Defense for Children International – Palestine publishes a report detailing international law violations by Israeli occupation forces in their treatment of Palestinian children who have been detained arbitrarily.
A report released today by Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCIP) highlights the systematic denial of fair trial rights to Palestinian children detained by Israeli forces from the occupied West Bank and prosecuted in Israeli military courts.
The report, titled “Arbitrary by Default: Palestinian Children in the Israeli military court system,” sheds light on the inherent injustices and arbitrary nature of the Israeli occupation forces’ practices in the arrest, detention, interrogation, and prosecution of Palestinian children.
Khaled Quzmar, General Director at DCIP, expressed his deep concern regarding the treatment of children, stating, “Even a superficial review of the detention and prosecution of Palestinian children in the Israeli military court system suggests severe risks of arbitrary deprivation of liberty. A full view, through the experience of Palestinian child detainees, exposes an inherently unjust system of control where arbitrary detention is the default practice.”
The report is based on affidavits collected from 766 Palestinian children from the West Bank who were detained by Israeli occupation forces between 2016 and 2022.
The findings reveal that three-quarters of the children experienced some form of physical violence following their arrest, while 97 percent were interrogated without the presence of a guardian.
Furthermore, two-thirds of the children were not adequately informed of their rights. The children were subjected to Israeli “military law”, which denies them basic fair trial protections and were prosecuted in a military court system that lacks independence and impartiality.
Arrested on suspicion
The majority of Palestinian children are arrested without arrest warrants, based solely on suspicion.
DCIP exposes the lack of independent oversight over these arrests. None of the 766 Palestinian children reported being provided with an arrest warrant at the time of their arrest, and a mere 14.5 percent received any information about the reason for their arrest. This means that 85.5 percent of the children were detained without knowledge of why they were being held.
Only 4.2 percent of the children reported receiving summonses for investigation and questioning from occupation authorities, and these summonses did not include any information on the suspicions or charges against them, failing to meet the criteria for an arrest warrant.
“Israeli military courts are not independent or impartial because they are composed of military personnel who are subject to military discipline and dependent on superiors for promotion,” Brad Parker, Senior Adviser for Policy and Advocacy at DCIP underlined. “From the widespread ill-treatment and torture of Palestinian children to the systematic denial of their due process rights emerges a system of control that masquerades as a justice where arbitrary detention is the default policy,” Parker explained.
The report concludes that Israeli authorities systematically fail to provide any legal justification for the deprivation of liberty imposed on Palestinian children detained from the occupied West Bank, thus violating international law by engaging in arbitrary detention.
The Israeli authorities consistently disregard and deny fundamental protections and guarantees related to the right to a fair trial, resulting in a system that appears to prioritize control over justice, with arbitrary detention as the default policy.