Israeli officials have warned that soldiers are contaminating the crime scene after shooting alleged Palestinian assailants, often making it impossible to conduct an investigation.
According to a report in Haaretz, in light of efforts by Palestinians and others to hold Israel to account in legal proceedings abroad – including the International Criminal Court – the state began “examining various West Bank incidents that ended with a Palestinian being shot.”
This review, led by Shlomo Abramson of the prosecution’s special tasks department, concluded “that in many cases, discovering what really happened was impossible, because the evidence at the scene had been disturbed.”
In a memo sent by Abramson to the Israeli military, police and other agencies, he warned that soldiers were repeatedly interfering with evidence, a conclusion later supported by the police.
“In many cases”, the paper notes, “large numbers of soldiers, civilians, medical and security personnel flock to the scene and handle the evidence, so crime lab tests become impossible. They also trample over bloodstains and leave footprints all over.”
There have also been cases “where evidence disappeared, or where commanders on the scene sent witnesses away before police or Military Police investigators arrived.”