The Israel Defense Forces soldier suspected of killing a wounded Palestinian attacker as he lay on the ground will face manslaughter charges, a military tribunal ruled Thursday, requesting that the soldier remain under arrest until the investigation is completed.
While manslaughter is considered the act of killing someone without malice or in circumstances not amounting to murder, a murder must be premeditated and carried out with intent.
Lt. Col. Aduram Riegler, the IDF’s attorney for operational affairs, said during the tribunal that “the soldier is suspected of shooting deliberately and without need from an operational standpoint while the terrorist lay on the ground after the same terrorist had previously been shot by IDF soldiers.”
Lawyers said earlier this week that they were considering a range of potential charges for the soldier, including murder, manslaughter and “causing death through negligence,” Israeli daily Haaretz reported.
The decision on charges comes despite the intervention of Christof Heyns, UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, who said of the Hebron shooting footage that “the images shown carry all the signs of a clear case of an extrajudicial execution”.
“Whatever legal regime one applies to the case, shooting someone who is no longer a threat is murder,” he added.
MK Ahmed Tibi (Joint Arab List) said: “This is a soldier who is a murderer, who perpetrated a criminal act in plain view in the video. And the decision influenced by the remarks of the prime minister, who asked to take into account the soldier’s family, shows again how such cases must be investigated by an international tribunal as war crimes.
“We weren’t surprised and didn’t’ hang any hopes on the occupation army, which apparently is judging its own soldiers,” Tibi continued. “The soldiers and officers must be investigated and punished as well as the medical teams that stood there and didn’t lift a finger, neither before the murder nor afterwards. We wouldn’t be surprised if the charge winds up being downgraded to a lighter offense.”