Indictment against Israeli soldier in killing of Palestinian child in Gaza

In response to a complaint submitted by PCHR on behalf of the family of a Palestinian child killed by an Israeli soldier in March 2002, the office of the Israeli Military Prosecutor of the Southern Command stated on 4 December that an Israeli soldier has been charged with “causing death by negligence.”

PCHR submitted a complaint to the Israeli military legal advisor on 3 April 2003 in respect of the killing of 8-year-old Mahmoud Hassan Ahmed al-Talalqa, calling for an investigation into the killing, the prosecution of those found responsible, and provision of compensation to al-Talalqa’s family. On 28 July 2003, PCHR received an initial response from the Israeli Military Prosecutor’s Office stating that an investigation into the child’s death would be initiated.

PCHR sent several letters to the Israeli Military Prosecutor to inquire about the conclusions of the investigation into the case. PCHR finally received a letter on Thursday, 4 December 2003, from Einat Ron, the Military Prosecutor for the Southern Command, in which he stated that a bill of indictment was issued against an Israeli soldier in respect of the killing of Mahmoud al-Talalqa.

Mahmoud Al-Talalqa was killed on 1 March 2002, while he was playing in the street with his friends near the al-Nada housing project in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun, after afternoon prayers. According to a preliminary investigation conducted by PCHR’s into the incident, al-Talalqa was shot at close range by an Israeli soldier. The child’s brother, who witnessed the killing, stated that: “The Israeli soldier popped his head out of an Israeli military tank positioned near the al-Nada apartment buildings and gestured and called to my brother and his friends to come closer to him. As the group neared the tank, the soldier opened fire at them. Mahmoud was hit, but his friends were able to escape.”

This is the second case pursued by PCHR during this Intifada in which an indictment has been issued against an individual Israeli soldier. In the other case, a female soldiers was indicted in relation to a complaint filed by PCHR on behalf of Fathma Mohammed al-Najjar, 43, who was forced to drink a poisonous liquid at al-Tuffah Israeli military checkpoint at the entrance to the Mawasi area in the southern Gaza Strip in February 2003.

PCHR remains committed to continuing its efforts to seek full reparation for victims of human rights violations perpetrated by the Israeli military and settlers in the OPTs, including full and fair investigations, prosecution of individuals responsible and appropriate compensation.