Photo: Amir Cohen
Soldier voiced distress (Illustration)
Photo: Amir Cohen

IDF commanders indicted for soldier's suicide

In unprecedented move, Military Prosecution decides to indict two officers for negligent homicide because of their alleged responsibility for soldier's suicide

In an unprecedented decision, the Military Prosecution has decided to press criminal charges against two IDF officers following the suicide of one of their subordinates.


Ynet has learned that the two, a company commander and his deputy, would be indicted for negligent homicide.


The indictment, which will be presented at the Jaffa military court next week, links for the first in time the IDF's history the conduct of commanding officers and the suicide of their subordinate.


The officers will be indicted due to their failure to address their subordinate's distress. According to the indictment the negligent conduct of the two officers, a captain serving in the Judea and Samaria Division and his deputy, a first lieutenant, led to the suicide of one of their soldiers, who shot himself last summer.


Following the suicide, an internal investigation was launched at the division, as well as a Military Police investigation.


Suicide inevitable?  

The investigation revealed that a day prior to his suicide, the soldier expressed deep distress and even cocked his gun. His friends found him at the dormitories crying and talking about unrequited love. Aware of the soldier's severe mental condition, the commanders took away his personal weapon, spoke to him, and decided to guard him until an army psychologist arrived.


On the following day, while he was being guarded by the deputy commander, the soldier was left alone for a moment and then shot himself to death, using his commander's weapon – which was left in the room.


One of the military probe's main conclusions was that the soldier would have committed suicide sooner or later, and that therefore no personal measures should be taken against his commanding officers.


However, the Central Command chief prosecutor, Lieutenant-Colonel Udi ben-Eliezer, decided to ignore the investigation's recommendations and file an indictment against the officers. The chief military prosecutor approved the decision.


'They didn't take care of my brother'

Eyal, the eldest brother of the soldier who committed suicide, told Ynet following the decision that it would not bring back his brother, but that he viewed it as an admission by the army that the commanders made a mistake.


"They did not act like commanders should act when a soldier is in distress," he said. "On the night I was informed about the disaster, I told them not to tell me stories because I knew they didn’t take care of my brother.


"I am not comforted by the decision, but at least it proves that something is moving in the army," he added. "My parents have always been looking for an answer, and maybe this decision would constitute an answer to them."


Eyal said that his brother, who immigrated to Israel when he was 3 years old, asked to serve in a combat unit and was happy during his service. "He always smiled and we never saw him distressed."


פרסום ראשון: 04.19.07, 11:13
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