State attorney scathes justice minister in public letter

State Attorney scathes J

By DAN IZENBERG
November 3, 2009 20:45
3 minute read.

 
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In an unprecedented move, State Attorney Moshe Lador sent a letter to Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman on Tuesday blasting him over his plan to split the State Attorney's Office into separate and independent civil and criminal sections - and sent copies to all members of the office. "The idea that you decided to advance was presented to us in headline form only, as a 'top-down division,'" Lador wrote. "You did not discuss the dramatic - in my opinion - substance, significance and consequences of such a step. You presented your initiative to us orally, in a most general way and without our seeing any written document. You did not show us any comprehensive planning work, which [should have] preceded the formulation of the plan, nor a working paper that could have described the plan, at least in chapter headings (even the position paper which was presented to the media on Monday, but not yet to us, is less than a sketch. It has many holes that have not been solved)." In response to the letter, Neeman issued a statement rejecting Lador's allegations and charging that the state attorney was acting insubordinately. In his briefing on Monday with reporters to discuss the splitting of the current functions of the attorney-general into two separate positions, Neeman also announced that the State Attorney's Office itself would be split in two. He said that the legal adviser to the government would be in charge of all civil matters currently handled by the State Attorney's Office, while the chief prosecutor would be in charge of all criminal matters. In another scathing criticism of Neeman's plan, Lador wrote, "The fact is that throughout the last few months, we did not discuss (nor were we given a hint about) the possibility that the State Attorney's Office would be split, possibly because you hadn't even thought of it yet (at least, that is what we must assume). And now, when we hear for the very first time about the decision you made in the past few days, you at the same time declare that your mind is made up. It is too bad you did not ask for, or did not have the opportunity to hear - even if not to accept - what the attorney-general, the state attorney and others involved in the daily work in these areas of the ministry have to say before making up your mind." Lador said he could not understand why Neeman had not mentioned anything about his intentions during the meetings they held on a regular basis, "which were meant to give a picture of the existing situation to a new minister who comes from the private sector and who must certainly be interested in hearing and learning about the system with which he is not yet sufficiently acquainted." The state attorney also charged that "there has not been a single substantial public debate over this across-the-board split in the State Attorney's Office - except maybe for show, since the public (including myself) have been left unaware of the very significant reform that we have suddenly woken up to, just as it is being brought to the cabinet for approval." In his statement, Neeman said that he was "sorry about the letter that the state attorney has sent to all the employees of the office before delivering it to the minister. The topics to which the letter refers were discussed at length in many meetings between the minister and the state attorney. The minister considers this an improper act in which a public servant publicly criticizes the person in charge of him. It is like a general in the army who criticizes the minister of defense, or a commander in the police force who criticizes the minister of public security. This is not proper behavior, to say the least, for an orderly public administration."

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