High Court orders IDF to investigate death of 13-year-old Palestinian girl

The High Court of Justice has ordered the judge advocate-general and the military prosecutor to open an investigation to determine whether the army issued illegal open-fire orders to soldiers at a military outpost in Gaza, which might have led to the killing of a 13-year-old Palestinian girl. The contents of the ruling, issued on Thursday, have been censored for the time being. The girl was killed on October 5, 2004, by soldiers manning the "Girit" military outpost near Rafah in the Gaza Strip while on her way to school. A military investigation cleared the soldiers at the outpost of any responsibility for the girl's death, even though the outpost commander, Captain "R," had allegedly confirmed that he had killed the girl. However, accounts of the incident, including the alleged confirmation by "R" that he had killed the girl, was leaked by soldiers at the outpost to the media, and he was eventually indicted in a military court. The court acquitted him of all the charges. The parents of the slain girl, Iman El Hams, and the Public Committee against Torture in Israel then petitioned the High Court of Justice, calling on it to investigate whether the rules of engagement issued by senior military commanders to the soldiers at Girit were legal or not. The High Court accepted the petition and ordered the state to pay the petitioners NIS 15,000 in court costs.