Under Clause 49i(1) of the Police Ordinance, the Attorney General or delegated authorities (the State Attorney and Deputy State Attorneys) have the authority to order the launch of criminal investigations of ISA interrogators, making them the proper address for complaints of torture.
In practice, before deciding whether or not to open a criminal investigation, a preliminary examination is carried out by the IIC). The IIC examines the complaint and sends her recommendations along to the officer responsible for the IIC , also an official in the Justice Department. The officer responsible for the IIC, having consulted the Attorney General or his delegee, may then pass the complaint on to the Attorney General for the purposes of criminal investigation.
Until 2013 the IIC was a position within the ISA, leaving the responsibility for ISA’s oversight in the hands of the very body being supervised, without any separation. Due in part to PCATI’s efforts, which brought this problematic situation before the Court and the “Turkel Commission,” a decision was made in 2013 to move authority over the IIC to the Justice Department. Nevertheless, from 2001 to date, over 1,000 complaints have been filed alleging torture and ill-treatment during ISA interrogations, yet not a single criminal investigation has been opened.
PCATI represents torture victims, aiding them after their interrogations in filing and following up on complaints with the Attorney General. Petitions are filed with the High Court in order to change the culture of obscurantism around torture in Israel: to force the launch of criminal investigations, to force discussion of the interrogation methods used and to enable documentation and transparency regarding interrogations suspected of involving torture. For example, a PCATI petition led in 2013 to the setting of a precedent allowing the perusal of the IIC’s investigation materials. In some cases forensic expert affidavits are filed to lend support to the torture victim’s version of events.