The military prosecutor in the case against the IDF medic Sergeant A, who on March 24 shot and killed a neutralized terrorist on the ground in Hebron, on Thursday told an IDF court in Jaffa that he plans to indict the accused on manslaughter charges. An earlier statement, made by investigators after the event, suggested they planned to charge the shooter with murder, but the unprecedented public outcry that followed resulted, possibly, with a reduced charge. The majority of Israelis in several recent polls believe there should be no prosecution at all in the case.
Military prosecutor Lt. Col. Adoram Rigler asked the court to extend the on camp arrest of the accused until Monday, when the indictment will supposedly be ready. Apparently there are a few technical details to be hammered out. The prosecution referred to the pathology report on the autopsy that had been conducted on the terrorist’s body, saying it determined that it was the shot made by the accused which killed the terrorist. The autopsy report will hopefully clear up just how many times the terrorist had been shot before the soldier put him out of his misery, and what would have been his chances of survival without the final shot. Rumor has the number of bullets he absorbed in his upper body at seven, before the last one hit him.
The prosecutor also told the court that the B’Tselem video, shot by Imad Abu Shmasia, was examined by a forensics lab and determined to be authentic and unedited.
The soldier’s attorneys objected to the demand for a remand of the clients saying he did not pose a flight risk and there was no justification for his continued on-base arrest, since the investigation—as stated by the prosecution—is all but complete.
As usual, there was a loud group of demonstrators outside the court building, demanding the soldier’s release without a trial, waving signs that read: “He was abandoned in the field.”
Much of the prosecution’s case hinges on the state of mind of the accused during the shooting, namely how much he knew about the neutralizing of the terrorist and the verification that followed his neutralizing. Since he arrived some ten minuets after the incident, the fact that the verification process had been proper may not matter if the defense can establish that the accused was not aware of it, and estimated the terrorist to still be dangerous.
The case will also revolve over the application of the rules of engagement in cases where a suicide bomb is suspected. The prosecution will bring witnesses who will tell the court there hadn’t been any suicide bombers in the entire six months of a terror wave leading up to the shooting. But that may not matter in establishing the state of mind of the accused or the validity of the rules of engagement that include an expectation of a suicide bomb.