The Israeli Southern Command Military Court acquitted, on Tuesday, the Israeli army commander, Captain ‘R’, of all charges relating to the killing of a 13-year-old Palestinian girl in the Gaza Strip, October 2004.
The girl was shot 23 times in her body, until the soldier “made sure the threat was neutralized”, in spite that she was already hut by military fire.
The Israeli military prosecution accused Captain “R” of misusing their arms by emptying his magazine in the dead body of Iman Al Hams.
The prosecution also accused “R” of obstruction of court proceedings after asking his soldiers to alter testimonies they provided to military investigators probing the incident.
Israeli media sources reported that, Yoav Meni and Elad Eisenberg, the two lawyers representing “R”, managed to outline contradictions in the testimonies of the “witnesses”.
The witnesses are soldiers under the Captain of Captain “R” said that they lied during interrogation, and lied in the sworn testimonies they supplied the court with in order to oust “R” from the division.
“R” denied that he conducted the “confirm kill” procedure from a short distance. His lawyer argued the “confirm kill” of the girl’s death is a known practice used by the Israeli army to “eliminate threats”.
Defense attorneys also maintained that what appeared to be ‘confirmation’ of the girl’s death by R was, in fact, a known IDF practice employed to eliminate immediate threats.
Ã‚Â Verdict in Al Hams “confirm kill” case pending Saed Bannoura-IMEMC & Agencies –
Tuesday, 15 November 2005, 11:20
Israeli military judges are set to rule, on Tuesday” whether the Israeli military captain who fired 23 live rounds at a Palestinians girl in Rafah last year, and conducted the “confirm kill” procedure, is guilty or “innocent”. Lawyers of the defendant believe that he will be acquitted of all charges filed against him.
The scandal of the “confirm kill” case the soldiers carried out after killing Iman Al Hams, a 13-year-old school girl while she was heading to school October 5, 2004, broke out after the soldiers, whose name cannot be revealed, had fired at the dead body of the Palestinian child, to make sure she is dead.
The case caused what was described as a “firestorm” when new news revealing that the girl was already dead when soldiers reached her, were leaked; The Israeli military captain empties his magazine on her body “to confirm her death”.
The commander claimed that he though “her school bag” was booby-trapped, an ensuing search in her bag revealed that it was filled with books as the girl was heading to school.
The soldier claimed that he did not intend to shoot the girl, but “resistance fighters opened fire from an empty house”, he claimed. Investigation revealed that soldiers in the military post where not subjected to gunfire.
November 2004, military prosecution decided to press charges against the soldier, and accused him of “improperly” using his gun”.
The commander claimed “innocence”, and charged that he did not perform the confirm kill; he accused soldiers under his command of deliberately wanting to hurt him for his stubborn attitude on duty, Israeli online daily Ynetnews reported.
A main witness in the case withdraw his initial testimony against the suspect in February 2005, and accused soldiers in the “Girit” military base of providing false testimony to harm the captain.
Today’s ruling will be considered the end of legal inquiry in the case which lasted a year.
Israeli media sources believe that even if the commander was acquitted, the case will not end, and that the prosecution is planning to file an appeal.
“Confirm kill” case of a Palestinian child resurfaces
Saed Bannoura – IMEMC & Agencies – Monday, 01 August 2005
Druze captain “R”, Israeli military commander charged with the confirmed kill scandal of the 13 years old girl, Iman al-Hams, in Rafah, October 2004, is expected to testify in front of an Israeli military court in the southern command.
The Israeli newspaper Maariv said that Captain “R” intends to testify that he did not conduct the ‘confirm kill’ procedure by firing more rounds at the body of al-Hams, who was shot by more than 23 live rounds, near the Girit military outpost in Rafah.
Meanwhile, in November 22, 2004, captain “R” admitted to the confirm case.
The Israeli online daily Haaretz reported after the case was leaked that the Israeli Military Prosecutor filed charges against “R”, explaining that the soldiers at a monitoring checkpoint observed a “suspicious” figure one hundred meters away from their post, fired at the ‘figure’ and sounded the alarm system.
