War between prosecution, oversight czar continues over handling of victims of violence, sex crimes

Funds which were earmarked for better support of victims were improperly used for other purposes.

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December 2, 2015 21:41
2 minute read.
Ayelet Shaked, nouvelle ministre de la Justice

Ayelet Shaked, nouvelle ministre de la Justice. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

 
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Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said on Wednesday she planned to introduce legislation about judicial oversight of state prosecutors, in hopes of resolving months of disputes about how to ensure that crime victims are properly handled and that their cases don’t drag on for too long.

State prosecutors and oversight czar Hila Gristol have been at loggerheads for months over how and when she could critique prosecutors, and whether victims of sex crimes and other violence were being properly handled.

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Gristol issued a scathing report accusing prosecutors of improperly handling funds earmarked as aid for crime victims.

Her report also alleged that prosecutors had failed in large numbers to record their interactions with victims, such as whether victims had been informed of the status of legal proceedings against their assailants, or whether they had been given a chance to weigh in on plea bargain negotiations.

Gristol also accused prosecutors of failing to let victims weigh in when their assailants came up for parole.

The job of prosecutors centers on filing indictments and getting criminals, convicted.

But they are also obliged by a law passed a decade ago to keep tabs on victims and solicit their input during legal proceedings.

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State prosecutors slammed Gristol’s report calling it “deficient with a litany of errors,” saying some of the accusations do “not represent reality.”

The prosecutors said the report was wrong in saying only 31% of victims had the opportunity to provide their position on plea bargain deals. They said that 65% of files showed victims being consulted before such deals were made.

Shaked appeared to side with the prosecutors, saying “not all work is recorded and published” regarding their work with victims.

Shaked added that in the coming weeks, she would propose legislation to close the gap between Gristol and the prosecutors over how much oversight was needed.

Last week, the prosecutors union threatened to boycott all of Gristol’s reports until a law is passed anchoring her powers to monitor them.

The dispute stems from Shaked’s appointment of former supreme court justice Eliezer Goldberg in June as a mediator between Gristol, Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein and the prosecutors’ union.

State prosecutors had been striking on-and-off for months against the new body, claiming it would help politicians pressure them not to prosecute corruption and generally reduce their independence and impartiality.

A union of state prosecutors had been prepared to accept general criticism of particular district attorney’s offices, but not specific criticisms of individual prosecutors.

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