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Israel attorney general offers legal options for war conduct inquiry

[JURIST] Israeli Attorney General Menachem Mazuz [official profile] on Tuesday sent Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert [official website] a memo detailing the pros and cons of all possible legal methods the government may use to investigate the country's conduct in the Middle East conflict [JURIST news archive]. The memo, which was not released to the press, lists at least five options, the most serious of which is a state commission of inquiry. Olmert has opposed a state commission [Haaretz report] because Israeli law strictly regulates state commission procedure, leaving Olmert scant flexibility in conducting the investigation. Other alternatives proposed by Mazuz include a governmental inquiry commission with subpoena powers, a parliamentary commission of inquiry, or an inquiry committee appointed by a minister, all of which carry less weight than a state commission. Mazuz also approved the legality of the state comptroller [official website] investigation that was launched [AFP report] on Monday, which enjoys majority support from the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee [Haaretz report].

Public opposition to Israeli tactics has grown in recent weeks, as IDF soldiers returning from the frontlines have circulated petitions [text] opposing Israeli tactics. Complaints of possible war crimes violations have been voiced by others, including the Prime Minister of Lebanon, the UN Security Council, the UN Human Rights Council, Human Rights Watch, and Amnesty International [JURIST reports]. Haaretz has more.

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