Military Court Watch – Newsletter March 2018

Apr 7, 2018No Comments »

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Web: | Twitter: @MCourtWatch

Newsletter – March 2018

Detention figures

According to the Israeli Prison Service (IPS), as of 28 February 2018 there were 5,890 Palestinians (West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza) held as “security prisoners” in Israeli detention facilities including 356 children (12-17 years). In the case of children there was a 1 percent increase in the number compared with the previous month and an annual increase of 13 percent compared with 2017. These figures include 4 children held in administrative detention. According to the IPS, 51 percent of child detainees were transferred and/or detained inside Israel in violation of Article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention during the month.
More statistics >> 

Reports of ill-treatment at a 5-year high

Based on the latest evidence collected by MCW the percentage of children detained by the Israeli military in the West Bank who report experiencing some form of ill-treatment has reached a 5-year high. Currently 68 percent of children report experiencing ill-treatment following their arrest, up from 60 percent 5-years ago. The types of reported ill-treatment include: punchingslappingkickingbeaten with objects; holding stress positions; and pushed into objects, such as walls and barbed wire. The level of reported abuse has increased by 8 percentage points since UNICEF published its report on the issue in 2013.

UNICEF falls silent 5-years after the release of its child detention report

This month marked 5 years since UNICEF published the report – Children in Israeli Military Detention [pdf] – which concluded that “the ill-treatment of children who come in contact with the military detention system appears to be widespread, systematic and institutionalized throughout the process”. Following the release of the report and its 38 recommendations, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that it would “study the conclusions and work to implement them through on-going cooperation with UNICEF”.

High Court hears petition seeking social welfare reports at remand hearings in the military courts

On 7 March 2018, Israel’s Supreme Court handed down a decision in a petition seeking an order requiring the production of social welfare reports at every remand hearing involving a child in the military courts in the West Bank. The petition sought to address a fundamental shortcoming in the military courts whereby the overwhelming majority of Palestinian children continue to be denied bail and are held in custody on remand pending the conclusion of legal proceedings.

Canada responds to unlawful transfer question

On 8 December 2015, MCW wrote to Canada’s representative in Ramallah concerning Canada’s legal obligations under Article 146 of the Fourth Geneva Convention in relation to Israel’s policy of transferring Palestinian child detainees out of the West Bank in violation of Article 76 of the Convention. On 27 March 2018 Canada’s representative replied stating that “Children’s rights are a top concern of our foreign policy”. However, the reply did not articulate how Canada intends to fulfill its positive legal obligation imposed by Article 146. MCW has also received responses from the UK, US and Norway.

Details emerge of UK offer to provide Israeli military authorities training on child detention

In a recent debate in the UK parliament on the military detention of Palestinian children in the West Bank, the Foreign Office Minister, Alistair Burt, made reference to an offer made to the Israeli government to provide Metropolitan Police training around the detention of children. Based on information provided by the Metropolitan Police, the offer was made by the FCO in 2016 to the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  The FCO proposed that a Metropolitan Police delegation would travel to Israel to hold expert discussions.

A child’s testimony

On 6 February 2018, a 14-year-old boy form Ein as-Sultan was arrested by Israeli soldiers on the street at 6:00 p.m. He reports being interrogated without being informed of his right to silence or his right to consult with a lawyer. “At around 6:00 p.m. I was on my way home with my uncle when we were surrounded by a number of Israeli military jeeps. At the time there were clashes between young people from the refugee camp where I live and Israeli soldiers on Route 90 near the camp. We tried to run away but a soldier caught me. After I was caught a soldier beat me on the shoulder with the back of his gun.” 

Source: Military Court Watch, Newsletter, Mar. 2018 >>

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