Mandelblit Says Trial of Former Soldiers Must Go Forward

YERUSHALAYIM -

Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit ruled that legal proceedings against two former IDF soldiers accused of killing an unarmed 16-year-old Palestinian cannot be frozen, as the defendants’ lawyers had requested, The Jerusalem Post reported.

They had petitioned the Ramle Magistrate’s Court to shelve the proceedings, on grounds that a trial would entail publicizing classified rules of engagement.

Defense lawyers Shlomo Rachvi and Idan Pesach are expected to argue that the soldiers are being singled out unfairly, since no other IDF soldier has been indicted for shooting and killing Palestinians in similar operational circumstances in 40 years.

In addition, it is unreasonable, they say, to charge soldiers for a possible error in a rapidly unfolding incident — this one took about 32 seconds — where they have to make life-and-death decisions on their own.

Although there are obvious parallels to the case of Chevron shooter Sgt. Elor Azaria, these two soldiers were charged for negligent use of their weapons, much less serious than the manslaughter charge Azaria faces, and they were already out of the army when the case began.
The trial will likely be held in November, about the same time the Azaria trial will wind up.