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        International covenant on Civil and Political Rights
31 August 2012

Original: English

Human Rights Committee

Interim report of the Special Rapporteur for follow-up on
concluding observations of the Human Rights Committee
adopted at its 105th session, 9 -27 July 2012

It has been the Human Rights Committee’s practice to submit three follow-up reports each year in which it analyses the replies sent by States parties between one session and the next. In view of the brevity of the intervals between the March, July and October sessions and given the time constraints associated with deadlines for submission of documents to the translation services, the Special Rapporteur has decided to submit only two follow-up reports per year, during the March and October sessions. This new procedure is expected to allow all the parties concerned to deal with the relevant material in greater depth at each stage in the follow-up process.

In order to ensure that the new timetable for reports does not delay the consideration of a situation which is of an urgent nature (either for procedural reasons or because of the seriousness of developments in a State party), the Special Rapporteur will, however, submit a partial report on those cases in which she believes that a decision needs to be taken as a matter of urgency. Comprehensive information on the follow-up action undertaken by the Committee since its eighty-seventh session (July 2006) is in the follow-up table that will be included as an annex to the next progress report of the Special Rapporteur for follow-up to concluding observations.

Assessment criteria

Reply/action satisfactory

A Response largely satisfactory

Reply/action partially satisfactory

B1 Substantive action taken, but additional information required
B2 Initial action taken, but additional information required

Reply/action not satisfactory

C1 Response received but actions taken do not implement the recommendation
C2 Response received but not relevant to the recommendations

No cooperation with the Committee

D1 No response received within the deadline, or no reply to a specific question in the report
D2 No response received after reminder(s)

