On April 4th, 2014 the Israeli High court of Justice (the HCJ) gave a partial ruling on petition 3368/10 & 4057/10 which requested that arrest and remand periods in Judea & Samaria (“The Area”) be shortened to mirror the periods in Israel.

The HCJ rejected most of the petitioner’s arguments, particularly with regard to arrest periods prior to indictment of adults suspected of security offences. On three remaining issues the HCJ requested further updates.

The petition was submitted while an analysis on the viability of shortening arrest periods was underway in the various relevant departments, an analysis which continued also while proceedings were ongoing before the HCJ.

The reasoning behind this analysis was the interest to shorten the arrest and remadn periods, thus improving suspect’s rights, while at the same time properly addressing the special security needs and unique nature of the area.

Between the petition’s submission and the ultimate ruling the area’s security legislation was amended to significantly shorten arrest and remand periods.

Thus, amendment 16 to the security directives order, signed February 2nd, 2012, shortened the period of initial arrest prior to seeing a judge; set a distinction between security and non-security (criminal) offences; shortened reamand for investigative purposes; shortened remand for the preparation of indictments; required that trial begin within 60 days of an arrest; and shortened remand for the duration of criminal proceedings.

Amendment 25 to the security directives order, signed November 28th, 2012, further shortened initial arrest and remand for the duration of criminal proceedings, with regard to minors in the area. The ramification of this amendment is large due to a prior amendment (amendment 10) which defined minors as all persons younger than 18.

Amendment 26 to the security directives order, also signed on November 28th, 2012, significantly reduced the list of crimes considered security offences.

Finally, amendment 34 to the security directives order, signed September 1st, 2013, shortened the period of remand for investigative purposes with regard to minors and equalized various other rules with regard to remand for investigative purposes to the  law in Israel.

The HCJ recognized in its ruling that the unique aspects of the area, including its complex security concerns, justify certain deviations in arrest and remand periods from those within Israel. In turn the HCJ rejected the petition with regard to remand periods prior to indictment, of adults charged with security offences. However, the HCJ requested that the state present an update with regard to arrest and remand periods of minors, adults charged with “non-security” offences and remand  fro the duration of proceedings.

The area’s military commander will examine these topics, while considering the changes made so-far and the existing differences between Israel and the area.