UN: Israel's Imprisonment of a Palestinian Child is Arbitrary

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06 November 2016

After Addameer’s submitted an appeal to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, the latter has declared that Israel’s imprisonment of a Palestinian child without charge or trial constitutes arbitrary detention.

The Working Group issued 21opinions on 3 November 2016, one of them highlighted the case of 16-year-old H.H form Ramallah, who was detained without charge or trial in February of this year, with his administrative detention renewed by the occupation authorities three different times. The Israeli government was asked on 16 June by the Working Group to address the case, but never replied.

According to the Working Group, Israel’s “non-observance of the international norms relating to the right to a fair trial and to liberty and security…in this case is of such gravity as to give the deprivation of liberty of the minor an arbitrary character.”

On 9 March, a military judge confirmed the detention order but reduced it to four months, claiming that the child posed a “threat to the security of the State”. On 24 June, the detention order was extended for a further four months. Hammad’s legal counsel has not been “permitted to see any of the alleged evidence against the minor and had no means of effectively challenging his detention.”

In its debate, the Working Group noted that while Article 78 of the Fourth Geneva Convention permits an Occupying Power to use administrative detention , such a measure may not be used purely for “interrogation or intelligence gathering”. Nor can it be “used to circumvent the procedural rights of a person suspected in committing a criminal offence.”

The Working Group also affirmed its agreement with the International Committee of the Red Cross, in that “the review of lawfulness of internment must be carried out by an independent and impartial body.” Israeli military tribunals, however, “are not independent and impartial”, consisting “of military personnel who are subject to military discipline and dependent on superiors for promotion.”

The full report can be found here.