Sunday, June 30, 2013

FYI: Palestinian Minors Involvement in Terrorism and the Israeli Authorities Legal Framework and Statistics

State of Israel
Ministry of Justice
Unfortunately, there are Palestinian minors who choose to take part in the armed struggle against Israel. For that purpose, they express their willingness to take part in suicide homicidal and other terrorist activities as described below.
Some of these Palestinian youth are recruited by Palestinian terrorist organizations through the promise that they will become martyrs ("shaheed") if they die during terrorist attacks. Most of the minors are recruited in order to commit suicide attacks which require fewer skills than shootings, infiltrations, etc.
Since the early years of the recent upspring (from 2000), the average age of suicide bombers has been gradually declining. In 2009, the most predominant activities characterizing involvement of minors were involvement in suicide bomb attacks, Molotov cocktails throwing, stone throwing and stabbing. During the recent years minors were also involved in grenades throwing, use of explosives, shooting, use of explosive cars, transfer of weapons, kidnapping of a person, rocket launching, as well as assault and murder
The Minority age in the West Bank
In accordance with international law, the Commander of the IDF forces in Judea and Samaria (hereinafter the "military commander") respects, unless absolutely prevented, the laws previously in force in the area under his authority, namely Jordanian law. According to the latter, a person becomes criminally liable at the age of 9. However, Jordanian law stipulates that a child under the age of 12 shall not be considered criminally liable unless it was proven that the child was able to understand the wrongful nature of his/her acts, at the time the crime was allegedly committed

However, please note that the relevant ordinances enacted by the Military Commander further enhance the protection provided to children under the age of 12, by setting the initial criminal liability age at 12, similar to Israeli criminal law. In addition to the identity between the criminal liability age of the Israeli criminal law and the Israeli military law regarding the age at which a minor is considered to be criminally liable, there are no significant differences with respect to the permitted level of penalization. This is as a result of restrictions which are imposed by the military law, as well as the rulings of the military court of appeals.
Minors before Military Courts
The Military Courts, as well as the prosecutorial and legislative systems, guard and protect human rights, including the right to due process, of all those accused, minors and adults alike.
In addition, specific protections are implemented in cases involving minors. These include the provision of legal representation in all cases, even when it is not obligated by law; refraining from exercising the authority to postpone legal counseling; and minimizing the detention period prior to a court hearing. Moreover, each arrest of a minor requires specific preliminary approval by the Chief of Military Prosecution in Judea and Samaria.
Due to limitations prescribed in the applicable Military Order, the level of sentencing of minors in the West Bank is, de facto, similar to that implemented in Israel by the Israeli courts.
On September 29, 2009, a Juvenile Military Court was established in the West Bank, following the July 29, 2009, issuance by the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) commander in the West Bank of the Security Directives Order (Temporary Order) (Amendment No. 109), 5769-2009. This Order was issued towards guarantying adequate and professional care of minors-detainees, while separating them from adult detainees.
This amendment is intended to anchor by law the rights of a minor-defendants, while considering his/her welfare and best interests, and by performing a approximation of laws between the legal situation in the West Bank and those applying in Israel. The amendment includes important practical instructions which are relevant to the legal proceedings concerning minors below the age of 16.
The amendment is defined at this stage as temporary order valid until the end of September 2011. During this period the implementation of the order shall be examined, and its continuation and expansion will be analyzed.
Since the establishment of the Juvenile Military Court and as of June 14, 2007, the proceedings concerning 83 minor were held before the Court, of whom only one under the age of 14.
Number of accused
Illegal stay without a permit
Stone throwing
Production and throwing Molotov cocktails/ bombs
Illegal stay without a permit/ forgery
Traffic Violations
Shooting/attempt to cause death
Membership of prohibited association
Possession and trafficking  in weapons 
Possession of a knife
During 2009, 230 minors, residents of the West Bank, the Gaza strip and residents of Sinai were arrested for involvement in terrorist activity. This figure reveals a significant decrease (45%) in the number of minors arrested in comparison to 2008 (416 minors arrested).  Of the minors arrested in 2009, 85 were at the age of 16 and 123 at the age of 17.
During the first two months of 2010, 32 minors, residents of the West Bank, the Gaza strip and residents of Sinai were arrested for involvement in terrorist activity, all of whom were aged between 16 and 17.
Interrogation of Minors
Following their interrogation, Palestinian minor detainees are transferred to the Israeli Prisons Service (IPS) facilities.
Similar to the interrogation of an adult, the interrogation of minors is conducted according to the law and to procedures of the ISA. Any complaint concerning maltreatment or the use of illegal techniques is examined by the relevant authorities. Moreover, the ISA procedures provide special protection to minors during interrogation. Thus, any action relating to the interrogation of a minor, including the minor's arrest, is subject to the prior approval of the high-rank officials in the ISA and the State's Attorney's Office. The consecutive hours of interrogation are strictly limited and the appropriate amount of sleeping hours is provided. In addition, according to the law, minors are held separately of adults while in the interrogation facilities, as well as in the detention facilities. Moreover, the procedures also obligate that a minor be interrogated only by an interrogator who underwent special designated training.  

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