Ninety-ninth session (July 2010)
Concluding observationsCCPR/C/ISR/CO/3
State party’s first reply Expected: 29 July 2011; Received: 31 October 2011
Follow-up paragraphs 8, 11, 22, 24
NGO information Six reports received in August 2011: ADALAH – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel; ADALAH, Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights; Physicians for Human Rights – Israel (PHR-Israel); BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights; Defence for Children International – Palestine Section (DCI-P); Negev Coexistence Forum for Civil Equality; Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI).
Paragraph 8 The State party should lift its military blockade of the Gaza Strip, insofar as it adversely affects the civilian population. The State party should invite an independent, international fact-finding mission to establish the circumstances of the boarding of the flotilla, including its compatibility with the Covenant.
Summary of State party’s reply: The District Coordination and Liaison Office in the Erez Crossing assists in all matters related to residents of the Gaza Strip in need of medical treatment in Israel or elsewhere. They do not have a “right” to enter Israel. The real victims of the terrorist exploitation of this humanitarian channel are the Palestinian residents who have their crossing delayed. In many cases there is also a “deficiency in the transfer of requests by the Palestinian Authority (PA), since the PA is ultimately responsible for the necessary funding to cover the relevant costs in the Israeli hospitals”.
Other actions taken by the State party:
      • Approval and coordination to bring in medical equipment and medications
      • Offer to the Palestinian Authority to help raise the level of competence of the health infrastructure in the Gaza Strip
All water supply and sewage systems in Gaza are under Palestinian control since 2005. It was agreed that Israel would transfer and sell an additional 5 million cubic metres/year of water to Gaza during the period of the Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip (1995). The supply pipeline was laid up to the border of the Gaza Strip and awaits the Palestinian Authority’s approval.
The State party has proposed to the Palestinians to purchase water for the Gaza Strip directly from the desalination plant at Ashkelon. The State party does not prevent the flow of surface water or groundwater to the Gaza aquifer.
Programmes exist for the treatment of wastewater, but the Palestinians are not advancing for their implementation. The number of wells has doubled.
The Turkel Commission appointed in June 2010 to examine the conformity of the actions taken in connection with the flotilla incident with the norms and requirements of international law consisted of independent Israeli experts, two international observers and two experts in International Law: actions taken by the Commission are hearing of testimony from central governmental and non-governmental sources; review of all the available documentary evidence and submissions made.
Conclusion of the Commission (interim report): the imposition and enforcement of the naval blockade and the land crossings policy complied with international law, in view of the security circumstances and Israeli efforts to fulfil its humanitarian obligations. The actions by Israel during the flotilla incident led to the loss of human life and physical injuries. Despite a limited number of uses of force for which no conclusion was reached, the actions were found to be in conformity with international law. The Commission is currently working on the second part of its report. The Secretary-General’s Panel of Inquiry on the 31 May 2010 Flotilla Incident published its report in September 2011. It confirms the Israeli position on the legality and proportionality of the naval blockade and the flotilla incident.
NGO information ADALAH: The Turkel Commission was established by the Government of Israel and is not independent, impartial or transparent.
ADALAH, Al Mezan and PHR-Israel: The military blockade of Gaza remains in place, resulting in an unemployment rate of 37 per cent, 52 per cent of the population suffering from food insecurity, and 41,200 new housing units needed. From January to June 2011, PHR-Israel documented 226 cases and appeals from Gaza patients who were denied permits or delayed access to medical treatment. Since January 2007, as part of the blockade:
      • Fishermen’s access to the sea has been further restricted, and they are often subject to harassment
      • Families in Gaza have not been allowed to visit their relatives in Israeli prisons
BADIL: Israel has not lifted the blockade of Gaza, and has not eased any of the humanitarian conditions for the civilians. Gaza still suffers tremendously from the blockade (denial of basic needs, goods, food, medicines, infrastructure materials, and access to education). Israel has also refused to cooperate with international efforts for an impartial, international, independent investigation into the flotilla incident.
Committee’s evaluation [C1]: The State party makes no reference to any steps taken to lift the military blockade of the Gaza Strip. The actions taken do not implement the recommendation.
[B2]: The Turkel Commission, being a national body with only national observers, does not answer to the recommendation for an international mission. The Panel of Inquiry, while international, is not a fact-finding mission, given that its only means of obtaining information is through diplomatic channels.
Paragraph 11 The State party should incorporate into its legislation the crime of torture, as defined in article 1 of the Convention against Torture and in conformity with article 7 of the Covenant. It also reiterates its previous recommendation (CCPR/CO/78/ISR, para. 18), that the State party should completely remove the notion of “necessity” as a possible justification for the crime of torture. The State party should also examine all allegations of torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment pursuant to the Manual on the effective investigation and documentation of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (Istanbul Protocol).
Summary of State party’s reply All acts of torture are criminal acts under Israeli legislation. In H.C.J. 5100/94 The Public Committee against Torture in Israel v. The State of Israel, the Supreme Court agreed that the “necessity defense” could arise in instances of “ticking bombs” but that this did not constitute a source of authority to utilize physical means. The Court held that any future directives governing the use of these means during interrogations had to be anchored in an authorization prescribed by law and not in defences to criminal liability. To date no such directives have been introduced.
The current wording of the Penal Law is in accordance with international law. The Israeli Security Agency (ISA) conducts its interrogations according to the relevant guidelines and regulations. They are monitored regularly. Internal guidelines have been prepared by the ISA on how high-ranking ISA officials should be consulted when the circumstances of an interrogation support the necessity requirement.
The participation of medical doctors or personnel in unlawful activities occurs only in exceptional cases. Israel Prison Service (IPS) physicians will not approve and will not take part in any activity of investigation or punishment of an inmate.
