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General News    H4'ed 5/6/15

The Kabbalist and AG Loretta Lynch

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There is no doubt that a court, which is administered through an IT system, which permits the judges to maintain double-books, or to enter false, or vague and ambiguous data, would be deemed an incompetent court.

The Request to Inspect, filed today, is part of an ongoing academic study of IT systems of the Israeli courts and the administration of public access to court records. Public access to court records in Israel has undergone a revolution over the past decade. According to the new Regulations of the Courts -- Inspection of Court Files, public access is permitted to all court decisions and judgment records, which are not lawfully sealed. As shown here, that is not the case .

The 2009 Judgment of the Supreme Court, following a 12 year long petition by the Civil Rights Association in Israel, declared public access to court records a fundamental principle of any democratic regime, and a "constitutional right" (in the US it is part of the First Amendment). The Judgment also described conditions, where public access to such records is purportedly granted on a routine basis online in Net-HaMishpat. The Judgment also repeated the Association's arguments that such access is required for the maintaining public trust in integrity of the judicial process.

Public access to court records, particularly in criminal prosecutions, is also a fundamental Human Right -- part of the right for a fair, public hearing. Based on hundreds of years of experience, public access to court records is the most effective and indispensable way to safeguard the integrity of judges and attorneys.

Review of numerous cases in the Israeli courts shows that conditions in Israel today are far from what is described in the 2009 Judgment. Moreover, the posting of false, or unreliable records and data in IT systems of the courts void the right of public access to court records of any content.

The lack of integrity in the Israeli courts today is in part related to undermining the office of Chief Clerk of the court. The old Regulations of the Courts -- Office of the Clerk, promulgated in 1936 (under the British Mandate), explicitly stated the duty of the Chief Clerks of the courts for the "excellent maintenance" of court records and court books (in the US, The Judiciary Act of 1789 requires that the Clerk of the Court take an oath of office to "truly and faithfully enter and record all the orders, decrees, judgments and proceedings..."). In contrast, the new regulations, promulgated in 2004, are missing such language. Moreover, in recent years, requests pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, unveiled that none of the individuals in the various courts, who go by the title of "Chief Clerk", holds a lawful appointment record as "Chief Clerk". A court, where the Chief Clerk holds no lawful appointment record, and is not bound by the duty for honest maintenance of the court's records and books, is surely an incompetent court.

In fact, Israeli judges today enter and list their own decisions and calendars in Net-HaMishpat in an arbitrary and capricious manner, with no oversight by the office of the Chief Clerk of the court. With it, judges have also been repeatedly caught falsifying and fabricating court records.

Denial of public access to court records in Israel is inherent to fraud in the entry and maintenance of honest court records, as shown in the Pinto prosecution and numerous other cases, particularly in cases pertaining to government corruption. A prime example is the criminal prosecution of former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, which was conducted in the Tel-Aviv District Court as well. [xiii]

The Professional Staff Report of the UN Human Rights Council for the Universal Periodic Review of Human Rights in Israel (2013) states, "lack of integrity in the electronic record systems of the Supreme Court, the district courts and the detainees' courts in Israel". An academic paper, which was accepted for publication, subject to international, anonymous peer-review in the European Conference on Electronic Government (ECEG 2015), says, "Fraudulent new IT systems in the Israeli courts -- unannounced regime change?" [xiv]

Under conditions, which have been established in the Israeli courts over the past decade, the public has no way to ascertain what a person was indicted on, what a person was convicted of, what his sentence is, and whether a person is held in prison pursuant to lawfully executed judicial records. Such conditions are typical of tribunals of a military dictatorship, but are inconsistent with the courts of a civil society.

Prohibition of Publication Decree

The secretive, perverted process in the Tel-Aviv District Court goes hand in hand with an earlier Prohibition of Publication Decree in this case.

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Figure: Closed doors, sealed, ex parte "Prohibition of Publication Decree", granted by the Jerusalem Magistrate Court in December 2013 at the request of the Department for Police Investigations of the Israeli Ministry of Justice. The Decree gagged any publication regarding the embarrassing case of bribing of Israel Police top brass by Pinto, including any publication of existence of the Decree itself.

The Israeli courts also routinely issue publication prohibition decrees in cases that are embarrassing to government. That was also the case in the Pinto affair. Moreover, the publication prohibition decree in this case also prohibited the publication of the existence of the decree itself... [xv]

In the US, such publication prohibition decree would be deemed "prior restraint", and a blatant violation of Free Speech and Freedom of the Press.

Relationship between the Israeli corrupt justice system and Israeli media is tangled. Israeli media in part expose corruption, but often stop short of exposing corruption of the courts. It is unlikely that Israeli top legal reporters, who covered the Pinto and the Olmert prosecutions never noticed the corrupt court records in this case.

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Dr Zernik's core research pertains to e-government and its significance for Human Rights and Civil Society.

His work won appreciation in Israel and abroad: * Prof Uzzi Ornan - "All power to you! I hope that you see your tremendous efforts (more...)
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