In this data sheet, Yesh Din presents the first ever examination of the work done by thr Military Advocate for Operational Affairs (MAOA), the prosecutorial body within the Israeli military, founded at the end of 2007. The data indicates that MAOA’s processing of cases is so slow that it undermines the likelihood of conducting investigations and issuing indictments against soldiers and officers involved in criminal offenses against Palestinian civilians and their property, some of which are very grave.
The IDF is obligated to maintain the safety and well being of the civilian population in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT). This duty includes maintaining an effective law enforcement system that conducts professional, efficient and independent investigations, and to prosecute soldiers and officers involved in criminal offenses against Palestinian residents when there is evidence of their guilt.
Yesh Din monitored over 130 investigation files that were, as of the publication of the figures, being investigated by the Military Police Criminal Investigations Department (MPCID). Seventy-six of these files are awaiting a decision by the MAOA. The data contains staggering delay rates in the handling of these cases. Among other things, it shows that 30 percent of the files awaited a decision for more than year, and 48 percent were delayed between six months and a year.
The data addresses the speed of decision-making at two critical stages of the law enforcement process: first, whether to launch a criminal investigation following a complaint about alleged offenses in which IDF forces used firearms; and second, whether to issue indictments or close files in investigations of violent incidents where soldiers allegedly committed offenses against Palestinians in the OPT, following MPCID investigations.
The MAOA Squad’s lagging on cases raises genuine suspicion that many cases that could have led to the indictment of those who committed offenses end up closing with no indictments due to the damage to evidence caused by the vast amount of time that passes since the offense was committed.