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Joint written statement* submitted by Friends World Committee for Consultation (Quakers), a non-governmental organization in general consultative status,and World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT),a non-governmental organization in special consultative status
*This written statement is issued, unedited, in the language(s) received from the submitting non-governmental organization(s).
Israeli military law adopts a definition of the Palestinian child which is incompatible with international law and provides, in a discriminatory manner, that the offence of stone-throwing by Palestinian children, which is categorized as a security offence, be tried by the military court system with all its implications. Such legislation, which in fact ensures that a disproportionate amount of Palestinian children come into contact with the military court system, which in practice offers no alternative to imprisonment for children and imposes harsher sentences than the Israeli criminal courts, should be held to be incompatible with article 2.1 of the Convention against Torture. Legislation allowing children to be sentenced on the sole basis of confessions leads to convictions based on confessions by third persons, often obtained through torture or other ill-treatment, in contravention of article 15. While under Israeli law a detainee can be prohibited from meeting with counsel for 21 days, under military law applicable in the West Bank detainees including children can be held incommunicado for up to 90 days. This piece of legislation is inconsistent with article 16 of the Convention, as UN Commission on Human Rights resolutions have asserted that prolonged incommunicado detention can in itself constitute a form of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.1
1The Treatment of Detained Palestinian Children by the Israeli Authorities, joint report by LAW The Palestinian Society for the Protection of Human Rights and the Environment, The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI), The World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), November 2001.