Military Court Watch – Newsletter April 2018

May 16, 2018No Comments »

Web: | Twitter: @MCourtWatch

Web: | Twitter: @MCourtWatch

Newsletter – April 2018

Detention figures

According to the Israeli Prison Service (IPS), as of 31 March 2018 there were 5,867 Palestinians (West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza) held as “security prisoners” in Israeli detention facilities including 304 children (12-17 years). In the case of children there was a 15% decrease in the number compared with the previous month and an annual increase of 8% compared with 2017. These figures include 3 children held in administrative detention. According to the IPS, 53% of child detainees were unlawfully 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 69% since UNICEF published its child detention report in 2013.
More statistics >> 

US State Department – Human Rights Report

On 20 April 2018, the State Department published its annual global report on human rights for 2017 (the Report). As in previous years the Report highlights human rights violations by multiple actors in the region and considers the treatment of Palestinian children in Israeli military detention. The Report referred to UNICEF’s 2013 conclusion that “the mistreatment of Palestinian children appears to be widespread, systematic and institutionalized” before citing a substantial body of evidence (400 testimonies) collected since 2013 confirming UNICEF’s earlier conclusion. The evidence indicates that 90 percent of children continue to be denied access to a lawyer prior to questioning. 

US State Department drops “Occupied Territories” from report

In a first since the State Department commenced issuing human rights reports in 1999, the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza are no longer referred to as the “Occupied Territories” – an apparent departure from international law and US policy. Meanwhile however the State Department continues to refer to Crimea as “occupied” without explaining why it has used different terminology in respect to the Russian occupation of parts of Ukraine and Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory when there is no relevant legal distinction. Further, for reasons unexplained, a different methodology was applied to the Israel/Palestine report compared with all other country reports. 

A child’s testimony

On 21 April 2018, a 17-year-old youth from Al Arrub refugee camp was arrested by Israeli soldiers at 2:30 a.m. He reports being interrogated without first being informed of his right to silence or his right to consult with a lawyer. He was released without charge on 24 April 2018. “I was asleep on the couch in the front room when I heard very loud banging on our front door. It was around 2:30 a.m. My mother answered the door and about 15 soldiers entered our home and told my mother they were looking for me. The commander told me to get ready because I was under arrest. He did not give my family any documents and did not tell us the reason for my arrest.” 

UK Government possibly breaching Fourth Geneva Convention obligations

In response to a recent parliamentary question concerning whether UK citizens are serving as Israeli military judges in the West Bank which routinely transfer detainees, including children, out of occupied territory in violation of Article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, the Minister for Middle East Affairs responded that: “The Foreign and Commonwealth Office does not hold any information on whether any British or British-Israeli citizens are serving as judges in Israeli military courts.” This response, without further clarification, would appear not to satisfy the positive legal obligations imposed on the UK Government under Articles 146 and 147 of the Convention.

Latest evidence on child detention

Based on 100 testimonies collected from children detained by the Israeli military in the West Bank in 2017, the following findings were made: 6% of children were issued with a summons in lieu of a night-time arrest; 94% of children were hand-tied; 81% of children were blindfolded; 60% of children report experiencing some form of physical violence; 59% of children report being threatened; 84% of children report not being informed of their right to silence; and 82% of children report not consulting with a lawyer prior to questioning. The situation remains unchanged or has deteriorated in nearly two-thirds of the 13 categories monitored by MCW since UNICEF published its detention report in 2013. 
See Comparative Graph–Issues of Concern

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

The Australian Friends of Palestine Association (AFOPA) has long supported the work of Military Court Watch. Your donation ensures their important work can continue.

View blog archive

View blog by TAG

Comments are closed.