B’Tselem inquiry: No justification for killing Samir Awad in Budrus



On the morning of Tuesday, 15 January 2013, after his last examination before school’s mid-year break, 16-year-old Samir Awad of the Palestinian village of Budrus, went along with a few friends to the Separation Barrier south-west of Budrus, about 300 meters from the school. B’Tselem Field Research Iyad Hadad gathered testimony from several of the teenagers, one of whom watched from a distance. According to their testimonies, the boys planned to throw stones at military patrols along the fence, as teenagers in the area often do. They said that when they approached the Separation Barrier, they saw that one of its gates was open. Therefore, they thought that soldiers must be nearby and tried to find them. The Separation Barrier is made up of a primary fence and secondary rows of barbed wire around it. The barbed wire is meant to prevent access to the primary fence, but near Budrus there are several openings in the barbed wire. One boy went through a makeshift opening in the first barbed wire fence, saw nothing, and came back out. Awad then went through the opening alone, and continued on to the primary fence.

According to media reports in Hebrew, the initial investigation by the Israeli military found that Awad was shot in contravention of open-fire regulations. The reports also stated that there were contradictions among the soldiers’ versions.

Samir Awad being evacuated from the scene after being shot (Photo: Nasar Mghar)

B’Tselem stresses that the authorities are obligated not merely to open an investigation, but also to ensure that it is timely and effective. The longer the investigation takes, the greater the danger that evidence may be lost and that witnesses’ recollections become less sharp, thereby seriously damaging the principle of the rule of law and the deterrent effect against similar violations.