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Developments
Event
Date
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Filing complaints May 2016 Israeli rights group B'Tselem announces that after 25 years it will no longer refer complaints to the military's law enforcement mechanisms due to a lack of confidence in the system. Evidence compiled by Israeli rights group Yesh Din confirms that complaints filed on behalf of Palestinians arising out of complaints against the military, police and settlers in the West Bank have almost no prospects of success.
UK lawyers' delegation cancelled

February 2016

A follow-up visit by a delegation of prominent UK lawyers funded by the Foreign Office was cancelled following a lack of co-operation by Israeli civilian and military authorities. In 2012 a delegation of prominent UK lawyers published the report - Children in Military Custody. The Foreign Office funded report found a number of violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Administrative detention October 2015 The Israeli  military commander in the West Bank  commenced issuing administrative detention orders for minors following a four-year hiatus. Administrative detention orders are issued by a miltiary commander for up to six months with indefinite renewals and provide for detention without charge or trial. The UN Committee Against Torture has criticised the military's use of this procedure which in certain circumstances can amount to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. 

MO 1754

(Heb) (Eng)

June 2015 Military Order 1754 purports to apply part of Israel's civilian penal code to Palestinians living in the West Bank.
Military Order 1754 incorporates general parts of the Israeli civilian Penal Law into military law. It includes definitions of parties to an offence such as accomplices as well as adopting general principles such as: the best interpretation for the defendant; and a burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Although the order is unlikely to have a significant impact in practice it does provide clarity regarding certain definitions and principles. 
Pilot scheme to use summonses to limit night arrests resumes March 2015 Evidence indicates that the pilot scheme to issue summonses resumed in or about March 2015 after a 5 month suspension. Evidence collected by MCW indicates that summonses were used in about 10 per cent of cases in 2015. In many of these cases the summonses were delivered by the military after midnight.

Procedures for parents to accompany children during interrogation (Eng)

November 2014 There are no military regulations covering this issue. The military authorities concede that there is a discretion (but no legal requirement) to allow parents to accompany a child during interrogation. However, according to evidence collected by MCW this discretion  is currently being exercised in favour of accompanyment in just 3 per cent of cases. In a further 11 per cent of cases, parents have been permitted inside the interrogation centre but not inside the interrogation room.
Pilot scheme to use summonses to limit night arrests suspended September 2014 In February 2015, the Foreign Minister of the Netherlands reported to Parliament that Israel's Military Prosecutor in the West Bank advised that the pilot scheme has been suspended (date unspecified) due to an "escalation in violence". The scheme appears to have operated between April and September 2014. The military has advised that it intends to "resume and expand" the scheme. The Foreign Minister also advised that no statistics were kept whilst the pilot scheme was in operation calling into question the bona fides of the programme. Evidence collected by MCW during the operation of the scheme suggests a 7 per cent reduction in the number of children arrested at night but in 67 per cent of cases the summonses were delivered by the military after midnight.
MO 1745
(Heb) (Arb) (Eng)
September 2014 This order amends MO 1651 and provides for the audio visual recording of interrogations involving minors in the case of "non security" offences. The order also stipulates that interrogations should be conducted in the language of the accused. This order does not apply to "security offences" including throwing stones or organising an unauthorised protest. "Security offences" account for approximately 88 per cent of cases involving minors. In 71 per cent of cases Palestinian children continue to report being shown documentation written in Hebrew during interrogation.
Social welfare reports used in remand hearings June 2014 The Military Appeals Court rejected the proscution's argument that the court had no authority to order the pre-trial assessment of minors by a social worker. The Attorney General stated that the military law should be amended to reflect this position but so far the Military Advocate General has refused to say whether there will be an amendment. It should be noted that the obligation to produce a social welfare report still falls on the defendant.
Unlawful discrimination April 2014 Ministry of Palestinian Prisoners v Minister of Defence The appellants argued that applying different time periods under which an accused person must be brought before a judge depending on whether that persons in Palestinian (subject to military law) or an Israeli settler (subject to civilian law) violates both international and Israeli law on discrimination. In largely dismissing the appeal, the High Court held that the differences were "reasonable and proportional" in the circumstances.
Pilot scheme to use summonses to limit night arrests February 2014 Announcement of a pilot scheme to issue summonses in lieu of night arrests to be tested in the Hebron and Nablus districts. In February 2014, MCW raised concerns about the lack of transparency in the way the proposed pilot scheme to issue summonses was proceeding.
Data gathering exercise January 2014 UNICEF reports that the Military Prosecutor in the West Bank initiated a Government data gathering exercise on the number of children arrested and detained in the West Bank in 2013. This exercise appears to be limited to 2013 as no data has been publicly released by the military authorities relating to the number of children detained in the West Bank in 2014.
Notification of legal rights December 2013 UNICEF reports that the Israeli police started using a revised Arabic text to notify children arrested for alleged security offences of their rights, including the right to remain silent and the right to legal counsel. According to UNICEF the revised text still requires final endorsement by the Ministry of Justice.  MCW has seen no evidence to indicate that any child has been informed of his/her legal rights in writing at the time of arrest.
Standard operating procedures for medical checks November 2013 UNICEF reports that it was notified by the Military Prosecutor in the West Bank that army medical staff were reminded of prior standard operating procedures on their medical duties related to children under arrest and detained for interrogation, including the obligation to act upon alleged abuse. MCW is unaware of a single case where army medical staff reported an act of abuse. In one case documented by MCW the alleged abuse actually took place in the presence of the doctor.
MO 1726
(Heb) (Arb) (Eng)
 October 2013
This order amends MO 1651 and reduces the time a minor can be held on remand between review hearings after an initial 15-day period. The time between each subsequent review by a military judge has been reduced from 30 to 10 days. After a cumulative period of 40 days, a Military Appeals Court judge can extend remand every 90 days.
The amendment does not reduce the total period of time a minor can be held on remand prior to indictment but increases the frequency of judicial review. The new time limit is still significantly longer than the time period applied to Israeli children living in the West Bank.
Remand hearings June 2013 UNICEF reports that it has been informed by the Military Prosecutor that remand hearings for children will be held separately from adults as a result of a verbal agreement between the prosecution and judges. MCW can confirm that remand hearings for children are being held separately from adults in the overwhelming majority of cases.
 June 2013
Ministry of Justice announces that complaints against ISA interrogators will no longer be investigated by ISA employees.
Since 2001, over 750 complaints have been filed against ISA interrogators alleging ill-treatment and torture without a single criminal investigation being conducted. It is too early to say whether this development will lead to genuine accountability.

