The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today warned that the results of an Israeli Army investigation clearing a tank crew of any wrong-doing in the killing of Reuters' cameraman Fadel Shana in April in the Gaza Strip could endanger all media professionals working in the Palestinian Territories.
"This inquiry, which has been farcical in its nature, is likely to make life even more dangerous for journalists working in the field," said IFJ General Secretary Aidan White. "We have no confidence in an inquiry that has been used by the Israeli Army to avoid facing up to the consequences of its irresponsible actions. We share Reuters' concern that there has been a terrible injustice here and that the Israeli authorities have failed to take action."
Reuters said it was told by the Israeli Defence Forces' Military Advocate-General that "troops could not see whether Shana was operating a camera or a weapon but were nonetheless justified in firing a shell packed with darts that killed him and eight other Palestinians aged between 12 and 20."
"This report is untenable because it does not meet any test of what is necessary for a legitimate independent inquiry into these tragic killings," White said. "As usual we have an army investigating itself without proper independent review."
The IFJ is calling on the Israeli government and the international community to intervene in this case and ensure that a full, independent inquiry is carried out.
The IFJ fears that any media staff carrying bulky camera equipment or attempting to use such equipment will now become potential targets. The IFJ is further concerned that this case fails to meet the call from the United Nations Security Council in December 2006 for an end to impunity in the killing of journalists and proper investigation of deadly attacks against media.
UN Security Council resolution 1738 says that journalists in conflict zones are considered civilian non-combatants and that any targeting of journalists may be considered a war crime.
For more information contact the IFJ at +32 2 235 2207
The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 120 countries worldwide