IDF refutes report on misconduct claims

Says close to 50% of misconduct probes originate within military.

idf soldiers lebanon2988 (photo credit: AP [file])
idf soldiers lebanon2988
(photo credit: AP [file])
The IDF on Wednesday presented its response to an NGO report that claims the Judge Advocate-General's Office is closing cases and refraining from filing indictments against soldiers who mistreat Palestinians in the territories. On Tuesday, Yesh Din-Volunteers for Human Rights released a report claiming that a mere 6 percent of Military Police investigations into IDF conduct in the territories in the past seven years culminated in indictments. Yesh Din also reported what it claimed was a low proportion of commanders who filed complaints against subordinates suspected of misconduct. A Jerusalem Post inquiry on Wednesday revealed different statistics. In 2007, as an example, close to 160 investigations were opened against soldiers following reports received by the JAG. In its report Yesh Din did not mention the investigations opened by the JAG and claimed 26 investigations originated within units and by commanders of soldiers suspected of misconduct. In 2006, the IDF said Wednesday, 74 out of 152 cases were opened following JAG reports. Yesh Din claimed that only 14 investigation were opened following complaints that originated within units and filed by commanders. "It is regretful that even though the organization had these statistics it decided not to publish them," the army said. The IDF also said that since the beginning of 2008, 170 cases had been opened by Military Police, out of which already 30 indictments against 36 suspects had been filed. This increase is mainly due to the opening in October 2007 of a new branch in the IDF Prosecutor's Office, called the Operational Affairs Department, assigned the task of obtaining information from Palestinians that can be used in open investigations. Behind the opening of the department was the difficulties the Military Police faced in getting Palestinians to come forward to testify. Responding to the IDF report, Yesh Din said that "JAG directives to launch investigations are the result of complaints filed to the JAG by NGOs, diplomats and information coming from the press and operational debriefings. These directives have nothing to do with the problem addressed by Yesh Din: the extent to which military commanders and the military units fulfill their duty to report criminal offenses of their subordinates to the Military Police."