The Inspector for Complaints against ISA interrogators operates independently under the supervision of the Inspector’s Supervisor in the Ministry of Justice. Decisions of a sensitive nature are further examined by the Attorney General and the State Attorney. Every complaint of improper treatment is examined by the Supervisor. The Attorney General announced in November 2010 that the Inspector would become part of the Ministry of Justice. Statistics are provided on the number of examinations conducted by the Inspector. None of the examinations between 2006 and 2011 ended with criminal charges, all interrogations were performed in accordance with the law and no torture or ill-treatment took place. However, procedures and interrogation techniques were modified as a result of some of the examinations.
NGO information ADALAH, Al Mezan and PHR-Israel: Solitary confinement is widely used in Israeli prisons, and the IPS has not issued sufficient directives to regulate its use. Israel has not removed the “necessity defense” for criminal responsibility for torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. The transfer of the Inspector to the Ministry of Justice has yet to take place. In July 2011, the Ministry of Health reported on the establishment of a Committee for Medical Staff to Report harm to Detainees under Interrogation, which will be mandated to receive complaints from medical staff regarding the suspected torture or cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.
PCATI: No action has been taken to adopt appropriate legislation establishing a crime of torture or clarifying that the “necessity defense” shall not apply to those who perpetrate torture and other ill-treatment. The transfer of the Inspector to the Ministry of Justice has not yet been implemented and the modalities of the new mechanism remain shrouded in secrecy.
Committee’s evaluation [C1]: The State party does not provide any information on new measures to incorporate the crime of torture into its legislation or on the removal of the notion of “necessity” as a possible justification for the crime of torture. The State party does not describe any concrete measures to make the examination of allegations of torture compliant with the Manual on Effective Investigation and Documentation of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (Istanbul Protocol), with the possible exception of the planned move of the Inspector to the Ministry of Justice that has yet to take place.
Paragraph 22 The State party should:
(a) Ensure that children are not tried as adults;
(b) Refrain from holding criminal proceedings against children in military courts, ensure that children are only detained as a measure of last resort and for the shortest possible time, and guarantee that proceedings involving children are audiovisually recorded and that trials are conducted in a prompt and impartial manner, in accordance with fair trial standards;
(c) Inform parents or close relatives of where the child is detained and provide the child with prompt access to free and independent legal assistance of its own choosing;
(d) Ensure that reports of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of detained children are investigated promptly by an independent body.
Summary of State party’s reply The obligation to record the investigation of suspects has been gradually implemented. Since January 2010, it includes offences punishable by a minimum of 10 years, with the exception of security offences.
The Security Directives Order (Temporary Order) established a Juvenile Military Court (JMC) in the West Bank in 2009, separating minors from adult detainees. The Amendment of the Security Provisions Order raised the age of majority in Judea and Samaria from 16 to 18 years. The JMC is authorized to appoint a lawyer for a minor. In 99.9 per cent of the cases the accused is represented by a defence attorney. Inmates are entitled to have meetings with their lawyers behind a divider, or in exceptional cases without a divider. The JMC is authorized to order that minors’ parents be present in every hearing. Parents have the right to act on behalf of the minor in filing applications and questioning witnesses and may plead together with, or instead of, the minor. The JMC may also order the preparation of a Probation Officer Report.
The parents of the minor should be notified a soon as possible. After a reasonable effort has been made to contact the parents, another relative or adult known to the minor may be contacted, except when the minor has expressed his objection on reasonable grounds. The Officer in Charge can order the summoning of a minor suspect for questioning, in a “reasoned written decision”, without giving notice to his/her parents if: (i) it may harm the physical or mental well-being of the minor or another person; (ii) there is reasonable suspicion that the parent or a relative was an accessory to the offence; (iii) the minor is suspected of a security offence.
After eight hours, or when the reason for not notifying the parents has ceased to exist, notification shall be given without delay.
The Order prescribes that the minor is notified, in a language that he understands considering his age and degree of maturity, of his right to consult with a lawyer in private.
Every complaint regarding torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of detainees, adults and children alike, are investigated promptly. Supervision and oversight mechanisms are provided for in the Security Agency Law 5762-2002. Police officers are subject to continuous scrutiny by the Department for the Investigation of Police Officers in the Ministry of Justice and by the courts.
NGO information ADALAH, Al Mezan and PHR-Israel: Palestinian minors continue to be detained and interrogated alongside adult detainees in ISA facilities located in Israel and the West Bank. They are subjected to conditions of confinement that constitute cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, alongside adult detainees, in order to put pressure on them.
DCI-P: Each year approximately 700 Palestinian children are prosecuted in Israeli military courts. Over 90 per cent of these are denied bail and over 80 per cent receive custodial sentences (compared to 6.5 per cent in the civilian juvenile justice system). Children as young as 12 years receive custodial sentences. The JMC uses the same facilities and court staff used by the adult military court, and children are brought into court by groups of two and three, wearing leg chains and the same brown prison uniforms as adults. On occasion, adults and children are brought into court together. There is still no provision in the military orders to guarantee the audiovisual recordings of children’s interrogations. The primary evidence against children in the military courts is a confession, either of the accused child or that of another interrogated child, and since most children are denied bail, the quickest way out of the system is to plead guilty in all cases. There is no official mechanism to inform parents on the place where their child is detained. The overwhelming majority of children see a lawyer for the first time after interrogation and confession. Between 2001 and 2010, 645 complaints were filed against ISA interrogators. No criminal investigation has been opened.
PCATI: There is no independent examination mechanism.
Committee’s evaluation [B2]: A part from the separation of adults and children in the court room following the establishment of a juvenile military court, no information is provided on other measures to ensure that minors are not tried as adults. The actual application of the separation is questioned by NGO reports (DCI-P).
Suggested questions:
      What measures have been taken to ensure that children are not tried as adults in the Juvenile Military Court?
      How will the existence of a separate court for juveniles be ensured at the expiration of the Amendment of the Security Provisions Order on 29 September 2012?
