Under a proposed plea bargain in advanced stages of negotiation, retired Brig. Gen. Ofek Buchris would have rape charges dropped and avoid prison by admitting to sexual relations with a woman soldier, in return for a lesser conviction.
The deal would convict Buchris of prohibited sexual relations by consent instead of three counts of rape. He would also be demoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel and receive a suspended sentence.
The deal requires the approval of the Tel Aviv military court where Buchris is standing trial.
Buchris was charged in July with 16 sexual offenses against a woman soldier and a woman officer, who served under his command from 2010 to 2012.
He retired from the IDF after being indicted, though he has denied the charges against him, his lawyer Oded Savoray told the court when the trial began in September.
Heading a panel of judges, Col. Orli Markman had adjourned proceedings until December, saying the parties had agreed to arbitration.
The accusers include A., a soldier who formerly served under Buchris’s command; and L., an officer still in the regular army. In addition to rape he was charged with a count of sodomy, six counts of obscene acts against the soldier, and six counts of obscene acts against the officer.
The crimes were allegedly committed in Buchris’ office, in his military vehicle, on a military base, in his quarters and in several other locations. One of the crimes was allegedly committed after he attained the rank of brigadier general.
Two days after the filing of the indictment, Channel 2 reported that he had admitted to military investigators that he had kissed L., but he said it was not against her will. As a formal matter, he has maintained his innocence with regard to all of the charges.
Once considered one of the IDF’s most promising officers, Buchris once headed a division of the Northern Command and the Golani infantry brigade and had been expected to become the next IDF Operations Divisions chief before the charges surfaced.
Buchris was seriously wounded in Operation Defensive Shield in the West Bank in 2002, and awarded a chief of staff’s citation for his performance as a battalion commander. He most recently served as head of the IDF’s Command and Staff College.
Want to enjoy 'Zen' reading - with no ads and just the article? Subscribe todaySubscribe now