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Friday, December 1, 2006

[Israel] High Court nixes Lebanon war probe petition

Last update - 09:32 01/12/2006

High Court nixes Lebanon war probe petition
By Yuval Yoaz, Haaretz Correspondent, and Haaretz Service

The government-appointed Winograd committee investigating the handling of the
Lebanon war will not be replaced by a state commission of inquiry, the High
Court of Justice ruled Thursday.

The High Court rejected a petition submitted by the Movement for Quality
Government in a 4-3 ruling. The organization said Friday it would request an
additional hearing on the matter, Israel Radio reported.

The judgment is considered a green light for the Winograd committee to proceed
in its investigation, signaling that all legal obstacles have been removed.

Nonetheless, the justices criticized the government's decision to appoint the
Winograd committee.

"The High Court's refraining from intervening in [the committee appointment]
does not indicate its contentment with the way in which the government made
the decision, nor does it give its seal of public approval for appointing the
committee," the justices wrote.

Justices Eliezer Rivlin, Asher Grunis, Salim Joubran and Esther Hayut voted to
reject the petition, just outnumbering the three justices in the minority:
Ayala Procaccia, Miriam Naor and Elyakim Rubenstein. All three justices who
voted in favor of the petition were members of the original panel that first
heard the petition two months ago.

Procaccia lashed out at the government's decision, writing that "my conclusion
is that there was a flaw in how the inquiry committee was appointed to
investigate events in Lebanon."

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