Winograd takes on lawyer in its defense

The Winograd Committee has hired Zvi Agmon, a private attorney, to fight a petition filed by the IDF's Advocate-General's Office, which is demanding that officials who stand to be harmed by the committee's findings be allowed to defend themselves before the panel. In a statement issued to the press, the committee members said it normally would have been proper for the panel to be defended by the attorney-general, but that since some of those who stood to be harmed by the committee's findings were senior political and military figures, "it seemed more correct for the committee not to be represented by the attorney-general." According to the IDF's petition, which was filed on August 1, the Winograd Committee must abide by the provisions of Article 15 of the State Commission of Inquiry Law, which states that anyone who stands to be harmed by the findings of such a committee must be sent a cautionary letter specifying the suspicions against him and have the right to appoint a lawyer to defend him and to question witnesses before the committee. The panel has stated that nature of the committee's appointment means that it is not technically bound to observe this provision because it is government-appointed and not a judicial commission of inquiry. Beyond that, the committee claimed that it has already informed those among the witnesses who stand to be hurt by its findings, that it specified the topics where they could be found at fault and questioned them in person on these topics, giving them unlimited time to defend themselves. The committee maintained that applying Article 15 of the State Commission of Inquiry Law would prolong its deliberations and delay publication of its final report and recommendations by many months.