Failure to investigate alleged cases of ill-treatment and torture

Published: 
1 Jan 2011

From the beginning of 2001 to the end of March 2011, more than seven hundred complaints alleging ISA abuse of interrogees have been filed with the State Attorney's Office. The State Attorney's Office did not order a criminal investigation into any of the complaints.

The State Attorney's Office bases its decision on the findings made by the Inspector of Complaints by ISA Interrogees (the Complaints Inspector), who is an ISA agent and subordinate to the head of the ISA. With the Complaints Inspector lacking independence and objectivity, it is not surprising that, in most cases, the inspector determines that the complaint is not true.

In the few cases in which the Complaints Inspector found that ISA agents abused an interrogee, the State Attorney's Office decided to close the file without ordering a criminal investigation, this on the tendentious grounds that the High Court established, whereby in “ticking bomb” cases the ISA interrogator may escape criminal responsibility under the “necessity defense.” His interpretation ignores the High Court's holding that this defense applies only with respect to an act that is “the result of an improvisation given the unpredictable character of the events,” and not the product of a calculated decision approved beforehand, as is the case.

The flaws in the “interrogation” described leads to the conclusion that the State of Israel breaches its obligation under international law to investigate allegations of torture and, where the findings dictate, prosecute the perpetrators. Furthermore, this mechanism transmits a message to interrogees, the potential complainants, that the chance of measures being taken against the persons responsible is zero.