Incriminating-Child Procedure | Machsomwatch
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Incriminating-Child Procedure

Recruiting denouncers within a population under occupation is an ancient and effective means of control, providing the occupier with a dual achievement: 1) enlarging the circle of criminals within the occupied society, some of them in prison and most of them released but threatened and stained by their criminal record, including significant suspended prison sentences; 2) sowing chaos, fear and destructive discord in various circles of society such as the family, neighborhood, village etc. Using children to incriminate people resembles the recruitment of child soldiers. The Israeli system adds insult to injury, which this Spotlight wishes to expose and warn against.

Since the occupation of the West Bank in 1967, Palestinian minors are tried in military courts. Only recently a decree was issued to create a military court for youth, and establish new instructions regarding the prosecution of minors at this court. This is a mere cosmetic measure that continues to deprive them of the special defense to which Israeli children are entitled, including those living in the West Bank (settlers).
In 1991 Israel was signatory to the international convention on the rights of children stipulating that a child is any human under the age of 18. In the eyes of the Israeli system, Palestinian children – I the specific term ‘child’ rather than ‘minor’ – are apparently super-human because according to Israeli security legislation they reach maturity as early as the age of 16. This is a violation of an international convention and manifests ongoing injustice and ethnic discrimination.

The Bil’in trials expose the system in all its brutality and disgrace. The security apparatus has coerced four children from the village to become denouncers in its persistence to break the non-violent struggle against the Separation Fence. The children were arrested first, incriminated dozens of their fellow-villagers and were instrumental in their arrest. The leaders of this struggle are conducting trials at which a rare peek is made possible into the interrogation rooms where the children have been questioned, since both the children and their interrogators bear witness in these trials.

Out of reports from our monitor-vigils at the military courts

“Strategic” denouncers of an entire village, Bil’in: The testimony protocol of Khalil Yassin, 17 years-old, one of the four incriminating boys, is a rare document offering a peek into the Shabak interrogation rooms and its interrogation modes. Khalil is illiterate and could not read ‘his’ confession, signed with his fingerprint.
For the full report click here

The incriminating boy is afraid to testify in court. He runs off, hiding from his pursuers, the “storm troops” (the prosecution’s expression), sent to arrest him and bring him to court. When the witness does not show up, the court session is postponed and the defendant (in this case, Abdallah Abu Rahma) is kept in custody. More from the following report: “Two minors from Bil’in, witnesses for the prosecution, were ‘summoned’, who – in order to ensure their appearance in court to bear incriminating witness – were abducted in the middle of the night eight days earlier”.
For the full report click here

On the witness stand, the incriminating child soon becomes a hostile witness. He denies and contradicts his own confession and his testimonies in other trials held against persons he has incriminated. He gets entangled in his own lies while facing his neighbor or perhaps family relation whom he has incriminated, who is now sitting handcuffed, dressed in prison garb, looking at him and listening to his testimony.
For the full report click here

Nothing is too late or too soon, no incrimination is too late:
Someone denounced his friend, implicating him with an event that had taken place six years earlier. They had been children “and it wasn’t fun” at all, because they grew up around the Qalandiya Checkpoint and took part in one of hundreds of clashes with the army, ending up at court.
For the full report click here

Children’s mutual denunciations:
“I first heard a (woman) judge referring to mutual denunciations of children as if she had just discovered this phenomenon. The four boys facing her, all represented by the same attorney, Mohammad Mahmoud, testified against each other. The judge found it improper for them to be represented by the same defense lawyer and demanded separate representation for each of the defendants. Dates were set for court sessions in which each boy would be represented by a different attorney.”
For the full report click here

They all denounced one another:
“The prosecutor was aided in his claims by the testimony of incriminating witnesses (boys) for the prosecution. He indicated that all of them had denounced each other as they described in their interrogation how they took part in three events during demonstrations, when they supposedly hurled Molotov cocktails and stones at army jeeps. The defense attorney counters the evidence, claiming that the boys were interrogated by an investigator who is not authorized to interrogate minors and certainly not between 2 and 4 o’clock in the morning. He claimed that the confessions were not given by the minors, who had told him they do not confess. Furthermore he claimed that none of the parents of these minors had been allowed to be present at the interrogation although they were also present at the Maale Adumim police station. On all the grounds cited above he requests the judge to instruct revoking the confessions and releasing the minors”.
For the full report click here

The Shabak (Security Services) uses a child’s sickness to turn him into a denouncer?
“The boy, 17-years old, was arrested at 2:30 a.m… this boy is not healthy… Since December 2009 he has been applying for entry permits into Jerusalem to receive medical treatment at the Mukassad Hospital but still has not succeeded. In February 2010 he received his last treatment. In some office somewhere a ‘weak point’ has been registered – applicant for entry permits to access hospital treatment, meaning someone who can be pressured.”
For the full report click here


Written by Ofra Ben Artzi
Photography Hava Brafman

Translation: Tal Haran