Yesh Din’s alternative report to the United Nations Committee Against Torture (UN-CAT) addresses Israel’s violation of its obligations to properly investigate allegations of torture or war crimes. The alternative report was submitted in advance of the UN-CAT s discussion on the 5th periodical report presented by the Israeli Ministry of Justice.

The report is based on Yesh Din’s data and was written in conjunction with the Human Rights Clinic at the Hebrew University’s Faculty of Law. The report emphasizes that Israel avoids creating an effective investigative mechanism which will be capable of conducting prompt and effective investigations into allegations of violations of war crimes, torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.

The Turkel Commission, established following the events of the flotilla to Gaza (the Mavi Marmara) in May 2010, found that “there are grounds for amending the examination and investigation mechanisms and that in several areas there are grounds for changing the accepted policy.” The Turkel Commission also recommended a series of steps in order to ensure Israel is capable of upholding its obligations, known as the Turkel recommendations.

The Ciechanover Commission was charged with suggesting practical steps in order to implement the Turkel Commission’s recommendations. However, the team’s work has set the clock back by refraining from suggesting concrete steps regarding the necessary manpower and budgeting, and in some of its suggestions lack time frames and operative stages. In addition, the Ciechanover Commission avoided advocating the adoption of domestic legislation defining the offenses of war crimes in a manner that conforms with international law.

Yesh Din’s data, obtained from an IDF spokesperson under the Freedom of Information Act, indicated that in 2014 the IDF conducted 229 criminal investigations into cases in which IDF allegedly harmed Palestinians, yet a mere 6 investigations led to an indictment.

The position paper includes several recommendations which will significantly improve the military’s investigative mechanism:

  1. Integration of legislation against torture and war crimes in Israeli domestic law.
  2. Ordering criminal investigations immediately following complaints of torture, inhuman or degrading treatment, followed by a thorough and effective investigation.
  3. Government allocation of financial and appropriate human resources to uphold implementation of these recommendations.