15 Jul. '10: Soldier and Officer Convicted in Ni'lin Shooting Exposed by B'Tselem

15 Jul 2010

The special military court convicted Lieutenant Col. Omri Borberg, formerly commander of armored battalion 71 of attempt ed threat s and Staff Sergeant Leonardo Corea of unlawful use of firearms . Both were also convicted of conduct unbecoming. The charges carry a maximum sentence of three years imprisonment and a criminal record.

In the judgment, the panel of three judges wrote that Borberg instructed to make Ashraf Abu Rahma, the bound prisoner, think that a soldier would shoot him. "The accused even led his subordinate astray by causing him to shoot towards the blindfolded, bound prisoner." The judges emphasized that combat is not an excuse to justify criminal action. "The actions of the battalion commander did not take place during a demonstration but rather in an area under complete Israeli control and the threat of shooting was not conducted in the course of combat or police action. It represents a serious blow to fundamental values and a significant erosion of the image of the IDF, his commanders and its soldiers."

The decision of the military court is important both as measure of justice for the victim, as well as for the deterrent message it sends to soldiers and commanders. The military must embrace the judgment and act decisively and proactively to ensure that the far too common phenomenon of ill treatment of Palestinian detainees is not tolerated.