Group demands probe into IDF shootings

Human Rights Watch wants army to prove its "resolve to combat impunity."

idf 88 (photo credit: )
idf 88
(photo credit: )
An international watchdog group demanded that the IDF investigate the shooting deaths of two Palestinian children in recent weeks, according to a statement issued Wednesday. Human Rights Watch said the military judicial officer must launch a serious inquiry into the cases "to demonstrate his resolve to combat impunity." On January 23, soldiers shot and killed a 13-year-old Palestinian boy on a West Bank road used by Jewish settlers near the Palestinian village of Mughayer. Soldiers said he was among youths planning to throw rocks or plant an explosive along the road. On January 26, troops shot dead a 9-year-old girl near Khan Younis in the Gaza Strip, Palestinians said. Human rights groups charged that Israeli forces opened fire indiscriminately. In calling for the inquiries, the group said international standards require the use of lethal force only when it is "strictly unavoidable in order to protect life." The statement said "eyewitness accounts and the pattern of lethal injuries on the two children indicate a serious breach of these standards." The group noted that the IDF has stepped up the number of its investigations recently. However, Human Rights Watch Middle East director Sarah Leah Whitson charged that the military does not conduct effective investigations. "Increasing the numbers of investigations is a step in the right direction, but the ultimate test is whether they bring wrongdoers to justice," she said, according to the statement. The IDF had no immediate comment on the Human Rights Watch statement, which said the army had opened internal investigations but not criminal proceedings.