Anger as Israelis drop charges against soldier

By Caitlin Pike

Death in Gaza – the film James Miller was directing when he was shot
dead by Israeli forces in May 2003 – has won the 2004 Bafta for current
affairs, days after the Israeli Defence Force (IDF)n dropped
disciplinary charges against the soldier involved.

It was the second award for the film, which focused on the impact of
war on the lives of Palestinian children. Miller was posthumously
awarded the Rory Peck features award last year.

Saira Shah, with
whom Miller set up Frostbite films, accepted the award in his place.
She said Death in Gaza was his most important directing role and that
he would have been “really, really happy” to be awarded the Bafta.

during the week leading up to the Baftas, the Miller family’s fight for
justice was dealt another blow when all charges against the officer who
fired at the time of Miller’s death were dropped.

Miller’s widow,
Sophie, said it showed that military activities in Gaza were being
carried out with impunity. “This decision by the deputy chief of staff
of the IDF’s Southern Command makes a mockery of Israeli claims that
they follow due process where IDF soldiers have acted criminally and
outside their own rules of engagement,” she said.

“We deplore the total failure to hold anyone responsible for the most serious breaches of Israeli rules of engagement.”

had believed at the outset that there was no genuine will to uncover
the truth, because the site of her husband’s death was not secured for
forensic investigation.

The area was destroyed by bulldozers
three days after the incident, and it took 11 weeks for the Israelis to
impound the guns involved.

“Now, almost two years after James was
killed and after what the Israelis claim was an exhaustive
investigation, our suspicions have been confirmed by this IDF
decision,” his widow added.

The family is planning to launch a civil action against the officer for wrongful killing.

The Bafta for news coverage went to BBC One’s 10 O’Clock News for its
reporting of the terrorist bombings in Madrid. The award for the best
single documentary went to BBC Four’s The Orphans of Nkandla. Best
factual series was BBC Two’s The Power of Nightmares and the Huw Weldon
Award for best specialist factual went to BBC Two’s Dunkirk.

Snow from Channel 4 News was awarded the Richard Dimbleby Award for the
most important contribution on screen to factual television last year.
Sir David Frost was awarded an academy fellowship.

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