Autopsy suggests British cameraman James Miller was shot by Israeli army gunfire

A photo handed out May 3, 2003 shows freelance British cameraman James Miller a day before he was killed in the Rafah refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip.

On 8 May 2003, RSF called for the punishment of those responsible for the death of British freelance cameraman James Miller on 2 May. An autopsy revealed that the the only bullet to hit him entered his body from the front. The journalist was killed as he was filming troops in the Gaza Strip.

The findings by Israel’s National Forensics Institute confirm the account of witnesses at the scene who said troops opened fire on Miller and other journalists wearing jackets marked “press” and waving a white flag as they approached the troops.

Colonel Avi Levy, the deputy Israeli military commander in Gaza, earlier said his men started shooting after anti-tank weapons were fired. Levy had suggested that Miller might have been killed by Palestinian gunfire.

A frame from APTN which shows a British documentary film crew filming in Rafah, Friday May 2 2003. Freelance British journalist, Briton James Miller, seen here at left, holding camera filming youths earlier in the day, was shot and killed.

“We are glad the autopsy was carried out,” said RSF Secretary-General Robert Ménard. “The investigation must now work to establish who was responsible for the shooting. Those who fired the shots must be held accountable. The impunity enjoyed by Israeli soldiers must end.”

At the time of the incident, Miller had been filming Israeli troops destroying a house in Rafah. The soldiers said they later found him lying on the ground with a neck wound. Miller died while waiting for an army helicopter to take him to an Israeli hospital. The army expressed its regret, but added that the journalist had taken a serious risk by being in a war zone.

Miller is the second journalist to be killed by Israeli army gunfire in 2003, and the fifth since the second Intifada began in September 2000.

Related Links:

  • CPJ calls for full and transparent investigation into British journalist’s death, CPJ, 7 May 2003