The IDF Prosecutor's Office received a letter on Wednesday from the head of the Winograd Committee, retired judge Eliyahu Winograd, informing it that the committee, established to investigate the failures of the Second Lebanon War, will send letters of caution to IDF officers who may be harmed by the report, the IDF announced. In response to the army's announcement, a spokesman for the Winograd Committee released the following statement: "As we explained in our interim report, the committee will make sure - before publication of the final report - to allow anyone who is liable to be hurt by the report to know what he may be hurt by and to defend himself before us if he has not already done so." It was not clear from the language of the statement whether those likely to be hurt would be allowed to bring lawyers and question witnesses as part of their defense. More on the comptroller's Home Front report:
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IDF Prosecutor Col. Orna David had sent a letter on June 28 to the Winograd Committee arguing the right of IDF officers who may be targeted in the report to be protected. David said officers named should receive notice before the report was published and have the right to review the evidence against them and question witnesses.
On Wednesday, Winograd sent an answer to David, informing her of the committee's decision to send what he called "appropriate messages" to IDF officers who might come under the committee's scrutiny in its final report on the war.
Winograd's letter also stated that the committee was continuing its investigation and reviewing evidence. The IDF said Winograd's answer was only partially satisfactory, since Winograd had refrained from informing David precisely in what way IDF officers would be able to review evidence against them or whether they would, in fact, be granted the right to question witnesses.
IDF sources said that several high-ranking defense officials, including Deputy Chief of Staff Maj.-Gen. Moshe Kaplinsky, OC Northern Command Maj-Gen. Gadi Eizenkott (who was head of IDF operations during the war,) OC Ground Forces Maj.-Gen. Benny Gantz, as well as former chief of staff Lt.-Gen. (res.) Dan Halutz and former OC Northern Command Maj.-Gen. (res.) Udi Adam, might come under fire in the final report.
It was understood from Winograd's letter that there would be a delay in the publication of the committee's final report, originally slated for October 2007.
In its statement, the Winograd Committee added that it had never mentioned a date for the publication of the final report. The committee said it "cannot estimate when the report will be published because it has not yet completed the stage of examining and analyzing the material it currently has before it in such a way as to determine what material is still missing in order to present all the facts, reach conclusions, make recommendations and identify who stand to be hurt by the investigation and in what ways."