Regulations for arresting minors in the West Bank

(Heb) (Eng)

May 2013 UNICEF reports that the Military Advisor for the West Bank issued a letter reminding all units of existing standard operating procedures and policies in relation to the arrest of children including a prohibition on physical and verbal violence. Recent evidence collected by UNICEF and MCW indicates that these standard operating procedures are still being largely ignored.
Notification upon arrest April  2013 UNICEF reports that the Israeli military introduced a form, printed in both Hebrew and Arabic, which has to be given to parents when a child is arrested at home. The form provides parents with information on the reasons for the arrest and where the child will be taken. As of April 2015, evidence collected by MCW indicates that these forms were not provided in 45 per cent of cases in which children are arrested from home and the individual details are sometimes being filled out in Hebrew without Arabic translation.
 
MO 1711
(Heb) (Arb)
 
 April 2013
 
This order makes a number of amendments to MO 1651 (and MO 1685) including:
  • Reducing the time period in which some children must be brought before a military judge following arrest. Under this amendment the new time periods are as follows:
12-13 years - 24 hours
14-15 years - 48 hours
16-17 years - 4 days
  • These new time periods can be doubled in "special circumstances".
     

  • Reducing the maximum period of detention between being charged and conclusion of trial for minors from 18 months down to one year.
 
  • No explanation has been given as to why these new time limits are still twice as long (or more) as the time required to bring an Israeli child before a judge following arrest. Further, research indicates that the first 12 hours following arrest is critical and when most children are interrogated, often under coercive circumstances. MO 1711 provides no additional protection during this critical timeframe.
  • The maximum period of detention between being charged and conclusion of trial is still twice as long as is permitted under the Israeli civilian legal system (one year compared with six months).
Translation February 2013 The Israeli Supreme Court, sitting as the High Court of Justice, delivered a judgment in Khaled el-Arej v Head of the Central Command in which it ruled that all indictments in the military courts must now be translated into Arabic. The subsequent amendment to the military law introduced to reflect the Court's decision allows for the right to have the indictment in Arabic to be waived by the defendant. The Court did not rule on whether interrogation materials, court transcripts or judgments of the military courts have to be translated into Arabic. The decision in Khaled el-Arej's case has itself not been translated into Arabic, even though Arabic is one of the official languages of the State of Israel.
Translation 2012 In 2012, some military orders were translated into Arabic and made available on the website of the Military Advocate General. As of April 2015, Military Order 1754 is  only officially available in Hebrew.
 
