Yesh DinVolunteers for Human Rights
Criminal Accountability of Israeli Security Forces
Despite their legal obligations, the reality is that Israeli security forces in the West Bank frequently participate or stand idly by while violence against Palestinians is being committed. Behind this indifference is a pervasive culture of impunity that is maintained by the various Israeli authorities operating in the West Bank.
Most cases of violent crimes against Palestinians not only go unpunished - but often are completely ignored by the authorities. This is a blatant violation of the human rights of Palestinian civilians living in the West Bank and of Israel's duties under International Humanitarian Law.
Even when criminal investigations against soldiers accused of such offences are opened, they almost always fail. According to research carried out by Yesh Din, approximately 94 percent of criminal investigations launched by the IDF against soldiers suspected of criminal violent activity against Palestinians and their property are closed without any indictments. In the rare cases that indictments are served, conviction leads to very light sentencing.
Moreover, Palestinians who attempt to file complaints about crimes committed against them face staggering obstacles in their way. The complete absence of military police stations open to the public in the West Bank, for example, makes it literally impossible for Palestinians to file complaints directly with the military police.
Yesh Din's Approach
Yesh Din works to assist victims of criminal offenses by security personnel, as well as to increase transparency in the IDF and instate accountability of members of the security forces who commit criminal offenses against Palestinian civilians in the Occupied Territories.
On the ground, Yesh Din provides victims with assistance in filing complaints. Once complaints are filed, Yesh Din monitors decisions on launching investigations into those complaints and follows the progress of these investigations.
To achieve wider institutional change on the issue of criminal accountability of security forces personnel, Yesh Din carries out research to identify systematic failures, and enact ongoing programs of legal advocacy by pooling testimonies and evidence.