In response to a request this week by the United Nations’ Committee Against Torture (CAT) that Israel criminalize torture, Israel’s attorney general within the country’s Justice Ministry, Dr. Roy Schöndorf, confirmed that Israel is drafting new legislation that would outlaw torture of suspects during interrogation.
An Israeli delegation is currently taking part in a review by CAT in Geneva to determine if Israel is in compliance with the U.N. Convention Against Torture.
CAT’s chairman, Jen Modvig, strongly recommended that Israel “introduce the crime of torture as defined in the convention” because there has not been any “penalty…commensurate with the seriousness of the crime” defined in Israeli legislation.
The representatives from Israel were presented with a list of questions from the committee that ranged from the treatment of Palestinians to prisoner rights and administrative detention, the Jerusalem Post reported.
Meanwhile, the Jerusalem-based watchdog group NGO Monitor, which submitted a report to CAT in support of Israel, cited the “disproportionate focus” and “double standards” on Israel at the U.N., as well as in the submissions about Israel by other NGO groups to the committee.
“The NGO submissions relating to Israel generally erase the context of Palestinian terrorism, minimize Palestinian violence, and characterize individuals responsible for murder and other serious crimes as ‘political prisoners.’ They also seek to expand the definition of torture to include any form of discomfort inflicted on the prisoner, including swearing at them, and restrictions on family visits,” wrote Anne Herzberg, the legal advisor for NGO Monitor, in the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles.