Overstepping their jurisdiction, the military police in Gaza continue to interfere in civilian cases. In the latest instances, the military police are holding one civilian in detention and maintaining a summons to appear in another. In doing so, the military police are disregarding the ruling of the Administrative Court and the orders of the Attorney General that the cases be dropped.
On 8 September 2017, the military police in Gaza detained Nabil Asaad Basal, 52, after he was involved in a personal dispute. While the Administrative Court in Gaza ruled, on 28 September 2017, that Basal should be immediately released, he remains in detention at the time of publication. Basal’s son confirmed that the military police have refused to release his father despite the court ruling.
Al Mezan also received a complaint from Ibrahim Ghanim Jaarour, 27, who was detained for three days by the military police and then summoned and pressured to resolve a dispute pertaining to an inheritance issue. On 3 October 2017, the Attorney General cancelled the arrest warrants against Jaarour and referred his case to the public prosecution. Yet the military police maintain a summons for Jaarour at the time of publication.
The public prosecution is the competent body to conduct criminal proceedings on behalf of the state or in the public interest. The public prosecution in Gaza has the authority to press charges, open investigations and bring civilians before a court, as stipulated in Article 2 of the Criminal Procedures Law No. 3 of 2001: “The Attorney General may initiate criminal proceedings either in person or through prosecutors.” Therefore, the military police in Gaza are operating outside of their jurisdiction, while also failing to adhere to the competent authority’s decisions.
Al Mezan holds that the military police’s exercise of power on civilians undermines the public’s access to justice and legal protections that are enshrined in Palestinian and international law, including under international conventions to which the State of Palestine is a signatory. Al Mezan expresses deep concern at the military police’s recurrent detention of civilians and refusal to execute judicial decisions.
Al Mezan calls on the military police in Gaza to adhere to legal procedure and to comply with the competent authorities’ decisions, first by releasing Nabil Asaad Basal and ceasing to summon Ibrahim Ghanim Jaarour.
Al Mezan calls on the Palestinian government to take all possible measures to ensure that civilians have access to their due rights and liberties, and to ensure the rule of law at all times.