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Public Committee Against Torture v. State of Israel

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Bloomberg Law

Citation. H.C. 5100/94 (Israel 1999).

Brief Fact Summary. The Supreme Court of Israel reviewed the lawfulness of utilizing physical means to interrogate prisoners.

Synopsis of Rule of Law. Israeli interrogators may not use physical means to gain information from criminal suspects; however, in criminal cases, under certain circumstances, interrogators are not prohibited from asserting the defense of necessity.


Facts. The General Security Service (GSS) is responsible for investigating crimes against Israel’s security. Directives issued to GSS interrogators permitted investigators to apply physical means against suspects. The thinking behind employing such methods is that it saves lives by helping investigators obtain information to prevent terrorist attacks. GSS interrogators were authorized to use physical means after weighing the urgency of the attack and evaluating the suspect’s health to ensure no harm comes to him. Many interrogations yielded information that directly prevented terrorist attacks.

Issue.
May interrogators use physical means against those undergoing interrogation to elicit information?

May interrogators facing criminal charges assert the defense of necessity for using physical means?

Content Type: Brief


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