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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 April, 2005, 19:38 GMT 20:38 UK
Soldier cleared of Gaza killing
James Miller
Israel said James Miller had "taken great risks"
An Israeli soldier accused of shooting a British cameraman dead has been cleared by a judge of any wrongdoing.

James Miller was killed in 2003 at the age of 34, as he filmed a documentary in the Rafah refugee camp.

Israel had already said the soldier - known only as Lt H - would not be prosecuted over the death.

On Thursday a military judge also dismissed disciplinary proceedings, acquitting the soldier of "misusing his firearm", a military official said.

It means no action will be taken against him.

Mr Miller's relatives have accused the army of a cover-up, and have threatened to sue the Israeli Defence Force.

The Israeli embassy in London said the investigation has been one of the most complex the army has ever launched, but the evidence gathered did not provide "a reasonable chance for conviction as required under criminal law".

'Regret'

Mr Miller, from Braunton, Devon, was shot as he left a Palestinian home in the dark.

He was struck in the neck, between his helmet and bullet-proof vest.

The victim's colleagues said the team were carrying a white flag and had made themselves known to troops in the area before he was shot.

The Israeli army expressed regret over Mr Miller's death but said he had "taken great risks by being in a virtual war zone".

Israel's embassy in the UK said the charges have been dropped because the fire was reasonable "given the operational and environmental conditions under which the IDF force was working; frequent terrorist attacks, thick darkness and earlier that same day the soldiers were fired at by anti tank missiles".

Last month a judge ruled that the soldier accused of discharging his weapon at the time of the incident could not be proved beyond doubt to have killed Mr Miller.

'Outrage'

Relatives expressed "outrage" and accused the Israeli investigative and legal system of "failing to deliver".

Mr Miller's sister Anne said the family would seek a judicial review of the decision not to prosecute and issue a civil action for wrongful killing.

I was very shocked and saddened
Baroness Symons
UK Foreign Office minister

British Foreign Office Minister Baroness Symons said she would be meeting the Israeli Ambassador on Monday and would discuss the matter with him.

"I was very shocked and saddened to hear that the disciplinary proceedings that followed the Israel Defence Forces investigation into James Miller's death have ended this way," she said.

Mr Miller's wife, Sophy, called on Lady Symons to put pressure on the Israeli government for a criminal indictment of the officer.

"I would urge her to ask the Advocate General to reconsider his decision and indict that key officer who fired at the time James was killed, in the direction of the house of a journalist from which James was exiting, and has admitted to all this, to indict him for killing James."


SEE ALSO:
Cameraman's widow tells of fight
02 May 04 |  Middle East
Cameraman 'shot in front'
08 May 03 |  Middle East


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