What it means to be a Palestinian child in Israeli military court
Israel is the only state that prosecutes children in military courts
By Yara Younes
Each year 500–700 Palestinian children under the age of 18 are arrested, the majority of the children are tried in military courts that do not meet international fair trial standards.
Under International law; Article 37(b) states unequivocally that, “No child shall be deprived of his or her liberty unlawfully or arbitrarily. The arrest, detention or imprisonment of a child shall be in conformity with the law and shall be used only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time
According to ADDAMEER a Palestinian non-governmental Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association; since the Al-Aqsa Intifada of 2000, more than 12,000 Palestinian children have been detained.
Children arrive blindfolded and sleep deprived to the interrogations, they are forced into giving confessions without having their parents present or a right to counsel as Israeli military law provides no right to legal counsel during interrogation.
Verbal abuse, threats, physical and psychological violence, sexual threats of rape and in some cases torture to inflict fear upon the children and coerce a confession.
Sexual assaults by Israeli officers against Palestinian children have numerous forms which include, the grabbing of a child’s testicles and threats of sodomy with an object. In 2009, Addameer has documented at least five cases of children who reported having been sexually assaulted or threatened.
According to UNICEF, In 2013 up until September 2014, 1145 children signed affidavits (sworn testimonies) reporting ill-treatment by the IDF, these affidavits included the ill-treatment of Palestinian children throughout their arrest.
• One hundred and sixty-two (162) children reported being blindfolded during transfer from the place of arrest to the police station.
• One hundred and eighty-nine (189) children reported being painfully hand-tied upon arrest.
• One hundred and seventy-one (171) children reported being subjected to physical violence during arrest, interrogation and/or detention.
• One hundred and forty-four (144) children reported being subjected to verbal abuse and intimidation during arrest, interrogation and/or detention.
• Eighty-nine (89) children reported being transferred from the place of arrest to the police station on the floor of the vehicle.
• Seventy-nine (79) children reported being arrested at night and 45 children reported being arrested during clashes or demonstrations.
• One hundred and sixty-three (163) children reported not being adequately notified of their legal rights, in particular the right to counsel and the right to remain silent.
• One hundred and forty-eight (148) children reported being strip-searched at the police station and 76 children reported being strip-searched upon arrival and transfer to IPS detention facilities. 4
• Twenty-eight (28) children reported being held in solitary confinement at the Al Jalame and Petah Tikva detention sites inside Israel, while under interrogation by the ISA.
• Sixty-three (63) children reported having had to sign a confession in Hebrew during the interrogation process.