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      New Watchdog for State Prosecution Starts Work

      Justice Minister Livni: new body will be an address for public complaints.
      By Maayana Miskin
      First Publish: 12/22/2013, 11:51 AM

      Justice Minister Tzipi Livni
      Justice Minister Tzipi Livni
      Flash 90

      On Sunday, a new body tasked with oversight of the State Prosecution and other prosecutorial groups in Israel will begin its work.

      Justice Minister Tzipi Livni wrote a post to Facebook on Sunday morning welcoming the new group, the establishment of which created controversy in the legal system. “Good morning to an important day,” she wrote.

      “I decided to establish this body when I entered office, and today I’m bringing the appointment of the first head of the body for government approval,” Livni continued. The first head will be Judge Hila Gerstl, she said.

      Livni expounded on the importance of the new body. “For the first time in Israeli history, there will be an address for complaints from the public, or from anyone who believes they have suffered wrong [at the hands of the prosecution],” she wrote.

      “For many years, there was a debate over whether a body like this was necessary. I believe that no person or group is immune to criticism, and I am certain that a body like this is important in order to strengthen public trust in the state prosecution, and in prosecutorial bodies in general,” Livni declared.

      Livni expressed confidence that Judge Gerstl “is just the right person to take up this important task.”

      The state prosecution recently took heavy criticism over the charges against Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, who was acquitted of fraud and breach of trust after a years-long investigation. Criticism centered on the fact that the prosecution had focused on Liberman for so long despite coming up with little evidence. Some called for Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein to resign.

      Livni defended the State Prosecution over the Liberman affair. “The law enforcement agencies and the courts act professionally in their fields, and even if one’s decision is different and even opposite from the other’s, each has a vital role in a democracy, and it is very important that we keep it that way,” she said.