In 2014 the Military Police Criminal Investigations Division (MPCID) opened 229 investigations of suspected criminal offenses committed by soldiers against Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Just 8 (3.5%) of the 229 investigations opened resulted in indictments – a decrease compared to 2013 figures, when 9 (4.5%) of 199 investigations opened led to indictments. This data is based on information provided annually by the IDF Spokesperson at Yesh Din’s request, and on Yesh Din’s long-term monitoring of these figures.
The data sheet reflects a low indictment rate, which based on our monitoring, reveals the deep, ongoing failure to conduct exhaustive investigations that lead to indictments. The result is near impunity from prosecution for IDF soldiers because many of these investigations open only after a preliminary inquiry has been conducted; the IDF usually knows who the suspects are and is able to find them relatively easily; and that many Palestinians choose not to report cases of comparatively light injury in the first place.
Most of the MPCID criminal investigations opened have addressed violence or bodily injury caused to Palestinians by soldiers, although the data indicates that most of the indictments served in 2014 concerned property and bribery offenses. More grave incidents, in which Palestinian civilians were either killed or wounded, hardly ever led to indictments.
The data collected, as well as Yesh Din’s ongoing experience with assisting in and monitoring complaints filed by Palestinians following harm caused by soldiers point to a lack of oversight and coordination between the two law enforcement bodies inside the IDF (the MPCID and the Military Advocate General’s Corps, MAGC) and unreasonably lengthy law enforcement procedures.
These two issues – lack of coordination and oversight by the MAGC and the unreasonably lengthy law enforcement process – critically impact the quality of law enforcement on IDF soldiers suspected of harming Palestinians. These mechanisms are ineffective, and fail to deter against offenses or to provide protection for Palestinian residents.