An inquest jury in London ruled Monday that British peace activist Tom Hurndall had been unlawfully killed and deliberately shot on April 2003 by IDF Sergeant Taysir Hayb "with the intention of killing him," under the command of five other officers.
Hurndall's parents (Photo: Reuters)
The British attorney general was called on to seek war crimes charges against the five Israeli officers.
Sergeant Hayb was already convicted of manslaughter by an Israeli military court last August and was jailed for eight years. The judges wrote in the verdict that "during his service as commander of a guarding tower at the Philadelphi route in Rafah at days of war, he fired one unnecessary shot, a criminal shot at an innocent person."
The British Guardian reported Tuesday that a British jury reached a similar decision Monday. Following the ruling, coroner Andrew Reid announced he would write to the attorney general about how similar fatalities could be prevented, including examining possible prosecutions of the Israeli commanders, particularly those issuing orders to open fire.
Last week, the same court found that British filmmaker James Miller had been murdered after being shot by an Israeli soldier in southern Gaza three weeks after Tom Hurndall.
Reid, who testified in both cases, explained that Israel's army posed a danger to British nationals, especially those covering the continuing conflict with the Palestinians.
"British citizens, journalists, photographers or others may be subject to the risk of fatal shots," he said.
Hurndall family members also demanded international justice by trying Israeli officers for involvement in the killing of their son.
"The British government is obliged to pursue any source of a war crime, and willful killing is a war crime under the Geneva Conventions Act," said the dead man's father, Anthony Hurndall.
After the verdict, a government source told the Guardian that the attorney general would "not shy away" from acting, and that "upsetting the Israelis" would not stop the case being pursued.
Britain, like other countries, enables launching international criminal procedures on its soil under universal jurisdiction authority. For this reason, the IDF cancelled Gaza Division Commander Brigadier-General Aviv Kochavi's leave to study in Britain. Major-General Doron Almog also encountered problems when his plane landed in London and was forced to stay on it so as not to be arrested.