Violations of the "Youth Law (Adjudication, Punishment and Methods of Treatment) – 1971" by the Israeli Police in East Jerusalem

Originally published


A. Introduction

  1. According to data supplied by the Israel Police, over the past year more than 1,200 Palestinian minors from East Jerusalem have been investigated on suspicion of participating in throwing stones. According to Israel's Youth Law these minors should have enjoyed special protections during their arrest, detention and throughout the investigative process. Nevertheless, in practice, many were denied their rights as minors during said process. Complaints filed by various minors in East Jerusalem point to a lack of police implementation of Israel's Youth Law, which governs the proper treatment of juvenile suspects.

  2. The Youth Law (Adjudication, Punishment and Methods of Treatment) (Amendment 14) 2008 (heretofore “The Law” or “Youth Law”), was designed to ensure that treatment of minor suspects reflects the provisions of the International Convention on the Rights of the Child as well as Israel’s Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty. The Law’s underlying rationale seeks to "protect the rights of the minor, whether suspected or accused of committing a crime, taking into account his yet developing capacities and the overriding principle of protecting the welfare of the child; similarly, the aspiration underlying the law is that the juvenile's delinquency may be reformed by means of appropriate treatment and punishment as detailed in the Law.”

  3. The Law establishes norms and guidelines for the arrest and investigation of minors aimed at bolstering the protection of their rights and ensuring that they are not treated as adults during their detention and interrogation, but rather that their treatment is age-appropriate, taking into consideration their special needs. These norms are intended to guide police treatment of all minors. In practice, however, the police in East Jerusalem make use of the exceptions established by the Youth Law and turn them into the governing norms. As a result, minors in East Jerusalem do not enjoy the protections afforded to them by law. The routine use of the exceptions in the Youth Law in arresting and interrogating minors renders the Law void of content, and reflects the attitude of the police who have not internalized the provisions of the Law.

  4. This document will focus on police violations and deviations from proper implementation of the laws pertaining to the holding and arrest of minors: firstly, Youth Law regulations on interrogation and detention (Chapter III of the Law), secondly National Police Headquarters Ordinance No. 14.01.05 titled "Police Work with Minors”, and thirdly National Police Headquarters Ordinance 14.01.34 titled "Detention, Arrest and Release."