HCJ 5090/11 Yesh Din Volunteers for Human Rights V State Attorney

Petition Submission Date: 7.7.11

Petition Description: In June 2010, the State Attorney issued a new directive, Regulation 14.8, which significantly narrows the ability of victims of offenses to access investigation files after they have been closed. The regulation determined that in the event that an investigation file is closed due to insufficient evidence, investigative material will not be provided to the victims of the offense due to the theoretical possibility that the investigation file could be opened in the future, and having victims of the offense view it could damage the move to issue an indictment.

The rate of investigation files closed by police due to insufficient evidence stands at 80 percent. The significance of the regulation is that in practice, victims of offenses cannot appeal the large majority of the decisions by the State Attorney to close investigations of their cases. Even though the right to appeal exists, in practice an appeal filed without the victim being able to access the file and find the investigative failures has a very low chance of success. It should be noted that in June 2010, various organizations that assist victims of offenses received investigative materials from the police and the State Attorney in most cases, although there were at times significant delays in conveying the information.

After attempts to reach a compromise with the State Attorney failed, Yesh Din petitioned the High Court together with the Noga Legal Center for Victims of Crime and The Association of Rape Crisis Centers in Israel, demanding the annulment of Regulation 14.8 since it gravely damages the ability of victims of offenses to appeal. “Preventing the duplication of investigative materials,” the petition stated, “renders meaningless the right of the complainant in these cases to appeal the decision to close the file determined in clause 64 of the Criminal Procedure Law, leaving them like a blind man in the dark regarding the motives for the decision the [police commander] reached.”

In its response the State claimed “files that closed on these grounds are borderline files in terms of evidence, and providing the option of viewing them could weaken the weight of the complainant’s testimony during a trial, as well as the weight of the testimony of others connected to him, and as a result could damage the investigation, should the decision be reached to accept the appeal and issue an indictment.”

On 13.12.14 the Court suggested the parties withdraw the petition, on condition the State Attorney allow the victim of the offense to view the file, after signing a document testifying to the fact that he understands that viewing it will diminish the chances that an indictment will be issued. The parties consented and on 20.3.14, the agreement was accepted and granted the status of a court ruling.

Petition Status: The petition ended in a compromise agreement.