'Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.' -- Eugene V. Debs

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Preliminary Investigations 

Lawrence of Cyberia posted a long informative examination of the "preliminary investigations" carried out by the IDF when Palestinian civilians are murdered. LOC's take basically is that the process does not involve investigation

[A]n I.D.F. preliminary (or initial) investigation isn't an "investigation" in any sense that a reasonable person would understand the word -- i.e. a process involving the collection of physical evidence, the identification and interviewing of eyewitnesses etc, etc. In fact it isn't an investigation at all, it is simply a report by the commander of the I.D.F. unit that carried out the shooting, giving the unit's version of events.

and that it is not preliminary

The use of the word "preliminary" suggests an inquiry that is just the beginning of an investigative process, when in fact the I.D.F.'s preliminary investigation is almost always the beginning and the end of the process. Unless the unit commander highlights wrongdoing in his field report to the J.A.G., then the J.A.G. will not open an investigation. (Even when, as in the case of Mansour Ahmad there is physical evidence - in this case a dead body with live ammunition in it - that raises some doubts about the claim of the C.O.'s field report that only rubber bullets were fired). Barring some remarkable act of self-incrimination by the unit carrying out the preliminary investigation into a killing carried out by one of its own members, an Israeli soldier may kill a Palestinian civilian with almost complete confidence that there will be no repercussions.

Based on investigations carried out over the last four years, the post lists four "informal rules Israeli soldiers need to bear in mind if they don't want to be one of the unlucky few actually called to account for shooting a civilian": (1) Don't shoot foreigners, (2) Don't leave behind physical evidence, (3)Don't Shoot People When A TV Crew Is Filming You, and (4) Don't deliberately shoot unarmed civilians unless you are sure your unit will back your story.

The full post is well worth reading.

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