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Israeli-Style Justice

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Israeli-Style Justice - by Stephen Lendman

Israeli military tribunals judge Palestinians guilty by accusation.

Accused Israelis face charges in civil courts. Military tribunals try Palestinians. Virtually everyone is guilty by accusation. A new study says so. More on that below.

In April 2008, the Addamer Prisoners Support and Human Rights Association published a report titled "Defending Palestinian Prisoners: A Report on the Status of Defense Lawyers in Israeli Courts."

It explained obstacles lawyers representing Palestinians face in court. They're hampered by military orders, Israeli laws, and prison procedures that prevent them from adequately helping clients. They're hamstrung from time of arrests through detentions, interrogations, trials, imprisonments, appeals, and other constraints against justice.

Yet international law is clear and unequivocal. Article 2, section 3(b)(c) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) states:

....(P)ersons "shall have (the) right (to effective remedy through a) competent judicial, administrative or legislative (authority), or by any other competent authority provided for the legal system of the State (to) ensure that the competent authorities shall enforce (judicial) remed(ies)."

Article 14, section 1 states:

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"All persons shall be equal before the courts and tribunals (and) shall be entitled to a fair and public hearing by a competent, independent and impartial tribunal established by law." They shall "be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law."
 

They're also entitled to competent counsel, private lawyer-client sessions, and confidentiality of oral and written communications between them.

Addameer explained what, in fact, occurs. Palestinians are entirely denied justice. Those accused are judged guilty. Attorneys get to see clients for the first time on hearing days moments ahead of when they begin. No preparation is possible. 

After arrest, Palestinians go first to interrogation centers. They may be held without judicial order for eight days and thereafter indefinitely. Lawyers have no access for up to 90 days, and prisoners have virtually no other outside contact during detention. 

Children young as 10 are treated like adults. Interrogations usually involve torture, intimidation and/or other types of abuse. Rule of law principles don't apply.

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Those charged are imprisoned or detained. Bail virtually never is allowed. Administrative detainees are taken to Israeli prisons for six months after which they're subject to indefinite extensions.

Even learning where clients are held is daunting. One attorney said:

"I feel like they're using these procedures to pressure lawyers like me to quit."

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I was born in 1934, am a retired, progressive small businessman concerned about all the major national and world issues, committed to speak out and write about them.

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