Newsletter - October 2021
Detention figures – According to data issued quarterly by the Israeli Prison Service (IPS), as of 30 September 2021, there were 4,467 Palestinians (West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza) held as “security prisoners” in detention facilities including 159 children (12-17 years). In the case of children there was a 1% increase in the number compared with the previous month and an annual decrease of 8% compared with 2020. Six children were held in administrative detention. According to the IPS, 65% of child detainees were forcibly transferred and/or unlawfully detained in Israel in 2021 in violation of Article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention and Article 8 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. More statistics
900 testimonies confirm UNICEF's finding of widespread abuse -
In October MCW collected its 900th testimony
from a child detained by the Israeli military in the West Bank. This body of evidence collected between 2013 and 2021 tends to confirm UNICEF's 2013 conclusion
that "the ill-treatment of children who come in contact with the [Israeli] military detention system appears to be widespread, systematic and institutionalized throughout the process". This body of evidence can be analyzed under three broad categories: arrest, transfer and interrogation. While it is generally accepted that without accountability there can be no rule of law, a number of prominent democracies continue to actively block legal redress arising from these issues. Read more
Military courts continue to undermine the "rules-based order" -
As of 19 October 2021, Israeli military officials continue to distribute a briefing paper
regarding the legal framework supporting the prosecution of Palestinian civilian adults and children from the West Bank in military courts - a practice that has operated continuously since 7 June 1967. The briefing paper specifically cites Article 66 of the Fourth Geneva Convention as the legal justification for the military courts, while at the same time, the Israeli government rejects the application of the Convention when seeking to justify settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Cherry-picking legal obligations to suit interests has the tendency to undermine confidence in a "rules-based order" and jeopardizes its long-term viability.
Israel police use dubious ways to get confessions, report finds -
Interrogators in Israel are allowed to lie to suspects in order to extract confessions of guilt, an examination method forbidden in most democracies. Israel Police interrogation methods increase the chance of obtaining false confessions and convicting innocent people, a report obtained by Haaretz shows. According to the report compiled by Israeli academic researchers who insisted on remaining anonymous, Israel and the United States are the only states among the 10 democracies examined in which interrogators lie to suspects to try to make them confess to crimes. Interrogators in Israel
are allowed to lie to suspects about testimony, recordings, fingerprints and video clips. They are forbidden only to show the suspects false documents. Haaretz
A child's testimony -
On 2 June 2021, a 17-year-old minor from Beit Fajjar was arrested by Israeli soldiers at 4:30 a.m. He reports being interrogated several times without always being informed of his legal rights prior to each interrogation. "I woke up to the sound of loud banging at our front door. It was at around 4:30 a.m. I opened the door and about 10 Israeli soldiers entered our home. They asked for our telephones and identity cards. Then they searched around the house. After the soldiers searched our home they said they wanted to take me for a short while and would bring me back soon. A soldier gave my mother a document written in Hebrew which she did not understand. The soldiers remained in the house for about 15 minutes." Read more
The IPS did not provide comprehensive data on the location of child detainees in the third quarter - 65% represents the average number of child detainees transferred out of the West Bank during the first two quarters, as provided by the IPS.