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Israeli soldier who murdered British journalist escapes justice



Israeli officer who killed UK journalist faces minor charges

The Israeli army has told the family of a British journalist killed in the Gaza Strip that the soldier responsible will face only minor disciplinary charges, despite the investigators' suspicion that he illegally shot James Miller two years ago.

Miller's widow Sophy said the family intended to bring a civil action for damages against the Israeli army and to seek a judicial review of the decision not to prosecute the soldier for murder.

"I think to keep people waiting for two years only to deliver nothing is an outrage," she said.

"They presented it as if they have gone to every length to secure the truth, that they've left no stone unturned, but at the same time failed to even secure the evidence the night James was killed."

Miller, an award-winning film producer and cameraman, was shot dead in Rafah refugee camp as he and the rest of a documentary team tried to pass by an armoured vehicle.

He was waving a white flag and shouting that he was a journalist, but it was dark. The armoured vehicle's commander, a lieutenant who has not been named, fired 11 bullets, two of which struck Miller in the neck.

In its first account of the killing the army said the armoured vehicle was under fire at the time, but video footage showed this to be untrue. The army altered its version twice more, effectively shifting responsibility to the victim, but these accounts were also shown to be false.

The Miller family describes the killing as murder and accuses the army of ignoring, destroying or sabotaging evidence.

Crucially, the soldiers in the vehicle were not asked to hand in their weapons for inspection until a month after the killing, and there is some evidence that the guns may have been swapped.

Yesterday the army said the soldier concerned would not face more serious charges because of a lack of ballistics evidence.

Mrs Miller said: "On the night he died there was a whole army unit who knew who killed him. If they'd been serious to get to the truth the guns would have been surrendered that night and not a month later.

"And now when they say the reason they can't bring a prosecution is because the ballistics evidence doesn't match, what does that tell you?"

The Miller family met the advocate general, Brigadier General Avichai Mandelblit, in Tel Aviv yesterday. He admitted that the lieutenant's account was inconsistent and that the soldiers knew there were journalists there when he opened fire.

But Gen Mandelblit said the army was prepared to take disciplinary action against the lieutenant only for breaching the rules of engagement and "for his conduct during the investigation", which may mean lying to investigators.

Mrs Miller said the army investigators had expressed a strong suspicion that the lieutenant was guilty of illegally killing her husband.

"We still have prosecutors who suspect and continue to suspect a commanding officer and who will only bring disciplinary measures because of an initial flawed investigative process," she added.


SOURCE

The Guardian, "Israeli officer who killed UK journalist faces minor charges", 10 March 2005.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/Story/0,2763,1434235,00.html

"The Insider" mailing list article, 10 March 2005.

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Tags: Israel, British journalist, Israeli, soldier, shot, killed, James Miller, family, lawsuit, law, suit, legal, action, civil, action, , conspiracy theories.

 
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