Dead film maker's family vows to fight on for justice

By Caitlin Pike

The
family of James Miller, the British filmmaker shot dead in Gaza, has
condemned Israel’s decision not to prosecute the soldier responsible
for his shooting and vowed to launch a civil action for wrongful
killing.

This follows a meeting with the Judge Advocate General, General Mandelblit, in Tel Aviv last week.

The
family were told by General Mandelblit that the commanding officer
involved in the incident was the only soldier to have fired. Even
though the Israeli Defence Forces have confirmed that they interviewed
the commander six times and that his versions of events were
inconsistent, they are only taking disciplinary action against him for
breaking the rules of engagement and for his conduct during the
investigation. The commander claimed that he had not fired at a person
but the general confirmed there was no one else firing at the time
Miller was killed.

Miller was carrying a white flag, wearing a
helmet clearly marked with TV on it and was calling out that he and his
colleagues were British journalists when he was shot. Despite
assurances that they would be shown the IDF report on its completion,
Miller’s family have still not seen it. The report has been finished
and at some point in the future the file will be given to the family’s
Israeli lawyers, once it has been checked for “operational security”.

Sophy
Miller, James’s wife, said: “Nothing can express our outrage that,
waiting for two years and putting our faith in a system which has now
failed to deliver, we still have prosecutors who suspect and continue
to suspect a commanding officer and who will only bring disciplinary
measures because of an initial flawed investigative process. The truth
will come out and we hope the Israeli judicial system will mete out
justice.

This investigation does not serve the IDF, decent Israeli citizens, us, his family, and, above all, James.”

Both
Miller’s family and the British Government were promised from the
outset by the IDF and the Israeli foreign minister, Silvan Shalom, that
the report would be made available to them on its completion. Miller’s
family wants to know why this is not being honoured.

James Miller
was killed on 2 May 2003 in Rafah in the Gaza Strip. Miller, aged 34,
was an award-winning film maker and producer, and was filming a
documentary about the impact of conflict on children when he was
fatally shot by an Israeli soldier.

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