Court: Reopen el-Hams shooting probe

Accepts parents' petition over shooting death of daughter by IDF 2 years ago.

idf soldier gun298 88idf (photo credit: IDF)
idf soldier gun298 88idf
(photo credit: IDF)
In its second ruling Thursday regarding IDF rules of engagement, the High Court accepted the petition of the parents of Iman el-Hams, who was killed two years ago in southern Gaza by IDF troops. Captain R., who commanded a Givati platoon at the time, was cleared a year ago of killing the 13 year old and "verifying the kill." The court ordered Military Advocate-General Brig.-Gen. Avihai Mandelblit to launch a criminal investigation into whether orders to open fire were given illegally during that incident. Michael Sfard, the parents' attorney, condemned the IDF for not ordering an investigation sooner. "From the beginning, the family contended that her [Hams's] death resulted from illegal rules of engagement orders against people who threaten no one… It's a shame that military police, even though there were indications that such was the case, did not open an investigation," he said after the ruling. According to the initial probe and the officer's version of events, in the early morning hours of October 5, 2005, soldiers spotted 'someone' carrying a bag in an area off-limits to Palestinians near Rafah. Suspecting the bag might contain a bomb and taking into account that hours earlier shots were fired at the post, soldiers shot the figure. They then closed in, discovering the girl. Captain R., now a major, was also accused of making sure the girl was dead, otherwise known as 'verifying the kill.' The accusation was based on the false testimony of two soldiers who claimed to have seen the officer shooting the girl at close range.