'Gov't can't predict regulations needed for W. Bank riots'

Assistant A-G Oren Pono: Government would only be able to decide how to respond to statehood riots if and when situation arose.

By
September 25, 2011 18:06
2 minute read.
Palestinian boy waves flag  at rally in Ramallah

Rally in Ramallah 311 R. (photo credit: REUTERS)

In response on Sunday to rights groups’ fears over proposed emergency police powers to deal with possible disturbances following the Palestinian statehood bid, the Attorney-General’s Office said the government had discussed various options to deal with potential emergency situations.

However, in a written statement to the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, Assistant Attorney-General Oren Pono said since it is impossible to predict what, if any, emergency situation the country will face, the government would only be able to decide which of those options was appropriate if and when such a situation arose.

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Pono’s response came after lawyers at the ACRI called on Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein to shelve proposed Public Security Ministry plans for emergency regulations giving police additional authority to deal with potential riots.

Lawyer Dan Yakir, legal adviser to the ACRI, had slammed the proposals as potentially leading to human rights violations and giving a ‘green light’ to mass arrests.

According to reports, the emergency measures could include holding suspects detained after violent disturbances for 48 hours rather than 24 before having to bring them before a judge for a remand hearing, and allowing police to detain suspects not under arrest for nine hours instead of the current three.

Further, detainees would be permitted access to a lawyer only 48 hours after arrest rather than as soon as possible.

It would also be possible for police to delay bringing suspects who are minors before a judge to 48 hours instead of the current 12 hours.

The government can legally enact such emergency regulations because the country is in a state of emergency, a situation that has been renewed annually since 1948.

According to clause 39 (a) of the Basic Law on Government (2001), during a state of emergency the government may make emergency regulations for the defense of the state, public security and the maintenance of supplies and essential services.

The ACRI had pointed out in their letter to the attorney-general that emergency regulations can only be used in a real emergency, when the state is under threat and the Knesset cannot be convened to legislate.

In response, Pono said the government could not predict whether there would be any need to adjust existing legislation, or to what extent.

For that reason, the assistant attorney-general said it was possible the government may not not have sufficient time to make necessary amendments to legislation through Knesset.

However, Pono said if new emergency regulations were adopted, such amendments to the law would be submitted to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Security Committee as soon as possible after their enactment and canceled if the majority of Knesset members voted to do so, again in accordance with the Basic Law on Government.


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