Supreme Court Justice Meni Mazuz today rejected Justice Minister Amir Ohana's request to disqualify himself from extending the tenure of State Attorney Dan Eldad. Ohana claimed that Mazuz was in conflict because of his past.
"The applicant contends that I should refrain from discussing the petition due to my past tenure as Attorney General, and in light of my remarks at the November 2014 conference," Mazuz wrote.
"In accordance with the law, an application for disqualification must indicate that 'there are circumstances which may create a real fear of impartiality in the conduct of the trial', including due to family proximity to the party in the proceeding, or a personal or financial matter in the proceeding or its consequences. This petition indicates no grounds as stated, lacks foundation, and in any event is rejected."
According to Mazuz, his past term as Attorney General that ended more than a decade ago does not prevent him from discussing matters pertaining to the Justice Ministry. "Over the years, quite a few legal advisors to the former government served in the Court, and it has never been determined that they are therefore ineligible to discuss matters pertaining to the Department of Justice, the Prosecutor's Office, or the Attorney General.
"These kinds of procedures are discussed in our daily routine. Disputes between legal advisors and justice ministers are also nothing new or unusual, and they have accompanied the legal counsel for generations, at various levels, from the very inception of the State to the present day."
Mazuz responded to citations brought by Ohana from a legal conference last year in Haifa, where the judge criticized the Justice Minister. According to Mazuz, "the petitioner was not specifically referred to (Minister Ohana), or any concrete action or decision by him, but in general, while the example actually cited referred to the Environmental Protection Minister. These words contain no personal position on the Minister, or any concrete action or decision taken by him, and therefore does not in any way establish a cause for disqualification."