true, while the primary female accuser has offered to take a polygraph administered by the IDF.

In court documents, the accuser’s lawyer attacked privately coordinated polygraphs as having low credibility.

She said the court does not get to see what questions were asked and objected to Buchris’s polygraph as having been done long enough after he learned of the allegations to give him time to prepare.

Late Tuesday night, the court in the Kirya ordered Buchris’s name released after a massive battle between the sides about what was more important: the personal harm to him once his name was released or the public interest in making it easier on other women to come forward, once the accusations were public.

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