Several human rights groups petition the High Court Tuesday asking that it order the Military Advocate General, Brigadier-General Avi Mandelblit and the IDF's Chief Prosecutor, Colonel Liron Lieberman, to explain their reluctance to amend the indictment filed against Lt. Col. Omri Burberg and Staff Sergeant L. for their involvement in the Naalin shooting incident.
The petition was filed by B'Tselem, Yesh Din, the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel, and the Palestinian who was shot, Ashraf Abu-Rahma.
Subsequently, the court issued an interim order suspending the legal proceedings, as well as order-nisi compelling the Military Prosecution to explain within a 21-day time period, its reasons for including just the legally-light charges of conduct unbecoming in the indictment filed against the commander and soldier.
The petitioners demanded the court order the IDF to amend the indictment so it may "reflect the severity of the actions." The petition also demands that both servicemen be tried for aggravated assault of a bound prisoner – an offence which is punishable by up to seven years in jail.
Mandelblit's indictment, said the petition, was tainted by extreme improbability, especially when considering other abuse complaints filed against Burberg by residents of the town of Naalin, near the West Bank city of Ramallah.
The petition went on to claim that Burberg – who commands the Armor Corps Regiment 71, which is in charge of the Naalin area, has created an atmosphere in which abusing Palestinian detainees became the norm.
"The Military Advocate General's choice in filing such a soft indictment indicates the IDF's feeble response to this incident… it send a message to the officers and soldiers that disregarding human lives is acceptable and sets the stage for the next incident.
"It is hard not to think that we are witnessing a systematic eclipse which has plagued not only among IDF officers in the field, but also among those tasked with carrying out justice in the military," concluded the petition.