IDF passes reform to W. Bank laws dealing with Palestinians

New provisions of the law are designed to better define elements of a criminal state of mind.

March 27, 2015 03:14
1 minute read.
idf drills

IDF holds surprise drill near Gaza. (photo credit: IDF)

The IDF late Wednesday announced it has passed the largest legal reform in years to its West Bank laws dealing with crimes committed by Palestinians.

The head of the military’s Central Command has the power to issue and amend laws in Judea and Samaria as long as the IDF maintains control of the area, and has amended laws from time to time based on the advice of the IDF legal division and the Justice Ministry.

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In recent years the army has made repeated reforms to the criminal procedure law applying to Palestinians in the IDF’s West Bank courts, including reducing detention periods for minors and providing more protections in the interrogation process, such as greater efforts to video more interrogations.

Somewhat more broadly, the IDF made changes in handling Palestinian minors cases by creating a juvenile courts division.

But the current reform, signed on Tuesday and due to go into effect as of June 1, changes aspects of the substantive criminal law in the IDF’s West Bank courts, including defining the various concepts relating to criminal liability to be similar to a 1994 reform passed within the Green Line.

New provisions of the law are designed to, on a permanent basis, better define elements of a criminal state of mind, encompassing criminal intent and criminal negligence, though on a practical level, the IDF West Bank courts have been applying reforms from Israeli legislation for some time.

The new law has separate provisions that better distinguish aspects of particular kinds of crimes which are incidental to the main crime, such as attempt, solicitation and being an accomplice.

It also more clearly describes specific defenses or intervening impacts on a criminal offence such as self-defense, insanity, being a minor, loss of control of one’s actions, drunkenness and entering into a situation leading to a crime with earlier improper conduct.

Finally, the law modernizes concepts in dealing with corporations and methods of legal interpretation.

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