donderdag 27 november 2008

IDF weerspreekt rapport mensenrechtengroep

Er zijn helaas verhalen bekend waarbij soldaten die zich misdragen hebben vrijuit gaan, doordat ze door hun maten en zelfs hun commandant worden gedekt. Zulke misstanden komen in elk leger voor, en een langdurige bezetting van een ander volk is desastreus voor de moraal en discipline. Hoe sneller aan de bezetting een einde komt, hoe beter, en tot dan dient de legerleiding hard en doortastend op te treden tegen misstanden.
The Jerusalem Post
Nov 26, 2008 8:12 | Updated Nov 26, 2008 17:55
IDF dismisses human rights group report

The IDF on Wednesday dismissed a report by the human rights group Yesh Din, which claimed that the army, by and large, fails to prosecute soldiers who allegedly commit crimes against Palestinian civilians.

"In 2008 alone," the IDF said in a statement, "170 Military Police investigations were initiated... and since October of 2007, 30 indictments were filed against 39 defendants."

The decision to launch an investigation, the statement said "is based upon the circumstances of the incident and the existing evidence. Every case is examined in itself without taking into consideration statistical scales and quotas. One must not infer from a statistical analysis... and draw conclusions regarding the IDF's treatment of unacceptable behavior on the part of soldiers."

The statement said that it was "difficult" to conduct investigations in the Palestinian areas due to the fact that many Palestinians choose not to file a complaint or, if they ultimately do press charges, often retract their complaints. Often, the army said, the complaints turn out to have been false.

The army also slammed Yesh Din for publishing its report without first allowing the army sufficient time to respond to the allegations. "The IDF spokesman laments the fact that Yesh Din does not uphold the basic ethical and professional rule, according to which a criticized institution is given ample time to examine the allegations raised in a report."

Released earlier Wednesday, the Yesh Din report revealed that only four soldiers were convicted in cases dealing with the death of Palestinian civilians throughout the second Intifada.

Called "Exceptions", the report is the first time that rulings in 78 different criminal cases in which indictments were filed against soldiers were released to the public.

In the report, Yesh Din argued that the "exceptions" were actually those cases in which soldiers and officers who allegedly commit crimes against Palestinian civilians were investigated and prosecuted. Even more exceptional, the group claimed, were the cases in which heavy sentences were imposed on the perpetrators for their crimes.

Yesh Din's report displays for the first time the results of the legal proceedings in each of the 78 incidents following which soldiers stood trial for committing criminal offenses against Palestinians or their property from the beginning of the Second Intifada until the end of 2007.

The report, which is approximately one hundred pages long, is based on empirical data, indictments and rulings given to Yesh Din by IDF. From 1,246 investigation files opened by the MPCID (Military Police Criminal Investigations Department) from the start of the Second Intifada in 2000 until the end of 2007, only 78 (6%) led to indictments against one or more soldiers.

According to the report, sentences that were given to convicted soldiers were far from the maximum sentence permitted by law. In the report, Yesh Din showed that soldiers convicted of looting - whose maximum sentence is ten years imprisonment - were sentenced to between 40 days and six months. Four soldiers that were convicted of abuse under aggravated circumstances - a crime whose maximum sentence is seven years - were never sentenced to more than six months.

"A soldier who chooses to beat a prisoner or shoot an unarmed civilian without cause knows that the chance that he will stand trial or undergo investigation is minimal," said Lior Yavne, Research Director for Yesh Din and report author. "The report illustrates how the IDF abandons the population in the Occupied Territories to the whims of its soldiers."

In its response, however, the army cited data released in the Yesh Din report, which stated that only four soldiers of 132 indicted had been acquitted, while legal proceedings against 10 were still underway. This, the army said, "testifies to the efficiency and professionalism of the system."

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