Photo: Meir Azulay
Burberg: I didn't give the order to shoot
Photo: Meir Azulay

Naalin commander admits wrongdoing, but disputes criminal charges

Lt.-col. dismissed from position due to shooting incident involving bound Palestinian protestor contests petition filed by rights activists demanding more serious charges, claims his motives were not criminal

Lt. Colonel Omri Burberg, a Naalin regiment commander who was indicted following an incident in which a bound Palestinian was shot in the foot during an anti-fence protest in the West Bank village, contested a petition submitted by human rights organizations asking to charge him with more serious offenses.


Burberg was dismissed after the incident. His attorneys said Wednesday that "the inquiry into the regiment commander's behavior has led to the conclusion that this is not a case in which a mark of disgrace should be planted on his forehead, warning the public against him."


The response submitted to the High Court of Justice claimed that the commander's behavior was indeed flawed, but his motive was not criminal. Furthermore, it said, there is no doubt that it was not the commander's intention that the Palestinian be shot at, nor did he give the order to do so.


Burberg also claimed that the manner in which the media covered the event had been inaccurate, and based on claims made by the Palestinian, Ibrahim Abu-Rahma, who said that Burberg had committed other crimes.


He also negated claims made by the Judge Advocate General (JAG), who stated that Burberg had been trying to frighten a bound and blindfolded man. Burberg claimed that there is an ethical difference between frightening a bound man in order to abuse him, and using a "ruse" in order to enable a dialogue with him.


Burberg's attorneys also objected to his dismissal from the post of commander, stating that "the office the regiment commander is now performing is devoid of any real challenge for him, and actually constitutes a huge step back considering all of the missions he has completed and the soldiers he has commanded."


They claimed that a disciplinary trial would have been sufficient punishment for Burberg, and that charges of improper behavior were unnecessary seeing as he has already been punished severely by the loss of his position.


"We believe it would have been proper for the JAG to attach more significance to the fact that the regiment commander acted without a criminal motive, and that his actions were military, and a product of his desire to fulfill his mission," one of the attorneys stated.


פרסום ראשון: 09.24.08, 17:29
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