In the second half of January at least five unarmed Palestinian civilians were shot and killed by IDF fire in the West Bank and Gaza. The following report shows a dramatic downward trend in the rate of indictments served against IDF soldiers for alleged offenses in 2012, a year in which only one indictment was served against a soldier accused of abusing a Palestinian.
By Yesh Din
In the wake of recent events, Yesh Din has published a new data sheet about criminal accountability of IDF soldiers in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The data indicates a clear downward trend in the rate of indictments served: in the years 2009-2011 indictments were served following 2.5% of the investigations opened into alleged offenses committed by Israeli soldiers while in 2012 not a single Military Police Criminal Investigations Division (MPCID) investigation resulted in an indictment.
The data sheet, based on information provided to Yesh Din by the IDF spokesperson, as well as the organization’s ongoing research, shows the following:
- In 2012 the MPCID received 240 complaints and various reports of suspected crimes allegedly committed by IDF soldiers against Palestinians and their property in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
- The MPCID opened criminal investigations into 78 of the 240 reports it received. Another 25 investigation files were opened that year into reports received in 2011. The MPCID opened a total of 103 criminal investigations in 2012.
- Data for the last years indicates a significant drop in the rate of indictments served. The data for the years 2009, 2010 and 2011 shows that 14 investigation files out of the 534 opened during those three years produced indictments; i.e., only 2.62%.
- Not a single investigation file opened by MPCID in 2012 yielded an indictment. Only one indictment was served in 2012 against an IDF soldier accused of hurting a Palestinian, and that followed an investigation that had opened in 2011.
- The absence of an MPCID base in the West Bank led to only six Palestinians managing to submit their complaints directly to the MPCID in 2012. The others had to seek the help of various intermediaries such as human rights organizations and the Israel Police.