The High Court of Justice rejected Sunday a petition to put two Border Guard officers on trial for alleged involvement in the death of 10-year-old Abir Aramin, nearly a year after Jerusalem District Court ruled that she was killed by a rubber bullet shot by Border Guard officers during a riot.
However, in their ruling, the High Court justices criticized the police and prosecution, calling their investigation "sloppy and incomplete." The State of Israel and the Border Guard were also forced to pay NIS 10,000 ($2,942) for legal costs.
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Aramin was killed in January 2007 near her school in the village of Anta, north of Jerusalem, where Border Guard forces were dispersing a violent riot. Police adamantly claimed that according to the autopsy, the child was killed from a stone – but a week after the incident, her family, with the help of the B'Tselem organization, published a pathologist's report stating she was hit by a rubber bullet.
The family petitioned the High Court and demanded proceedings be opened against the officers.
After the Supreme Court ordered the State to explain why the investigation was not reopened, the State announced that after examining the case they will not file an indictment due to lack of sufficient evidence proving Aramin was hit by a rubber bullet.
Furthermore, the State said they could not collect evidence from witnesses in the village of Anta, claiming they could not be traced.
'Investigation was flawed'
The High Court criticized the police and prosecution for their work on the case. In the sentencing, High Court President Dorit Beinish wrote that the police and prosecution should have collected evidence right after the incident occurred. She added police forces should have done more to investigate the cause of the girl's death.
"It's an elementary duty to open an immediate probe and not count on the police or those involved, who are naturally inclined to defend themselves," stated Beinish. "There is no doubt that the handling of this investigation was flawed from the get-go."
However Beinish remarked that as of now, four and a half years after the incident, Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein made a reasonable and professional call to not put the Border Guard officers on trial, stressing the lack of evidence in this case.
The Yesh Din organization responded: "If Aramin would have been a Jewish girl it's likely that the investigation would have been efficient and quick. The law authorities have prevented Abir's family from achieving justice and unfortunately it's not the only case."
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