AG Mazuz Lists Legal Options for War Probe

Attorney General Menachem Mazuz yesterday gave Prime Minister Ehud Olmert a list of the possible legal options for investigating the conduct of the war in Lebanon, along with the advantages and disadvantages of each.

However, the Justice Ministry declined to give the document to journalists, saying it was "an internal document meant to advise the prime minister in making a decision."

Among the options listed by Mazuz were the following: a state commission of inquiry; a governmental inquiry commission with subpoena powers, like the Zailer Committee; an investigation by the state comptroller; a parliamentary committee of inquiry, like the one the Knesset established earlier this year to investigate the evacuation of the Amona settlement outpost; an inquiry committee appointed by a minister, like the one headed by former Israel Defense Forces chief of staff Amnon Lipkin-Shahak that Defense Minister Amir Peretz has already established and internal investigations by the various agencies involved, similar to the IDF's operational investigations.

Olmert is expected to make a decision by the end of the week, since on Sunday, the High Court of Justice is slated to hear a petition demanding the establishment of a state commission of inquiry. The state must submit its response to this petition no later than 24 hours before the hearing.

The type of inquiry Olmert approves will determine parameters such as whether the investigative body will have subpoena powers, whether it will be able to warn witnesses that they may be hurt by its conclusions, whether its findings may be used in criminal proceedings, and the scope of its mandate.