Since the eruption of the Second Intifada and until April 2008, the Military Advocate General’s Corps has filed only 140 indictments against soldiers accused of committing offenses against Palestinians and their property. This number is small considering that hundreds of investigation files were opened over this period, as indicated by a data sheet published by Yesh Din, part of a project to increase the transparency of law enforcement procedures in the IDF on soldiers suspected of committing criminal offenses in the Occupied Palestinian Territories against Palestinian civilians and their property.
As part of the project, Yesh Din is working to expose data regarding investigation and prosecution procedures conducted following incidents in which members of the security forces are suspected of committing crimes against Palestinian civilians. Most of this information has never been made public before and in some instances, was not even collected by the public authorities charged with enforcing the law, nor was the IDF in possession of it.
The figures of the Military Police Criminal Investigation Division (MPCID), collected at Yesh Din’s request and provided to the organization by the IDF Spokesperson, allow access for the first time ever to the “Unit Index:” A list of the IDF units whose soldiers are suspected of the largest number of offenses against Palestinians and their property in the OPT – offenses of abuse, looting, illegal shooting and the killing of innocents. The index provides information both on the single battalion level and on the brigade level.
The data collected in the Unit Index is not absolute, among other things, because the index relates to investigations and not convictions or offenses. Most of the offenses committed by IDF soldiers in the OPT are not reported at all to the MPCID and thus no investigations are actually opened. Likewise, many investigation files do not include the name of the unit that the suspects serve in.