Two UN rapporteurs condemn the lack of fair trials in the West Bank

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, Margaret Satterthwaite, and the Special Rapporteur on human rights in the occupied Palestinian territory, Francesca Albanese, condemned the absence of fair trials in the occupied West Bank, where the rights of Palestinians have been violated for 57 years.

A joint press release issued by them today indicated that the Israeli military commander issued three declarations related to military authority in the executive, security, public order and judicial fields in the occupied West Bank, adding that “those provisions were later amended to become a military order to establish military courts.”

They added: “In the occupied West Bank, the duties of police, investigator, prosecutor and judge are assigned to the same hierarchical institution – the Israeli army.”

They explained that the military order sets out vague procedural instructions and broad powers for military forces to manage procedures, noting that the military regime has wor
ked to control many aspects of daily life for Palestinians, including public health, education, and land and property law, and criminalizes many forms of political expression, culture, association, movement, peaceful protest, traffic violations, and other acts that can be seen as a means of opposing the occupation and its policies.

According to the experts, ‘this translates into a situation in which military judges in military courts continually provide legal and judicial cover for acts of torture and cruel and degrading treatment carried out by their colleagues in the armed forces and intelligence services against Palestinian detainees.

‘This also makes defence impossible,’ the UN rapporteurs said in their statement. ‘Guarantees of a fair and public trial, under international standards, include the independence and impartiality of courts, and require that the judicial system not be dependent on the discretionary power of any branch of government, particularly the executive and armed forces,’ the statement
said. ‘The dual court system established in the occupied West Bank, in violation of international law, has reinforced the legitimacy of the occupation and illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory through a draconian military-imposed sanctions regime that is applied only to Palestinians without due process guarantees.’

Source: Maan News Agency