Azariya trial: 'Deficient conduct by officers'

Res. General will testify to deficiencies in the professional conduct of the terror scene by officers after Azariya shooting incident.

Shimon Cohen ,

Elor Azariya in court with his parents
Elor Azariya in court with his parents
Flash 90

Reserve General Danny Biton will testify for the defense in the Elor Azariya trial today. Biton told Channel 2 about his intended testimony - which will focus on the IDFs conduct at the scene - Sunday morning.

Azariya is on trial for shooting a terrorist who was lying on the ground wounded in Hevron.

Biton recounted several problems with the way Azariya's unit conducted operations in the area after the shooting incident. One of them was the fact that a briefing was conducted in the absence of several soldiers, with Azariya among them.

"The Company Commander arrived at the scene without securing it, without checking whether the terrorist was alive or dead, and without checking whether he had an explosive device on his person. By this conduct, the commander exposed his men to the threat of fire from the roofs or an explosion.

"He also conducted an initial investigation in the absence of the Platoon Commander [Azariya's more immediate commanding officer] and Azariya himself."

Biton wondered aloud in the interview if this is the norm we would like to see in the conduct of Company Commanders in the line of fire. The General then moved on to speak about the Battalion Commander's behavior.

According to Biton, the aforementioned officer said in his initial report that Azariya shot the terrorist while he was on the ground receiving medical attention, something that is clearly not true.

The Battalion Commander had also told media in the aftermath of the incident that none of the personnel in the area had felt any sense of danger, "but when you read the testimony from the soldiers and paramedic who were there at the time, you see that they were apprehensive."

As to the conduct of Azariya himself, Biton said that combat troops in an active scene must make decisions and act according to their assessment of the circumstances, and that there are two parameters that define the circumstances: intent by the enemy, and capacity. In this case, the intent of the terrorist was clearly established, while only the capacity was unknown.

According to Res. General Biton, the most important evidence in the case is the testimony of the Platoon Commander who was actually there at the time and was in charge of operations until more senior officers arrived. Yet, for some reason, his testimony has been "missed" as Biton puts it.

At the start of the interview, Biton said he wishes to emphasize that he isn't testifying for the sake of Azariya, but for the sake of the entire IDF.