Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Administrative Detention

In the wake of the passage of the Military Commissions Act, I became curious about how the new American policy toward detainees compares with that of Israel. Here's what I found:
"In the West Bank, administrative detentions are currently carried out on the basis of Military Order Number 1229, of 1988. This Order empowers military commanders in the West Bank to detain an individual for up to six months if they have 'reasonable grounds to presume that the security of the area or public security require the detention.' Commanders can extend detentions for additional periods of up to six months. The Order does not define a maximum cumulative period of administrative detention, and, consequently, the detention can be extended indefinitely. The terms 'security of the area' and 'public security' are not defined, their interpretation being left to the military commanders.

"The Order directs that the detainee be brought before a judge within eight days (the time period differs from time to time). The judge may approve, shorten, or cancel the order. In most cases, the judge approves the order as written. The hearing is not open to the public, and the judge makes his decision based on confidential material pursuant to which the order was issued. The confidential material is not provided to the detainee or his attorney. In the past, the orders required that the order be reviewed three months after the judge made his ruling approving the detention. This requirement was eliminated in April 2002. The detainee has the right to appeal the judge's decision. The appeal is heard by a military appeals court judge. Like the previous hearing, the appeal is held behind closed doors and the decision is based on confidential material.

"Administrative detention of individuals located inside Israel and individuals in southern Lebanon is made pursuant to the Israeli Emergency Powers Law (Detentions), 1979, which allows the Minister of Defense to order detention for six-month periods, which the minister can extend indefinitely. Several safeguards which exist in the Israeli law are absent from the system of administrative detention in the Occupied Territories. For example, the Israeli law requires that the detainee be brought before a judge within forty-eight hours and for periodic review every three months by the president of a District Court."

I'm not a legal expert, but if I read understand everything, the new system put in place by the Bush administration and Republican Congress is almost the same as that Israel uses only in the Occupied Territories. As noted here, system has also been subject to abuse. To this, one might add the recent case of Ghazi Falah, who because he was in Israel was able to see independent judges.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home