Thursday, October 27, 2016

Independence and the duty to investigate

Two human rights organizations have appealed the decision of the Israeli Military Advocate General (MAG) to close the investigative file into certain deaths in Gaza in 2014. The appeal was submitted on October 25 to Attorney General Avichai Mandeblit. (He happens to have been the MAG from 2004 to 2011.) Details can be found here. Excerpt:
As to MAG’s examination, Attorney [Muna] Haddad stressed that the procedure does not meet the requirements of international law, namely: independence, impartiality, effectiveness, promptness and transparency: "We cannot ignore the fact that the military bodies involved in fighting are the same entities that are supposed to review and decide on the opening of an investigation into a particular event. The MAG itself plays a double role: It provides legal advice to the army before and during military operations, and at the end of the fighting, it decides whether or not to open a criminal investigation. Such a situation is a blatant violation of the requirement of independence. The present case is just one example, which gives rise to a suspicion of partiality.” "In addition, while there is ample evidence about the identities of the people who were riding on the motorcycle and the circumstances of the incident, the MAG and the military’s fact-finding assessment mechanism did not present any evidence to support their claims and did not take testimonies from any of the witnesses who do not belong to the military. This procedure also violated the principle of effectiveness and thoroughness."

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