Yesh Din and B’Tselem on Wednesday criticized the new statistics on treatment of Palestinian minors revealed by the IDF’s chief West Bank prosecutor to The Jerusalem Post.
Yesh Din attorney Emily Schaeffer said that from experience, “the number of incidents of abuses committed by IDF personnel greatly exceeds that of complaints filed.”
She emphasized the difficulty of “providing testimony about a traumatic incident to an investigator” who wears “the same uniform as the alleged abuser.”
Most Palestinians knew that “the majority of complaints filed to the MPCID [the IDF’s unit for investigating complaints against soldiers] do not result in indictments,” said Schaeffer.
She cited 2012 statistics that only 32.5 percent of complaints filed with the Military Police Criminal Investigation Department led to criminal investigations, and none resulted in indictments.
Palestinians had access problems and the IDF should view the small number of complaints as a sign that it needs to be more accessible, she said.
Jessica Montell, B’Tselem’s executive director, said “the number of complaints is not an effective measure of ill treatment, considering the way the military investigation system works (or doesn’t) it’s hardly surprising that Palestinians do not complain about ill treatment.”
The “figure of 15% of cases closed does not necessarily point to proper consideration,” Montell added.
Reviewing cases for sufficient evidence and closing them when necessary is a basic action that prosecutors must take, she said.
Montell called the evidence needed to convict in a military court minimal and questioned whether the minors whose cases were closed should have been arrested at all.
Finally, she criticized “lumping together offenses ranging from murder to stone-throwing.” This makes the 82% of crimes involving minors being violent in nature “meaningless,” she said.