HaMoked: Center for the Defence of the Individual petitioned the HCJ to order the attorney general to investigate complaints of torture during interrogations by the Israel Security Agency: the attorney general's conduct does not meet the minimum standards of proper management, although manifest disregard of the absolute ban on torture is at issue
In June and July of 2009, HaMoked forwarded 17 complaints of serving and former prisoners
about their treatment by Israel Security Agency (ISA) interrogators during interrogations to the attorney general, to the state attorney's office supervisor of the ISA head of interrogees’ complaints,
and to the military investigative police officer. The complaints recount how the detainees were transferred to the detention and interrogation facility in Petah Tikva, where ISA interrogators subjected them to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment amounting to torture. In these appeals, HaMoked delineated the different methods of abuse each detainee suffered, and demanded to order a rigorous and thorough investigation that would lead to the prosecution of those responsible for these illegal acts, and to the uprooting of this unacceptable and forbidden conduct, as the complaints reveal.
Over a year has passed since the complaints were sent, and despite numerous reminders, HaMoked received replies on four complainants; just one of them informed that a Police Internal Affairs Department (IA) investigation had been opened, concerning the conduct of the ISA only during the arrest, and not the interrogation. The other 13 complaints remained completely unanswered.
On August 19, 2010, HaMoked petitioned the High Court of Justice
to instruct the attorney general to quickly and effectively examine the complaints of torture during ISA interrogations. HaMoked also requested the attorney general formulate an investigation procedure for such complaints, and, inter alia
, set a reasonable processing time in order to prevent the recurrence of lengthy neglect. In the petition, HaMoked reminds that no one is above the law in Israel and that the police must investigate any suspected crime under the Criminal Procedure Law. HaMoked states that torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment are absolutely forbidden under customary international law, and that there is no dispute that Israeli law also recognizes this absolute ban, particularly since the enactment of Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty and the HCJ's precedential judgment on torture
. This ban is derived from the constitutional right to dignity and the right to physical and mental integrity. The HCJ's torture judgment categorically established that torture is legally forbidden, and cannot be accepted both morally and socially, and that by using violence during interrogation, the interrogator is liable to be held responsible for his actions, either criminally or disciplinarily.
As time passes and no investigation is initiated, it increasingly seems that the attorney general does not treat the investigation of alleged incidents of torture by ISA members with due gravity. HaMoked warns that white washing such forbidden acts or reluctance to investigate them, leads to lawlessness, leaving each interrogator to follow his own whim.