High Court to hear petitions against Winograd

Petitions regarding decision not to issue warnings to persons likely to be hurt by final report.

jp.services2 (photo credit: )
(photo credit: )
The High Court of Justice on Thursday set September 2 for the first hearing on a petition against Winograd Committee's decision not to issue cautionary letters to potential victims of its conclusions nor to allow them to defend themselves before the panel issues its final report. The petition was filed by the military defender's section of the IDF Judge Advocate General's office on August 1. The following day, the court ruled that the petition would be heard in the first half of September. On Thursday, it acceded to a request by the Winograd Committee to hold the hearing as early as possible. Meanwhile, former MK and interior minister Avraham Poraz filed another petition on Thursday making the same demands as the army defender. "The committee's policy regarding the right to see the material, to respond to the allegations and to be represented by a lawyer are not in keeping with the law and contradict the basic principles of our legal system," wrote Poraz, who is represented by attorney Ram Caspi. The committee has insisted that it had informed those who stood to be hurt by its findings in the letters it sent to witnesses ordering them to testify before it. In those letters, it asked pointed questions regarding matters that the panel felt the witness might have handled poorly. It also asked about these matters during its hearings and allowed the witnesses to speak at length to explain their actions. The committee rejected the petitioners' demand that it act in accordance with the law governing state commissions of inquiry whereby, according to Article 15, the commission must grant potential victims of its finding all of the rights mentioned above. Earlier this week, the Winograd Committee announced that it had hired private Jerusalem lawyer Zvi Agmon to represent it in the High Court petition. The panel gave as its reason for this that Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz, who would normally represent it, would be caught in a conflict of interests since he is the legal adviser of the government, including Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, former defense minister Amir Peretz and others, who stand to be hurt by the committee's findings. Furthermore, there are rumors that Mazuz would have refused to defend the committee because he allegedly believes it should act in accordance with Article 15 of the State Commission of Inquiry Law, even though it is a government-appointed committee of examination established according to a different law.