Monday, March 29, 2010

Settlers children and Palestinian children not equal before the law

In the West Bank, there is a two-tiered system of justice, including for minors. For settler children, justice is administered according to Israeli domestic law, with all the due process protections that affords. They cannot be charged as adults until they reach 18, in accordance with the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Israel is a signatory. For Palestinian children, military law applies, and that pretty much means due process, and the tenderness of their years, is irrelevant. Their childhood itself is cut short, both by the circumstances of the Occupation and the letter of military law. Until recently, they could be charged as adults as young as 12 years of age. A recent military order “reformed” that anomaly by setting their age of majority at 16 –still two years earlier than their settler counterparts, and two years younger than required by the Convention on the Rights of the Child. But the reality is that children as young as 12 continue to be arrested and imprisoned in adult military jails. In the majority of cases the soldiers who arrest them say that the children were throwing stones, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting. Where can I find out more about the civil and criminal justice system in the occupied West Bank and Gaza?

    For example, are different justice codes in place in different parts of the West Bank and Gaza? What rules apply to the Palestinian National Security Forces? Can Hamas and the Palestinian Authority also try people according to military law?