Administrative detention


Administrative detention

Administrative detention - Is an arrest without trial, usually for security reasons. Arrests without trial in dictatorships against those who oppose the regime are usually not considered as 'administrative detentions'.

General

Administrative detentions are defined in the law of many of the world's democratic states. Though it is not often implemented, following the September 11 attacks the United States passed "The Patriot Act", which expands the authority of U.S. law enforcement agencies for the stated purpose of fighting terrorism in the United States and abroad.

The procedure has been under criticism that it breaches human rights and there's been many discussions over the subject in the United Nations regarding it's use amidst the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as well as within the Arab world.

Israeli law

The procedure under Israeli law is such that when a person is deemed by authorities to be a threat to the public, he is placed in temporary detention without trial. Israel's legal basis is found in the British Mandate 1945 'Law on Authority in States of Emergency' as amended in 1979. the procedure is often applied by Israeli authorities to cases where the available evidence consists of information obtained by the security services (particularly the Shin Bet), and where a trial would reveal sensitive security information (such as the identities of informers or infiltrators,...)

Although it is commonly applied to alleged Palestinian militants and their accomplices, it has also been applied to Jewish Israeli citizens, including Jewish right-wing extremists (e.g. in the aftermath of the Yitzhak Rabin assassination).

Within Israel, the Defense Minister has the authority to issue Administrative Detention orders for up to 6 months in cases where there is a reasonable chance that the person harms the security of the state. The same Minister has the authority to renew such orders. Likewise, the Chief of the General Staff can issue such orders, but valid for only 48 hours. Law enforcement authorities have to show cause within 48 hours (in a hearing behind closed doors). Administrative Detention orders can be appealed to the District Court and, if denied there, to the Israeli supreme court (baga"tz). The District Court can annul such orders if it finds the admin. det. occurred for reasons other than security (e.g., common crimes, or the exercise of freedom of expression).

Within the West Bank and Gaza Strip, any local army commander can issue an administrative detention order, and the order can be appealed at the local military court, or, if denied there, at the Supreme Court. Here too, an administrative detention order is valid for at most six months, but can be renewed by the appropriate authority.

Evidence supporting the legality of administrative detention by an occupying power is found in Article 78 of the Fourth Geneva Convention 1949:

"If the Occupying Power considers it necessary, for imperative reasons of security, to take safety measures concerning protected persons, it may, at the most, subject them to assigned residence or to internment."

Overall supervisory authority on the application of the relevant law rests with the Minister of Justice.

Criticism by human rights groups

Amnesty International believes that the practice breaches Article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which "makes clear that no-one should be subjected to arbitrary detention and that deprivation of liberty must be based on grounds and procedures established by law". Amnesty International is also concerned that prisoners of conscience are being "held solely for the non-violent exercise of their right to freedom of expression and association". [cite web |publisher=Amnesty International |url=http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/engMDE150031997?OpenDocument&of=COUNTRIESISRAELOCCUPIED+TERRITORIES
title=Administrative detention: Despair, uncertainty and lack of due process
date=30 April 1997
] According to B'Tselem, as of August 2006 there are currently 645 Palestinians being under administrative detention by the Israel Prisons Service and 105 by the IDF. [cite web |url=http://www.btselem.org/english/Administrative_Detention/Statistics.asp |title=Statistics on administrative detention |publisher=B'Tselem] Most are kept in the West Bank in Ofer Military Camp or in the Ansar 3/Ketziot Military Camp in the Negev desert. [cite web |url=http://web.amnesty.org/pages/isr-action-detention |title=Administrative Detention |publisher=Amnesty International |date= 2006-07-27]

References


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