HCJ 4333/07 Yesh Din Volunteers for Human Rights V Military Courts Unit in Judea and Samaria

Petition Submission Date: 16.5.2007

Petition Description: As part of Yesh Din’s monitoring of military courts in the West Bank, the organization requested that the IDF provide protocols from court martial hearings. Despite repeated requests, the IDF refused to accede the request to provide protocols of non-confidential hearings.

Yesh Din was thus forced to petition the High Court to demand access to court protocols as well as the daily hearings. The petition stated that these were open-door hearings and stressed that these are public, that the petitioner has the right to freedom of expression and the public right to freedom of information.

The petition was filed after Yesh Din volunteers reached the conclusion that without a protocol and a list of hearings held that day in court, there is no way to effectively monitor them, among other things, since many details appear in the protocol but are not mentioned during the hearing itself. Inter alia, these details include the case number, the identities of the parties, whether the accused is a minor or an adult, etc. The petition specified a series of High Court decisions and international decisions regarding the essential need for transparency of court hearings.

In July 2007, the State Attorney notified the Court that it decided to “adopt Israeli law in the military courts with regard to access and duplication of hearing protocols and the daily hearings list,” which rendered the petition unnecessary. Following the State’s notice, the Court instructed the State to pay Yesh Din 4,000 NIS in expenses, since the petition was justified and was filed after “waiting six months, during which the request was initially refused, and then was not provided with a concrete response.”

Petition Status: Petition was dismissed