Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Should he have commented at all?

Brig. Gen. Sharon Afek
IDF Military Advocate General
Brig. Gen. Sharon Afek, the Israeli Military Advocate General, has given an important speech to the Israel Bar Association. Excerpt from this account:
He also stressed that condemnations of [Sgt. Elor] Azaria's actions made immediately following the incident by former defense minister Moshe Ya'alon and IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot did not affect the legal process.

"Moreover, there is no one in the defense establishment that tells me 'I want you to act this way or another,'" he said. "The military prosecution and the military courts are not professionally subordinate to any senior official, and there is no concern of bias. All of the decisions we made were based on the evidence and legal principles."
All well and good, and reassuring. Still two questions come to mind. First, should the MAG have been commenting at all about the Azaria case while it is pending appellate review? Second, how far must prosecutorial independence go? That is, would there be a reason to object if a commander had the option of submitting a memorandum -- with a copy to defense counsel -- that argued for or against a particular disposition?

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