Photo: B'Tselem
Handcuffed Palestinian shot
Photo: B'Tselem

Regiment commander to be dismissed over Naalin incident

Crime and punishment: Judge advocate general decides to dismiss armored corps lieutenant colonel after IDF soldier filmed shooting handcuffed Palestinian; commander, shooter to face criminal charges

Regiment Commander Lieutenant Colonel Omri Bruberg will be dismissed from his post in the wake of an incident where an IDF soldier fired a rubber bullet at a handcuffed Palestinian, Ynet has learned.


The IDF's Judge Advocate General, Avi Mandelblit, also decided that the commander and the firing soldier will face criminal charges of improper conduct. Such offences are considered relatively minor and do not result in a criminal record. The trial is expected to end in a plea bargain.


In response to the decision, Bruberg said: "I’m the commander, I'm responsible, and I'm paying the price. I believe this decision is good for the soldier (involved in the incident,) for the regiment, and for the army as a whole." In a talk he held with his subordinates, Bruberg said he is "proud of the army."


Bruberg's associates, however, said the commander was the one who decided to leave his post, and added that some of his superiors attempted to convince him to stay on.


For the time being it has also been decided that Lt. Col. Bruberg will not be able to hold command positions in the future. IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi is expected to meet with the dismissed commander and discuss his future in the military.


An indictment against the two soldiers is expected to be filed in the coming days. A plea bargain could see both of them handed a conditional sentence.


Military officials were not in agreement over the right approach to the case, and senior officers involved in the affair told Ynet Bruberg was spared a severe indictment.


Did commander lie?

The investigation into the affair started after a Palestinian girl filmed an IDF soldier firing a rubber bullet at a handcuffed Palestinian who clashed with forces in the Naalin area.


Once the probe got under way, investigators discovered disagreements between the soldier and his commander. The soldier claimed that he fired at the Palestinian on the orders of Lt. Col. Bruberg. However, Bruberg said he did not issue such order, but rather, only wanted to scare the Palestinian.


Subsequent polygraph tests indicated that the commander lied in his interrogation while the soldier was telling the truth.


Meanwhile, human rights group B'Tselem issued a statement calling the IDF's decision to dismiss the regiment commander and charge him with conduct unbecoming an officer – a relatively minor charge – "shameful."


The group, which exposed the incident, called on military authorities to launch a criminal investigation into the conduct of the Binyamin Region Brigade commander's conduct, claiming that the incident was being covered-up.


פרסום ראשון: 08.06.08, 20:06
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