After firing at the girl, captain “R”, left the post along with other soldiers and positioned themselves behind a sand hill near the post and fired again at the girl, then “R” and another soldier decided to approach the girl, who was already dead, and pointed his M16 automatic rife at her body and fired at least 14 rounds until his magazine was over.
Following is the transcript that was leaked and reveals the radio transmission between troops and their commander; this transcript was published by Israeli media.
“we identified an Arab female 100m from the gate of the outpost”
“what did you see?”
“Root, we saw one on ‘two legs’ 100m away from the post.”
“Sfard, can you see her?”
“positive, a little girl running, the target is moving to the east.”
“define the position.”
“north of Morshah”
“position not correct”
“she is now behind the digger, she is dying of fear, shots passed few centimeters from her.”
“they are shooting at her; our soldiers are 70m away from her.”
“I believe one of our posts ‘brought her down’”
“what? Did you see that she was hit? did she fell down?”
“yes, and she is not moving.”
“I and Jefro are moving forward to confirm the killing, cover for us. The situation is as follows: we conducted orders and fired at her, she wears jeans, a T-shirt, and a head cover. Killing confirmed.”
“any thing that moves in this domain, even if a three years old should be killed.”
Confirm kill casts Shadow over military police investigations
Saed Bannoura, IMEMC & Agencies – Tuesday, 22 March 2005
Trial of captain R, the Israeli military commander charged of the confirmed kill scandal of the 13 years old girl, Iman Al-Hams, has surfaced again as the military trial continued in a small Israeli courtroom in the Southern Command headquarters.
So far the court is trying to reveal how far the military probe has reached and implications of the investigation.
The trial is focusing on an investigation carried out by the Israeli military police, Judge Advocate Generals are also probing the behavior of Captain ‘R’ who conducted the ‘confirm kill’ shooting.
After the killing of Al-Hams, the lawyers of ‘R’ Elad Eisenberg and Yoav Meni tried to focus of the system itself and the rules of engagement used by the army.
“Instead of putting ‘R’ on trial, the whole system go on trial, the whole system which allowed the army to conduct lethal action in Gaza leading to the death of dozens of innocent civilians”, the Israeli online daily Haaretz reported.
Military sources claimed that soldiers in ‘R’ company tried to ‘settle accounts’ with the commander who is known as ‘disciplinarian’ by complaining on “what he did” and that one of the officers failed to see the girl approaching, while he was in the observation tower.
As the Israeli army tries to save ‘its reputation’ over the killing of the girl, the military police tries to cross examine on acts of conducts and military orders.
Defense attorney Eisenberg, wanted an admission that ‘T’ was manipulated by his superior commanders in order to incriminate ‘R’, but commander ‘T’, according to Haaretz ‘stood firm and did not provide the incrimination”.
‘T’ admitted that he did not examine the possibility that soldiers who were in the observation tower had any reason to frame their commander, he also admitted to never examining the bad relationship between the captain and the brigade members, Haaretz reported.
The defense is focusing on whether the soldiers had failed in fulfilling their duties and what was described as ‘the use of children by terror organizations’.
‘T’ admitted that he never compared the transcripts to the actual tapes of transmission between troops and their commander concerning the confirm kill of the girl.
The defense found dozens of inaccuracies in the transcript of the radio transmission, among them when a soldier said 100 meters, while the transcript wrote 10 meters.
One of the main complaints in this case is the military failure to investigate cases of death of Palestinian civilians.
The case of Al-Hams did not carry any criminal proceedings because the investigators themselves were involved in the shooting which lead to the death of the girl, Israeli military source reported. “The unprofessional transcripts of the ‘Girit’ outpost found on every page of the transcript, casts a shadow over the military Police”, Haaretz reported.
Yet, the case of Al-Hams and the military commanders handling it raised serious questions on whether the Israeli Military Police can continue with its current format having 21-years-old conducting ‘what could turn into murder investigations’, according to Haaretz.