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Israel High Court demands state explain government inquiry into war conduct

[JURIST] Israel's High Court Thursday gave the state five days to explain why it appointed government officials to investigate [JURIST report] its handling of the recent Hezbollah conflict [JURIST news archive] rather than establish an independent inquiry committee. The Movement for Quality Government in Israel [advocacy website] last week called on the High Court to intervene as part of its campaign for a full independent inquiry [press release] into Israel's conduct of the war.

Critics say the government committee led by retired judge Eliyahu Winograd will only hide the government's shortcomings during the 34-day confrontation that ended with a ceasefire August 14. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert [official website; speech transcript], however, has said that the country needs a professional inquiry, not a political solution. Israel has been heavily criticized for its conduct during the conflict, which resulted in the deaths of more than 1,200 people, mostly civilians. Questions have been raised about the country's military preparedness, its operational strategy, and the legal policy behind some of its targeting decisions. AFP has more.

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