(a) [C1]: No information is provided on policies governing the use of military courts in proceedings against children or on how it is guaranteed that the detention of children is only used as a measure of last resort for the shortest possible time. No information is provided on how audiovisual recordings of proceedings involving children are guaranteed in cases that are not punishable by a minimum of 10 years’ imprisonment and that do not constitute a security offence. There is no information on specific measures to ensure that trials are conducted in a prompt and impartial manner, in accordance with fair trial standards, other than those relevant to recommendation;
(b) [B2]: Information is provided on the existing legal provisions related to the notification of parents, but these provisions have widely applicable exceptions, and there is no information on their implementation. Information should be requested on State party plans to revise its legislation to guarantee that the accused can systematically see their lawyers at an early stage of the proceedings;
Suggested question:
      What changes are envisaged after 29 September 2012 in order to maintain current reforms and further ensure that parents or close relatives are always promptly informed after the arrest of a minor and that the child is provided with prompt access to free and independent legal assistance of his/her own choice?
(c) [C1]: N o information is provided on new measures aimed at ensuring that reports of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of detained children are investigated promptly by an independent body.
Paragraph 24 In its planning efforts in the Negev area, the State party should respect the Bedouin population’s right to their ancestral land and their traditional livelihood based on agriculture. The State party should also guarantee the Bedouin population’s access to health structures, education, water and electricity, irrespective of their whereabouts on the territory of the State party.
Summary of State party’s reply In 2007, the Advisory Committee on the Policy regarding Bedouin Towns (Goldberg Committee) was established. The plan to provide for the status of communities, and the plan for the economic development of the Bedouin population in the Negev were submitted to the Government in May 2011 and approved in September.
They aim at improving education in the Negev and Abu-Basma for the Bedouin population. Counselling and psychological services are available in the education system and new educational programmes, tuition grants and scholarships have been introduced. In the unauthorized Bedouin villages, three high schools have been established and 14 positions for school inspectors for Bedouin localities have been created since 2004.
Difficulties arise with the Bedouin living in unauthorized villages, especially in terms of water supply. The duty to supply them with services such as water is not questioned, but it is practically impossible to do so. According to the Supreme Court, unrecognized villages have the right to “minimum access to water”.
In terms of health:
      As of May 2010, 51 health clinics and independent physicians were serving the Bedouin population, with four of them in the unauthorized villages. The Bedouin have access to a special health service and to a number of physician specialty services
      A university course has been opened for nurses from the Bedouin population, but there is still a substantial shortage of qualified nurses
      Immunization coverage of the Bedouin population has seen improvements in the last decade. There are two mobile immunization teams that provide services to infants outside the permanent towns
      Of the 46 mother and infant health-care stations in the southern district, 27 serve the Bedouin population. Unauthorized villages are attended by health-care stations, the stations in Bedouin towns and Jewish localities, and one mobile station.
An attempt has been made to extend the Electricity Supply Law (Temporary Order) 5756-1996, which ceased in May 2007, providing for the electricity supply to Arab and Druze citizens whose houses were built without permits. The Israel Electric Corporation began connecting schools in unauthorized villages following a petition to the High Court of Justice by Adalah in July 2009.
NGO information Adalah: No Bedouins were included in the elaboration of the governmental plan from May 2011 that would displace over 30,000 Bedouin from their ancestral land. Despite a rising rate in infant mortality, one clinic was closed in unrecognized villages, and two were only partially reopened after a petition to the Supreme Court. The State committed before the Supreme Court in 2007 to opening the first high school in the unrecognized villages by 2009, but now refuses to do so since the land planning or the village is not completed. The dropout rate for Bedouin students is around 70 per cent. The Water Authority has made no indication of implementing the Supreme Court decision on the right of unrecognized villages to a “minimum access to water”.
NCF: The number of home demolitions has dramatically increased since June 2010. The village of Al-Araqeeb has been completely demolished 25 times (each time it was rebuilt) and in July 2011 the State filed a lawsuit against the residents to cover the demolition costs. The Prawer Plan contradicts the findings and recommendations of the Goldberg Committee, recognizing less than a third of the land claimed by the Bedouin, and forcing resettlement in failed Government-planned towns. Most affected citizens have no opportunity to be involved in the review of the plan. Twenty-five villages remain without the opportunity to seek clinics, schools or other essential community structures, since they are not mentioned in the regional plan regarding temporary structures for vital services. The State has recently announced a decrease in the rate of infant mortality, but it has actually risen.
Less Bedouin infants are vaccinated than babies of Jewish parents. In March 2010, the State announced a new programme to increase vaccination among the Bedouin by providing incentives to nurses to work in clinics serving the Bedouin population. The Supreme Court ruling from June 2011 failed to define the “reasonable access” to water it prescribed. The State has completely failed to adopt the recommendation regarding electricity access and Bedouin have had to install their own power systems.
BADIL: No efforts have been made to preserve Bedouin agricultural livelihoods. Israeli authorities have sprayed Bedouin agricultural lands with herbicides and ploughed over them. The State continues to outsource its discriminatory planning and development policies to organizations like the Jewish National Fund in order to evade scrutiny and accountability. The report includes information similar to the one included in the NCF report.
Committee’s evaluation [C1]: A part from including Bedouin members in the Goldberg Committee, no measures have been described that ensure the respect of the right of the Bedouin to their ancestral land and their traditional livelihood based on agriculture, and to otherwise take into account the interests of the Bedouin. The measures taken do not guarantee the Bedouin population’s access to health structures, education, water and electricity.
Recommended action Letter reflecting the analysis of the Committee. The Committee should include its follow-up questions in the list of issues prior to reporting and request the State party to provide the requested complementary information in its reply thereto.
Next periodic report List of issues prior to reporting to be adopted by the Committee in July 2012


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