PMO: Winograd C'tee will continue
High Court gives gov't 6 days to explain why state commission not established.
By DAN IZENBERG, ETGAR LEFKOVITS, JPOST STAFF
October 5, 2006 19:30
2 minute read.
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The Prime Minister's Office made an assurance on Friday that the Winograd Governmental Committee probing the shortcomings of the War in Lebanon would continue. The assertion came in the wake of the ultimatum set the previous day by the High Court for the justification of such a committee.
"The government has made the decision to establish the committee according to law and there is no way in the world to rule that this process is illegal," said a PMO official.
The High Court of Justice had issued a show-cause order and gave the state six days to explain why it had appointed the government committee instead of a state commission of inquiry headed by a Supreme Court justice.
A panel of three judges headed by Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch ordered the state to explain what was the scope of the government committee's powers to investigate a matter of "general national significance" and whether it was proper for the government to appoint a committee which would have to investigate those who appointed it.
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The petition was submitted by watchdog organizations Ometz and the Movement for Quality Government. Ometz lawyer, Michael Corinaldi, told The Jerusalem Post that the court's decision would bring an end to the activities of the Winograd Committee until the court handed down a final ruling. "A government governed by law is not afraid of a state commission of inquiry," he added.
Earlier Thursday, Attorney General Menahem Mazuz ordered the dismissal of the secretary of the Winograd Committee due to his previous role as an activist in Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's Kadima Party.
The decision by Israel's top law enforcement official to disqualify Menahem Ben-Haim follows mounting public criticism of the war probe and what was seen as an inappropriate political appointment.
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni testified Thursday
before the panel for a couple hours about the foreign ministry's handling of the 34-day war, as well as about efforts to reach a cease-fire early on in the war.
Livni's appearance came one day after Military
Intelligence Chief Maj. - Gen. Amos Yadlin appeared before the probe, in what was the first formal testimony given to the five-member panel.
The two sessions were held behind closed doors
for security reasons, although future meetings are
slated to be open to the public.
The committee, which was authorized by the government last month, fell short of demands for the establishment of a sweeping state commission that would have the power to dismiss top government and military officials.
The five-member commission is headed by retired judge Eliyahu Winograd, and includes Professors Ruth Gavison and Yehezkel Dror as well as retired Majors General Menachem Einan and Haim Nadel.