MCW’s work is guided by the basic principle that children detained by the Israeli military authorities are entitled to all the rights and protections guaranteed under international law. Further, and in accordance with the principle that no State is permitted to discriminate between those over whom it exercises penal jurisdiction, there is no legal justification for treating Palestinian and Israeli children differently under Israel’s military and civilian legal systems.
In accordance with these principles, MCW advocates, and where appropriate, litigates, to ensure that all children that come in contact with the military legal system are treated with equality and in accordance with the law. Without considering the legality or desirability of prosecuting children in military courts, the adoption of these principles would include the following safeguards:
- Children should not be arrested at night;
- Children should be properly informed of their right to silence;
- Children should never be blindfolded, hooded or painfully restrained;
- Children should never be subjected to violent, threatening or coercive conduct;
- Children must be able to consult with a lawyer prior to interrogation;
- Children should have a parent or guardian present prior to and during their interrogation;
- All interrogations should be audio-visually recorded;
- No child should be transferred out of the West Bank in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
In order to assess to what extent children are being denied their legitimate legal rights, MCW monitors their treatment from the moment of arrest until final release. This process involves the collection of testimonies from affected children and their families, as well as assessing developments within the military legal system.