 
MO 1694 
(Heb)
 
 
 
August 2012
 
This order amends MO 1651 (and MO 1685) and reduces the period of time in which adults and children must be brought before a military judge following arrest. The new order reduces the time period from 8 down to 4 days.
No explanation has been given as to why the new time limit is still considerably longer than the time required to bring an Israeli child before a judge following arrest. Under Israeli civilian law which is applied to Israeli children living in the settlements, children aged 12-13 must be brought before a judge within 12 hours following arrest, and 24 hours in the case of older children. Further, research indicates that the first 12 hours following arrest is critical and when most children are interrogated, often under coercive circumstances. MO 1685 provides no additional protection during this critical time frame.
 
MO 1676
(Eng)
 
September 2011
This order introduces a number of amendments relevant to the treatment of children:
 
  • Children aged 16 and 17 years must now be tried before a military juvenile judge, as is the case with younger children.
  • Israeli police officers must now inform a child’s parents as soon as possible after the child has been brought to a police station, that the child is being detained. However, in circumstances where the child is suspected of a “security offence” the notice requirement can be delayed for up to 8 hours.
  • Israeli police officers must now inform a detained child that he has the right to consult with a lawyer and the police must also contact the lawyer named by the child.    
  • This amendment largely reflects existing practice. However, the amendment does not apply to provisions relating to arrest, detention, interrogation and sentencing where the age of majority is still 16.
     
  • This amendment only applies to the Israeli police and not the army, being the body that conducts the overwhelming majority of arrests in the West Bank. After conducting an arrest the army will continue to have custody of the child for many hours and sometimes days before he is handed over to the police. Further, although the police are now required to notify parents within 8 hours of the child being brought to a police station, parents still have no right to accompany their child when he is being interrogated – a right afforded to Israeli parents in most cases.
  • This amendment assumes that a child will know the name of a lawyer and also fails to stipulate when the consultation must occur. In practice very few children consult with a lawyer prior to being questioned and are rarely informed of their rights.
 
MO 1651
(Eng)
 
 May 2010
This order consolidates a number of existing military orders and includes the military criminal code and rules of practice and procedure. This order includes:
  • A list of offences;
  • A sectionon administrative detention;
  • A section on the military juvenile court; and
  • Provisions for evidence, practice and procedure.
-
Regulations for the use of hand ties
March 2010
The Office of the Israeli Military Advocate General announced that new procedures for the use of hand ties had been established following numerous complaints of pain and injury arising out of the use of single plastic ties. The new procedures are as follows:
  • Hands should be tied in front unless security considerations require tying from behind;
  • Three plastic ties should be used, one around each writs with one connecting the two;
  • There should be a finger space between the ties and each wrist;
  • The restraints should avoid causing suffering as much as possible; and
  • The officer in charge is responsible for ensuring compliance with these procedures.
As of April 2015, evidence collected by MCW indicates that 97 per cent of children continue to be restrained upon arrest and in 73 per cent of cases where plastic ties were used, the military regulations for their use were not followed.
 
MO 1644 
(Eng)
 
September 2009
This order establishes a military juvenile court. Under the order children should generally be tried and detained separately from adults. Judges for the juvenile court are appointed from the ranks of existing military court judges and must have received “appropriate training”. The juvenile courts now also have the power to direct that a social welfare report be prepared in order to inform the court as to the appropriate course of action in relation to the child.
The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child has expressed concern at this attempt to 'incorporate juvenile justice standards within military courts' and recommended that children should never be prosecuted in military courts. Further, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers stated that: 'the exercise of jurisdiction by a military court over civilians not performing military tasks is normally inconsistent with the fair, impartial and independent administration of justice. This should more evidently apply in the case of children.'
Education
1997
 
Mohammad Frehat
v
Israel Prison Service
The Israeli District Court  ruled that Palestinian child detainees are entitled to the same level of education as their Israeli counterparts in prison, “subject to security”. Subject to security has subsequently been interpreted by the prison authorities to prohibit teaching Palestinian children history, geography and the sciences whilst in Israeli custody.