'Detention without trial all too common in Israel'

A top Israeli military judge disclosed that 2700 Palestinians were detained without trial this year.

A top Israeli military judge disclosed that 2700 Palestinians were detained without trial this year.

Colonel Shaul Gordon, chief justice of the army's West Bank appeals court, told the soldiers' weekly Bamahane that 2000 of the detainees filed appeals, and their detention was shortened in many cases.

The practice of administrative detention has been harshly criticised by Palestinians and human rights groups, who say that if the military has evidence against suspects, it should put them on trial. The military has responded that sometimes evidence is too sensitive to submit to a trial.

"Sometimes we get the impression that with more effort in the investigation, an indictment could have been brought because that is the best way," Gordon said.

The publication reported that Gordon instituted basic reforms in the military court system during his term.

Until 2002 military courts were part of the army prosecution system, but Gordon forced a separation, making the courts independent.

"Today every defence lawyer knows the prosecution is a separate entity from the courts," he said.

Also, until two years ago, the military used army officers with no legal training as judges.

The weekly said standard procedure was to run defendants through the judicial process at top speed, with officers doing duty as judges regardless of qualifications. - Sapa-AP

X