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Last Updated: Friday, 7 April 2006, 07:58 GMT 08:58 UK
Cameraman killing was 'war crime'
James Miller
James Miller: Israel says soldiers were acting properly
The family of a British cameraman shot dead by Israeli soldiers while working in Gaza says the killing should be treated as a war crime.

James Miller, 34, from Braunton, Devon, was gunned down while making a film about Palestinian children in the Rafah refugee camp in May 2003.

He was trying to ask the soldiers if it was safe to leave the area when he was fatally shot in front of colleagues.

He was murdered, an inquest jury in London decided on Thursday.

During the inquest, Mr Miller's widow Sophy, 35, named the Israeli soldier who shot her husband as First Lieutenant Heib from the Bedouin Desert Reconnaissance Battalion, who was commanding a unit.

He was due to face a disciplinary hearing, but was then acquitted by the head of the army's southern command.

Solicitor Louise Christian, who represents the Miller family, said the killing was "essentially murder of a civilian by a soldier".

'Rules of engagement'

She said technically it was "a war crime" and as such should be prosecuted under the Geneva Conventions Act.

Ms Christian added: "We want the Attorney General to institute proceedings under Section One of the Geneva Conventions Act and we want the foreign secretary to demand his (the perpetrator's) extradition.

"Alternatively, we want the foreign secretary to insist on there being an effective prosecution and investigation in Israel, including looking at soldiers in the command structure above Lieutenant Heib."

The Israeli foreign minister has previously conceded to his British counterpart Jack Straw that the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) was responsible for the death of father-of-two, the inquest heard.

But the admission came with the caveat it was believed the soldiers had been acting under the rules of engagement.

The Israeli Embassy in London said in a statement after the inquest: "After a very thorough investigation using laboratories in Israel and abroad and after reviewing all the available evidence, it was not possible to reach a reliable conclusion that could provide a basis for proceedings under criminal law."

A spokesperson for the attorney general said: "The attorney general has asked to see a full report of the inquest, including the evidence that was given so he may consider the implications of the verdict."

Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, who met the family a month after the murder, has agreed to meet them again.

A family spokesman said: "His office has said with such short notice they have been unable to schedule a meeting, and he won't be able to meet them until the end of April at the earliest.

"There is a willingness there, but no time or date."




BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Cameraman's widow welcomes murder verdict



SEE ALSO:
Soldier cleared of Gaza killing
14 Apr 05 |  Middle East


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