Military Order 1818 - Discretion to order social welfare reports for remand hearings
[3 October 2019] – Following a Supreme Court petition filed in 2017, the Israeli military commander in the West Bank has issued a new military order giving military judges the discretion to require the production of social welfare reports at remand hearings for Palestinian children indicted in military courts. The purpose of these reports is to assist the court in deciding whether or not to release a child on bail, and under what conditions.
The petition sought to address a fundamental shortcoming in the military courts whereby the overwhelming majority of Palestinian children are denied bail and held in custody on remand pending the conclusion of legal proceedings.
While there was no provision under Israeli military law for the production of social welfare reports at remand hearings, Israel’s civilian juvenile justice system mandates the production of such reports in every case, including those involving Israeli children living in West Bank settlements.
Military Order 1818 now gives Israeli military judges a discretion to order social welfare reports (“detention report”) for “special reasons” in cases involving Palestinian children in the West Bank. In cases where a detention report is ordered, the task of producing the report is given to a Welfare Officer associated with the military authorities (“Civil Administration”) or “any official appointed by the latter for this purpose”. Currently there is one, non-Arabic speaking Welfare Officer appointed for this purpose.
Military Order 1818 comes into effect on 10 October 2019. At the time of writing MCW has been unable to locate a copy of the order in Arabic on the military’s official website.
According to official data
, 72 percent of Palestinian children indicted in the military courts in 2015 were denied bail and held on remand until the conclusion of legal proceedings. There is no official data currently available for 2016, 2017 or 2018.