• Reports
  • April 8, 2006
  • 4 minutes read

Three years after the death of James Miller british probe concludes he was murdered

Three years after the death of James Miller british probe concludes he was murdered
Reporters Without Borders said it was “satisfied” by the conclusions of the British investigation into the death of James Miller which concluded he was deliberately murdered by an Israeli soldier in the Gaza Strip three years ago on 2 May 2003.
“Now we are waiting for the Israeli authorities to accept their responsibility in the death of the British journalist and take sanctions against whoever was responsible,” said the press freedom organisation.
Miller, 34, father of two children, aged two and five months at the time, was shot dead while filming in the Rafah refugee camp for a HBO documentary on the impact of the conflict on Palestinian children and residents of the camp. His death came on the 16th and final day of filming.

 “Based on the evidence laid before us, we, the jury, unanimously agree that this was an unlawful shooting with the intention of killing James Miller,” the jury spokesman said at St Pancras Coroner’s Court in London on 6 April 2006.

 “Therefore we can come to no other conclusion than that Mr Miller was indeed murdered.” “It is a fact that from day one of this inquest the Israeli authorities have not been forthcoming in the investigation into the circumstances surrounding his death.” The British investigation found that a first shot was followed 12 to 13 seconds later by the one that killed film-maker James Miller, followed by several more aimed at the house from which the crew of journalists had come out, known as the “Journalists’ House”.

 Detective Inspector Robert Anderson, who headed the investigation, told the inquest, “Israel has been uncooperative with the Metropolitan Police in that they haven’t allowed us access to interview soldiers and witnesses.”

In a statement on 6 April 2006, the Israeli embassy in Britain said it regretted James Miller’s death, but added that after a thorough investigation, “it was not possible to reach a reliable conclusion that could provide a basis for proceedings under criminal law.”
Miller’s widow, Sophy, who gave evidence at the inquest, described it as a “huge relief” that the family had been vindicated in what they had believed for three years.
Members of Miller’s TV crew said they were carrying a white flag and had identified themselves to the Israeli soldiers as British journalists. Miller was wearing a bullet-proof vest, bearing the letters TV so he could clearly be seen to be a journalist.

An autopsy carried out in Israel in the presence of a British doctor established that he had been hit by a bullet from an M-16 assault rifle fired by one of the Israeli soldiers who was in front of him.
However the Israeli army decided in March 2005, after an 18 months investigation, not to proceed against the lieutenant suspected of being responsible for his death, for lack of evidence.

 The lieutenant had been blamed, witnesses said, for “opening fire contrary to the rules of engagement”. However this charge was eventually dropped.

The Israeli Defence Forces confined themselves to expressing their regrets, adding that James Miller had been taking a serious risk by working in this war zone.
General Gai Tzur, head of the chief of staff for southern Israel, covering the Gaza Strip said that “shooting could be justified in such circumstances”. The British government and Miller’s family condemned this decision and launched an appeal.
Miller’s documentary “Death in Gaza”, garnered several prizes, including three Emmy Awards in the United States last September and one at the human rights film festival, One World 2005, in Prague in May 2005.