New 1st-ever chief for overseeing prosecution sets up shop

Weinstein and Livni say that the main purpose of the oversight body is to increase public trust in the prosecution.

Tzipi Livni 370 (photo credit: Courtesy The Tzipi Livni Party)
Tzipi Livni 370
(photo credit: Courtesy The Tzipi Livni Party)
Hila Gristol, the first-ever overseer of the state’s prosecutorial apparatus, and her new office officially initiated operations on Thursday in their brand new Tel Aviv premises.
At an event marking the occasion – which Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein attended – Gristol said that her oversight would be “professional and non-populistic, but uncompromising.”
Weinstein, who was the foremost official pushing for the new body, and Livni both said that the main purpose of the oversight body was to increase public trust in the prosecution.
Livni added that without a strong prosecution, the state could “collapse” in the face of “price tag” attacks, public corruption and other threats.
Thursday’s event was the final step in the long process of establishing the office, which included cabinet approval in December and years of contentious debate about the body’s powers and parameters.
Until the appointment, Gristol served as Jerusalem District Court president. Livni recommended her for the new position on the recommendation of a committee that Weinstein headed.
Those in favor of the oversight department say the prosecution does not crack down or correct its own errors and needs an outside body to do so.
Those who opposed the body have expressed concerns that politicians would use it to intimidate the prosecution out of pursuing public corruption cases.
Gristol said her office would act on two fronts. First, it would receive and investigate individual complaints against the prosecution – including its civil and administrative litigators – arising from Weinstein or the public.
Second, it would conduct organization- wide and systematic reviews of prosecutors’ conduct, transparency, ethics, efficiency and proper implementation of state policies.
She added that the body’s goal was not to “destroy,” but to “build and fix” aspects of the prosecution’s operations.
She noted that not every mistake needed to be investigated, but no organization was perfect, and even the best could be improved.