UK lawyers probe Israeli justice

By Martin Bright, September 15, 2011
Baroness Scotland

Baroness Scotland

A group of senior British lawyers, including Shadow Attorney-General Baroness Scotland, visited Israel and the Palestinian territories this week to investigate allegations of the mistreatment of children under Israeli military law.

Answering a parliamentary question last week, Middle East Minister Alistair Burt confirmed that the delegation had the backing of the UK government.

"The UK remains concerned about the number of children currently being held in Israeli prisons," he said. "We raise our concerns with the Israeli government about the application of due process and the treatment of Palestinian detainees, including where children are involved, on a frequent basis"

He confimed that Matthew Gould, the UK ambassador to Israel, had raised this issue with the Israeli Ministry of Justice and that Mr Burt himself had done the same during a recent visit to the region. Mr Gould has also expressed UK government concerns about Israel's treatment of Palestinian children with Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar, and the Foreign Ministry's principal legal adviser Daniel Taub, who has just become Israel's ambassador to the UK.

Mr Burt announced that the UK consulate in Jerusalem had secured funding for the delegation.

The Foreign Office said: "A group of 10 independent British lawyers are visiting Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories to look into the issue of the rights of children under Israeli military law. Their programme includes meetings with officials from the Israeli Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as NGOs and legal experts. The visit has been organised by the British Consulate-General in Jerusalem, together with the Embassy in Tel Aviv. The group will produce a report on the visit and their findings for the Foreign Office".

Last updated: 1:42pm, September 15 2011