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Israel: Crime Register of Military Justice Offenders

(May 11, 2011) On March 28, 2011, the Knesset (Israel's Parliament) passed the Military Justice Law (Amendment No. 63), 5771-2011. This amendment is designed to limit registration in the country's crime register of soldiers who have been convicted by military courts.

In accordance with the Crime Register and Rehabilitation of Offenders Law, 5741-1981, the police must keep a crime register containing information on every person who has been the subject of a conviction or other judicial decision, such as a probation order or a finding of unfitness to stand trial. According to a brief note posted on the Knesset website, the new Law is designed to balance considerations of discipline and deterrence with the absorption of convicted soldiers back into civilian society following their release from military duty. It therefore provides for “a limited register” that will be open to a limited number of officials, especially security and law enforcement officials. Offenses listed in this register will be deleted after five years, rather than after the longer periods applicable to non-military offenders.

The limited registration process applies to offenders whose sentence either did not include incarceration or was for a period under two months, those whose penalty was for service work for a period of under four months, or those whose sentence did not exceed three months of actual prison time, part of which was served through military work. Limited registration will not apply, however, to offenders who were sentenced to imprisonment for a period exceeding six months. It will similarly not apply to offenders who were sentenced for three to six months of imprisonment in the absence of a court's expressed authorization that the matter be registered. (Military Justice Law (Amendment No. 63), 5771-2011, & bill, the Knesset website (both in Hebrew & both last visited May 6, 2011); Military Justice Law, 5715-1955, 9 LAWS OF THE STATE OF ISRAEL [LSI] 184 (5715-1954/55) as amended; Crime Register and Rehabilitation of Offenders Law, 5741-1981, 35 LSI 398.)