Military courts have operated in the occupied territories since the Israeli occupation began in 1967. To date, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have been brought before these courts. The following B’Tselem report focuses on one of the central aspects in the work of the military justice system: remand in custody pending end of proceedings.
With the exception of individuals tried for traffic violations, remanding Palestinian defendants in custody for the duration of the proceedings is the rule rather than the exception. One of the outcomes of this policy is that the vast majority of military court cases end in plea bargains. Defendants prefer to avoid a lengthy trial while in custody, knowing that they risk spending more time behind bars than the prison sentence they would receive in a plea bargain.
In effect, the case is decided at the time the remand is approved rather than on the basis of evidence against the defendant.
B’Tselem – The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories was established in 1989 by a group of prominent academics, attorneys, journalists, and Knesset members. It endeavors to document and educate the Israeli public and policymakers about human rights violations in the Occupied Territories, combat the phenomenon of denial prevalent among the Israeli public, and help create a human rights culture in Israel.