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Israel: Former President of the State’s Conviction in Sex Offenses Reaffirmed

(Nov. 30, 2011) On November 10, 2011, Israel's Supreme Court rejected an appeal by the former President of the State, Moshe Katzav, of his conviction on charges of serious sex offenses, including rape, indecent acts, and sexual harassment, as well as interfering with judicial process. The Court held that the actions committed by the appellant were “despicable and harmful.” (C.A 3372/11 Katsav v. State of Israel [in Hebrew], STATE OF ISRAEL: THE JUDICIAL AUTHORITY (last visited Nov. 26, 2011.))

The Court rejected the appellant's arguments against the trustworthiness of the complainants' testimonies against him. It accepted the district court's conclusion that the prosecution had proved a pattern of criminal behavior by the appellant.

The Court rejected the appellant's appeal of his sentence of seven years' imprisonment, probation, and monetary compensation to the victims. The Court further rejected the appellant's request for leniency based on the personal and professional toll he had incurred as a result of falling from the high official positions of President, Deputy Prime Minister, and Minister of Tourism to the status of a convicted sex offender.

The Court determined that the high positions held by the appellant had required him to serve as a role model to his subordinates. The Court held that the appellant's high official positions did not entitle him to leniency. On the contrary, the Court stated, the appellant's use of his stature to commit the despicable offenses of which he was convicted and to disrupt the legal proceedings against him while serving in such high positions required the imposition of tough penalties that would serve as a deterrent. (Id.)