Petition to indict cops for Palestinian girl's death denied

High Court judges criticize ‘faulty’ investigation, say that it should have been conducted immediately following the death of Abir Aramin.

BTselem Logo 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
BTselem Logo 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Judges at the High Court of Justice on Sunday rejected the petition of Bassem and Salwa Aramin to indict the border policemen suspected of killing their daughter, Abir Aramin, in January 2007.
The petition was filed with the assistance of human rights group Yesh Din.
The 10-year-old Abir was killed outside her school in the West Bank town of Anata, northeast of Jerusalem, as Border Police dispersed a riot nearby.
According to a pathologist’s report published by Abir’s family, with assistance from the B’Tselem human rights group, the girl was killed by a rubber bullet shot into her head.
The Border Police, however, claimed that the girl’s autopsy showed she was killed by a stone.
In July 2007, the Jerusalem District Attorney’s Office announced it was closing the investigation into Abir’s death because of lack of evidence, concluding that it was not possible to determine whether the girl had been killed by a rubber bullet or a stone.
An appeal against that decision was rejected.
The case was then taken to the High Court of Justice, and in February 2010 the court asked the attorney-general to explain why the case had been closed.
In March 2010, the state responded it would reopen the case.
In their ruling Sunday, Chief Justice Dorit Beinisch and Justices Ayala Procaccia and Edna Arbel upheld the attorney-general’s decision against indicting the border policemen mostly because of the difficulty inherent in conducting an investigation into Abir’s death four years after it occurred.
However, in rejecting the petition to indict the border policemen, the judges sharply criticized the preliminary investigation into the girl’s death.
In their report, the judges wrote that an investigation into Abir’s death should have been conducted immediately after it occurred.
“It is a basic rule that when a violent incident occurs that causes severe injury and later death of a civilian, an immediate investigation should be held at the site,” they wrote.
The judges went on to criticize the handling of the case, which they described as “faulty from the very beginning.”
The report concluded that the IDF soldiers operating in the West Bank must take into account the civilian population there.
“The IDF must take into account – even in serious situations – the fact that they are facing a civilian population, most of which has no desire to be involved in violent incidents,” they concluded.
Yesh Din criticized the Israeli authorities for “withholding justice from Abir’s family.
“Had Abir Aramin been a Jewish girl, it is very likely that the investigation would have been thorough and quick,” said attorney Michael Sfard, Yesh Din’s legal adviser.