Military Court Watch - Newsletter July 2018

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Web: | Twitter: @MCourtWatch

Newsletter - July 2018

Detention figures

According to the Israeli Prison Service (IPS), as of 30 June 2018 there were 5,667 Palestinians (West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza) held as “security prisoners” in Israeli detention facilities including 273 children (12-17 years). In the case of children there was a 6% decrease in the number compared with the previous month and an annual increase of 1% compared with 2017. These figures include 3 children held in administrative detention. According to the IPS, 54% of child detainees were transferred and/or detained inside Israel in violation of Article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention during the month. Child detention rates are currently up 37% since UNICEF published its child detention report in 2013. 
More statistics >> 

Evidence update

Based on 28 testimonies collected from children detained by the Israeli military in the West Bank in 2018, the situation remains largely unchanged since 2017. More than half of the children (57%) report being arrested at night while the practice of using summonses in lieu of night arrests appears to have been largely discontinued. The majority of children continue to be handtied and blindfolded (86%) while nearly two-thirds (64%) report experiencing physical violence during their arrest, transfer and/or interrogation. While the percentage of children denied their right to silence remains unchanged (82%), there has been an improvement in the percentage of children granted access to lawyers prior to questioning (21% up from 16%). 

UK Government confirms full application of the Fourth Geneva Convention

In response to a question concerning the US State Department’s decision to delete the phrase “Occupied Territories” from its most recent Global Report on Human Rights, the UK Government has stated: “We consider that the level of control that Israel retains over the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza amounts to occupation under international law, Hence Israel’s presence is governed by the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, to which Israel is a state party. The UK is firmly committed to the promotion and protection of human rights and compliance with international law in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.” 

Australian Government’s ambivalence towards rules based international order

While the Australian Government advocates strongly for a “rules based international order” in relation to Russia’s annexation of Crimea and Chinese actions in the South China Sea, its position regarding the application of the Fourth Geneva Convention to the Palestinian territories in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions is ambivalent. In 2014 the Government claimed legal professional privilege rather than confirming the application of the Convention. In 2015 the Government confirmed its application but in 2018 has deemed “hypothetical” a question regarding the transfer of Palestinian children out of the territory in violation of the Convention.

ICC issues decision on outreach for victims in Palestine

On 13 July 2018, the pre-trial chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued a Decision on Information and Outreach for the Victims of the Situation in the State of Palestine. The Chamber ordered, inter alia, the Registry to establish, as soon as practicable, a system of public information and outreach activities for the benefit of the victims and affected communities in the situation in Palestine and report back to the Chamber in compliance with the principles established in the present decision and to create an informative page on the Court’s website, especially directed to the victims in the situation of Palestine. This month also marked the 20th anniversary of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

A child’s testimony

On 30 May 2018, a 15-year-old boy from Bil’in was arrested by Israeli soldiers at 2:30 a.m. He reports not being informed of his right to silence or his right to consult with a lawyer prior to interrogation. “The soldiers took me to the back of the jeep with my father and made me sit on the metal floor. They also wanted my father to sit on the floor but he refused and told them he had back ache. The jeep drove a short distance to a nearby military base where they let my father off and told him to walk home. They gave him a document written in Hebrew which he did not understand. He walked home in the dark for about 2 kilometres. The jeep continued driving to the police station in Binyamin settlement.” 

A soldier’s testimony – “You disrupt their daily life”

In this testimony a former Israeli soldier provides a testimony to Breaking the Silence describing how they would set up a checkpoint in a Palestinian village without understanding why. “It’s problematic that I, as a 19-20-year-old kid, control the lives of so many people, and that I have disproportional authority. And honestly, I'll tell you the truth, I also have no idea what to do with it. I would check people without knowing why I'm doing it. And this whole situation where people are, every day, under this military rule, and their day-to-day lives are determined by it. That's what's problematic. That's what bothers me in the conflict, that's what bothers me in the territories.” 

Source: Military Court Watch, Newsletter, July 2018 >>


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