Is there Hope of Justice for a Palestinian family in Israel’s Courts?
Ziad Jilani’s widow and daughters seek Justice for his killing by Israeli Border Policeman Maxim Vinogradov, for the third time. This Wednesday (13 March) Moira Jilani and her three daughters will come face to face with their husband and father’s killer.
“I am dreading facing them for my daughters,” Says Moira, “I think I could face them myself but I’m afraid that when I see the pain in my daughters eyes it will kill me.” Her husband, Ziad Jilani was killed three years ago by Maxim Vinogradov, an Israeli border patrolman who put his rifle to Jilani’s head and pulled the trigger three consecutive times.
Now, for the third time, the family is appealing to Israeli authorities to press charges against Ziad’s killer. On the 16th of January 2011 the case was closed by police internal investigations (Machash) for the first time, for “lack of evidence”.
In the following month, on the 15th of February 2011, the family submitted an appeal to then Israel Attorney General, Menachem Mazuz. Despite a confession by Vinogradov that he had shot Ziad at zero range when he was lying on the ground because of the initial gunshot wound, an autopsy report pointing to a close range shooting, dozens of eyewitnesses who were also injured that day as a result of the incident, and very clear changes in Vinogradov’s testimonies before and after the autopsy, Mazuz did not see fit to change Machash’s decision to close the case.
With the help of the al-Mazaan Center for Human Rights, on January 4th 2012, the family submitted a second appeal. This time, to the Israeli Supreme Court, through the al-Mazaan Center for Human Rights, demanding that the new state prosecutor, Yehuda Weinstein, bring criminal charges against Ziad’s murderers.
“After Weinstein [Israel's current Attorney General] had all the evidence we had hope that he would press charges against the killers,” Moira recalls, “but after he decided not to do so for the third time, it is hard to have hope that the court will do justice.”
According to Yesh Din in 2012 the MPCID received 240 complaints and various reports of suspected crimes allegedly committed by Israeli soldiers against Palestinians and their property in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Out of these registered complaints, only 103- not even half- have yielded investigations. Not one single indictment has been served to date.
The organization commented on the findings:
“The numerous defects in MPCID investigations of offenses against Palestinians, and in the Military Advocate General Corps’ supervision of the investigations, result in the closure of the vast majority of the files and a minimal number of indictments being served. This creates a feeling of lawlessness on the ground, which may be a central contributing factor in the rise in the number of killings over recent weeks.”
Moira describes this sense of lawlessness, “I still have hope, but its hard when we see everything that’s happening around us,” she says, “my husband’s case is one of what seems to be a systematic sweeping under the rug of violent incidences of Israeli soldiers against the Palestinian population under their authority.
We are not just going to court for Ziad Jilani. We are going to court for all the Palestinians killed before Ziad and those that will be killed thereafter.”
- Mother of Bilin protestor killed by Israel files court petition (alethonews.wordpress.com)