On the 28 March 2000 the Knesset (Israeli Parlement) approved an amendment to the Military Legal Code, regarding the reduction of the length of soldiers’ detention period, which commanders and officers of the military police are authorized to instruct, before the soldiers are brought before a judge to assess the extension of the detention. The Military Legal Code has determined until now, that a commander is authorized to approve the detention of a soldier to a maximum period of seven, and a military police officer is authorized to approve the detention of a soldier to a maximum period of 96 hours, before the soldier is brought before a judge to assess the detention. The main corrections are as follows:
1. The maximum detention period of a soldier of which a military police officer is authorized to instruct has been reduced from 96 hours to 48 hours. Only in very extreme cases or when it is a criminal offence, a military police officer, bearing the rank of at least Lt. Col., can extend the detention for a further 24 hours, and even this only after receiving permission from a military advocate.
2. Another important directive added to the Military Justice Law in this correction regards to hearing the pleas of an arrested soldier that has not yet received an arrest warrant from a military police officer. It is determined that such a soldier will be notified of his right to express his plea regarding his arrest. The soldiers plea will be written and shown to a military police officer before he issues an arrest warrant against the soldier. Even if a soldier is arrested in accordance with an existing arrest warrant, his plea will be brought before a military police officer authorized to approve the arrest. This directive is meant, among other things, to ensure that the military police officer who instructs upon or authorizes the arrest will have entire considerations and data needed to make a decision. It should be clarified that the claims regarding the arrest may include things which don’t relate directly to the offence of which the soldier is suspected, but to his family status and so forth.
3. Due to the reduction of the length of detention, problems could occur in cases when the detention expires on Saturdays and holidays. Therefore, the correction includes instructions regarding the time of the soldier’s arraignment when the arrest is due to expire on a Saturday or holiday.
4. The period of arrest of which commanders are authorized to approve has been reduced from seven days to 48 hours, and only in special cases which regard operational or marine activity, a commander can extend the soldier’s arrest for a further 48 hours. After this period, a judge’s permission is necessary to keep the soldier in detention.
5. This correction will enter into effect with it’s official publication in the next few days.