IDF Amends Age of Majority for Youth Courts

A legislative amendment has raised the age of majority for IDF courts in Judea and Samaria from 15 to 18.

Tags: Yesha IDF
A7 Staff ,

Hevron rock throwers.
Hevron rock throwers.
Israel news photo: Jewish residents of Hevron.

A legislative amendment has altered IDF policy concerning who is and isn't considered a minor in Judea and Samaria - largely administered by the IDF civil administration.

According to the IDF spokesperson's office, as of Monday anyone who has not attained 18 years will be considered a minor for the purpose of legal proceedings in the region.

In 2009 a military court was established for youth in Judea and Samaria with special rules established by legislation to manage criminal proceedings against minors. For this purpose, a "minor" was defined as someone under the age of 15 years.

Practically speaking, trials for minors are required to be held before judges specially qualified to hear matters pertaining to juveniles, the juvenile legal proceedings are required to be held separately from adult's proceedings, as well as separate jails and detention facilities between minors and adults being required.

In addition, minors are entitled to council at the public expense, to have their parents present at their hearing, and to have social services advocates assigned to their case. Additionally, minors must be advised of their right to consult with an attorney before questioning.

"The legislative amendment is a significant step further and protect the rights of minors in the West Bank," the IDF spokesperson's office said.

The policy change is seen as a double-edged sword by many who note a significant number of Arab boys between 15-17 are involved in rock throwing and fire-bombing attacks in the region, as well as being prime targets for recruitment by terror groups.

Hakim Awad, who was sentenced to five life sentences plus five years for his role in slaying of five members of the Fogel family, was 17-years old when the brutal murders were committed on March 11.