Knesset passes bill barring police involvement in indictments

A law that forbids police investigators from submitting written recommendations to the prosecution on whether to indict a suspect became law after a two-day marathon of discussions. 

By: World Israel News Staff

After a filibuster that lasted more than 40 hours, the Knesset gave final approval overnight Wednesday to the so-called ”Recommendations Bill,” which forbids police investigators, except in rare circumstances, from submitting written recommendations to the prosecution on whether to indict a suspect.

The bill, which was passed by a vote of 59 to 54 as an amendment to the Criminal Procedure Law, does not apply to investigations already in progress before the bill went into effect, meaning the bill does not pertain to the current investigations into Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s alleged corruption.

The bill states that in probes overseen by an accompanying prosecutor, which is the case in most investigations involving public figures, police will not be permitted to submit recommendations to the prosecution at its own initiative, although the attorney general or state prosecutor could ask police to do so if they believe it is vital to making a decision on whether to prosecute.

However, police could attach a document to the file summing up the evidence with which it bases an opinion supporting allegations against suspects.

Towards the end of the debate, Yesh Atid Chairman MK Yair Lapid threatened to petition the law at the Supreme Court.

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked slammed Lapid, saying, “You are humiliating the Knesset and emptying it of substance. You are trampling on the legislative branch and have no understanding of judicial law. I am ashamed that after three days of debates and endless debates in the committee, you are still running to the High Court of Justice.”

The bill also states that public servants, including detectives and prosecutors, who leak the police recommendations or an investigation summary will be prosecuted under the existing clause in the penal code that calls for up to three years’ imprisonment for public servants who reveal information without authorization.

The bill’s explanatory portion states that ”the role of the police is to investigate facts while a recommendation is a subjective interpretation that encroaches on the territory of the prosecution, which is authorized to decide whether to place someone on trial, not the police.”