Major General Danny Efroni, the IDF's
Chief Military Advocate General, decided to conclude the investigation of the death of Bassem Abu Rahma
due to lack of evidence.
Efroni's decision, finalized in June, came 4.5 years after the 30-year-old Palestinian
was killed by a tear gas grenade in a demonstration against the separation fence near Bilin,
and three years after an investigation regarding the incident was launched.
Earlier this week, the State Prosecution informed the High Court of Justice of Efroni's decision, following a petition filed with the court by Abu Rahma's mother, the Bilin Council and human rights groups B'Tselem and Yesh Din.
The petitioners demanded that military police try those in charge of Abu Rahma's death.
According to the prosecution, though all evidence was examined and all suspects were probed, "there was not enough proof... to launch legal proceedings against any of the soldiers involved in the incident."
Former State Prosecutor Yehushua Lamberger concluded that existing evidence could not signify that the soldiers did not follow protocol when opening fire.
The petition insisted that though the State argued that the investigation was through, it did not present its reports or conclusions. "This decision is unacceptable, especially in light of the expert's opinion that determined that the shooting was done directly and from a short range," said Yesh Din attorney Emily Schaeffer.
Schaeffer added that "Even though three videos
documented Bassem's death, military police and police have failed in deciphering the causes for the death of an unarmed protester. The conduct of the law enforcement authorities in this case is another example of the authorities' incompetence when it comes to cases in which the victims are Palestinians."
B'Tselem representative Yael Stein noted that "The unbearable stalling exercised by the authorities, and the fact that the IDF's Chief Military Advocate General's decision was made only after the High Court was petitioned, is indicative of the fact that set timeframes must be established for each stage of the investigation and that investigators' reports regarding decision-making would include the rationales behind the decision, in a way that would enable petitioners to appeal effectively.