Mazuz: Leaders under suspicion should resign

Attorney general says public figures suspected of corruption should not await indictment to take responsibility.

mazuz 248.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
mazuz 248.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Public figures who are under investigation and are likely to be indicted should take responsibility and resign, Attorney General Menahem Mazuz said Thursday. Mazuz, who was speaking at a conference in Bar Ilan university, cited Haim Ramon, Tzahi Hanegbi and Avraham Hirschson as examples of ministers who resigned and thus "showed a norm of public behavior that does not necessarily base itself upon judicial duty." "For instance, in Britain there is no such law but there is a norm," the attorney general said. "The question is: has a satisfactory attempt been made to establish such a governmental norm prior to exercising judiciary means." "That may be a question for historians," he added. Next week, a decision is expected in the investigation of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in the Bank Leumi tender case. "It appears to me that we give up on other tools too easily, and that too much focus is given to judiciary means. I believe that an unequivocal public message on the purity of conduct of elected officials is important and can have a substantial impact." Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch, who also attended the conference, opined that corruption was not exclusively a matter of criminality. "I don't know if the level of corruption in government institutions has risen, " she said. "However, it is bad enough that governmental institutions are seen as corrupt [by the public]. One must bear in mind that not all inappropriate behavior constitutes a criminal offense."