3 October 2005
Adalah to AG Mazuz: Your Decision Regarding the Review of Mahash's Report
by State Attorney's Office Violates the Basic Rights of the
October 2000 Victims' Families and the Rule of Law
On 29 September 2005, Adalah sent an urgent letter on behalf of the families of the victims of October 2000 to the Attorney General (AG), Menachem Mazuz, and the Director of the Ministry of Justice's Police Investigation Unit (Mahash), Attorney Herzel Shbiro, after Shbiro made an announcement that it had been decided that State Attorney (SA) Eran Shendar's office will review Mahash's report as if an appeal had been filed. This announcement, made during a television broadcast on 28 September, followed the claim that Adalah, as the legal representative of the victims' families, did not intend to submit an appeal against the report's findings to the SA or to the AG.
Adalah argued in the letter that AG Mazuz's position violates basic principles of the rule of law, as Mahash's report cannot be reviewed by the SA's office, which is headed by Eran Shendar. Shendar was the Director of Mahash during October 2000 and bears the main responsibility for Mahash's omissions and failures to investigate the killings of 13 Palestinian citizens of Israel immediately after the events. Adalah added that the report cannot be reviewed in a serious manner after Mazuz and Shendar publicly expressed their complete support for the report during a press conference held by the Ministry of Justice on 21 September 2005.
Adalah argued that the decision entailed a clear violation of the victims' families' right to due process. Adalah also clarified that it is incorrect to call a review by the SA's Office an appeal by the victims' families, as the families and Adalah, as their legal representatives, have not submitted an appeal or even received the investigation materials, although these were requested from Herzl Shbiro on 25 September 2005 before Shbiro's television broadcast.
Adalah stressed that Mahash's report should be reviewed in an independent and transparent manner. The AG's decision is an attempt to bar the victims' families from bringing a serious and thorough legal challenge before the Israeli Supreme Court, which is currently the appropriate legal authority for reviewing the report.