Khiam report finalised
The national report on the Israeli air strike in Lebanon that claimed the life of a Finnish UN observer has been completed. The report was submitted to Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen on Friday 10 November at the Government Palace. Among those present were the Khiam expert group headed by Irma Ertman, Director General of the Legal Department at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.
According to the expert group, a number of written questions were presented on the basis of the Israeli and UN reports. No replies to these questions were received, however. The Israeli and UN reports are logical but not exhaustive. A full and detailed picture of the destruction of Patrol Base Khiam cannot be obtained on the basis of the reports provided. On the basis of the material available, the Khiam expert group has no reason to question Israel’s explanation that the destruction of Patrol Base Khiam resulted from an error. Israel’s report, however, contains elements that give rise to a number of questions on technical military matters.
Prime Minister Vanhanen thanked the expert group for its careful work but stated that the questions posed are still in force. Why, for instance, did the warnings concerning the proximity of fire not reach their destination? Director General Ertman pointed out that the unanswered questions on technical military matters might have shed light on this issue. Both Prime Minister Vanhanen and Director General Ertman said that no additional replies appear to be forthcoming, but that they would return to the matter should additional replies be received. As to why the questions remained unanswered, Lieutenant General Juha Kilpiä said that Israel considers its replies to be exhaustive. Ertman said that criminal proceedings cannot be initiated because it is not possible to name any specific individual who would be responsible for destruction of the patrol base. Moreover, Israel has already decided not to press charges in this case, which prevents criminal proceedings from being launched without new evidence.
The Israeli precision-bomb strike against the Khiam Patrol Base took place on 25 July, during the conflict in Lebanon. Four unarmed military observers serving in UNTSO (the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization) lost their lives in the strike, among them 29-year-old
Lieutenant, Senior Grade Jarno Mäkinen. Israel denies that the strike was intentional and, after submitting its report, has not provided any additional information.