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From the field

Border police officer who shot a Palestinian boy charged with negligent manslaughter

Update: On 30 October 2012, the court acquitted Border Police officer Omri Abu of negligent homicide, while convicting him of negligent use of arms. In addition, the judge asserted that the policeman had lied in the preliminary debriefing of the incident. In her ruling, the judge noted that the investigation conducted by the Judaea and Samaria Police was extremely flawed.

Ahmad MusaAhmed Musa, 10 years old, was shot in the head in July 2008, after a demonstration against the construction of the separation barrier in the West Bank village of Ni'lin. Today the prosecution indicted the border police officer involved with negligent manslaughter

The Israeli central district prosecution filed May 25th, 2010, an indictment for negligent manslaughter against a retired border policeman suspected of shooting a 10 year old Palestinian boy after a demonstration against the construction of the separation barrier in the West Bank.

The boy, Ahmed Musa, of the village of Ni'ilin, west of Ramallah, was killed after clashes erupted between Israeli security forces and residents who protested against the construction of the separation barrier on their lands. Witnesses to the incident told researchers of human rights groups B'Tselem and Yesh Din that Musa was struck by a bullet fired by the Israeli security forces. The doctors in the Ramallah hospital where Musa was treated said he was killed from a bullet injury to his head.

After B'Tselem and Yesh Din appealed to the authorities, the Judea and Samaria police started an investigation. An IDF-Border Police operational debriefing concluded that the boy's death was caused by Israeli fire. In his interrogation, the police officer suspected of shooting Musa admitted he fired some warning shots to scare off the demonstrators. In February, the prosecution announced the suspect will be indicted with negligent manslaughter, pending a hearing. In the hearing, the defendant's claims were rejected, and today charges were pressed against him.

According to Yesh Din's data, since the start of the second Intifada, only a few indictments were filed against Israeli security personnel who were involved in incidents in which Palestinians have been killed. Out of those, only a fraction resulted in convictions.

From the year 2001 until today, human rights group B'Tselem has handled 35 cases of Palestinians who were injured or killed from bullets fired by police officers and border police officers. Only 16 of the cases were investigated, and of those, only two cases resulted in indictments. One of the two is the case of Ahmed Musa.