COMMITTEE AGAINST TORTURE
CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS SUBMITTED BY STATES PARTIES UNDER ARTICLE
19 OF THE CONVENTION
Conclusions and recommendations of the Committee against Torture
159. The Committee considered the initial report of Israel (CAT/C/16/Add.4)
at its 183rd and 184th meetings on 25 April 1994 (CAT/C/SR.183 and
184), and has adopted the following conclusions and recommendations:
160. Israel ratified the Convention on 3 October 1991 and made reservations
on articles 20 and 30. It also did not make the declarations to accept
the provisions of articles 21 and 22 of the Convention.
161. The initial report was filed in a timely fashion and was well
supported by the oral presentation of the delegation, which was both
focused and informative.
162. The Committee notes the way in which public debate is allowed
in Israel on such sensitive matters as ill-treatment of detainees,
both in Israel and the occupied territories.
163. The Committee is pleased to acknowledge the way in which the
Israeli Medical Association reacted to prevent its members from participating
in ill-treatment of detainees by filling in the "medical fitness
164. The Committee is pleased to note that the General Security Service
and police are no longer responsible for reviewing complaints of ill-treatment
of detainees by their own members, and that such function is now the
responsibility of a special unit of the Ministry of Justice. The Committee
is also pleased to note that Israel has prosecuted interrogators who
have breached domestic standards of conduct and has disciplined others.
165. There is real concern that no legal steps have been taken to
implement domestically the Convention against Torture. Thus, the Convention
does not form part of the domestic law of Israel and its provisions
cannot be invoked in Israeli courts.
166. The Committee regrets the clear failure to implement the definition
of torture as contained in article 1 of the Convention.
167. It is a matter of deep concern that Israeli law pertaining to
the defences of "superior orders" and "necessity"
are in clear breach of that country's obligations under article 2
of the Convention.
168. The Landau Commission Report, permitting as it does "moderate
physical pressure" as a lawful mode of interrogation, is completely
unacceptable to this Committee:
(a) As for the most part creating conditions leading to the risk of
torture or cruel, or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment;
(b) By retaining in secret the crucial standards of interrogation
to be applied in any case, such secrecy being a further condition
leading inevitably to some cases of ill-treatment contrary to the
Convention against Torture.
169. The Committee is greatly concerned at the large number of heavily
documented cases of ill-treatment in custody that appear to amount
to breaches of the Convention, including several cases resulting in
death that have been drawn to the attention of the Committee and the
world by such reputable non-governmental organizations as Amnesty
International, Al Haq (the local branch of the International Commission
of Jurists) and others.
170. The Committee recommends:
(a) That all the provisions of the Convention against Torture be incorporated
by statute into the domestic law of Israel;
(b) That interrogation procedures be published in full so that they
are both transparent and seen to be consistent with the standards
of the Convention;
(c) That a vigorous programme of education and re-education of the
General Security Service, the Israel Defence Forces, police and medical
profession be undertaken to acquaint them with their obligations under
(d) That an immediate end be put to current interrogation practices
that are in breach of Israel's obligations under the Convention;
(e) That all victims of such practices should be granted access to
appropriate rehabilitation and compensation measures.
171. Finally, the Committee expresses its wish to cooperate with Israel
and it is sure that its recommendations will be properly taken into