War has a way of testing a country’s commitment to civil liberties like nothing else. It’s easy to be high-minded when you’re Switzerland. But when terrorists are flying planes into your buildings, as the U.S. discovered after 9/11,
the impulse to deny some suspects even the right to be brought before a
judge, a core tenet of any fair legal system, can be powerful.
Israel has been at war since its birth. How its legal system measures up is the subject of a gripping new documentary, The Law in These Parts. Shot
in a single room over nine days, the film draws its power not from
interviews with Palestinians—that would be the predictable approach.
Instead, director Ra’anan Alexandrowicz turns the camera on the military
judges tasked with imposing order and meting out punishment in the West
Bank and Gaza during more than 43 years of Israeli
rule. Some are defensive about their role in the occupation, others
proud. One judge admits knowing that interrogators were systematically
beating the suspects. Overall, an uncomfortable truth emerges: while the
judges had in mind a fair and lenient occupation, they ended up
rubber-stamping measures that could not possibly square with
international law—including land grabs, collective punishment, detention
without trial, deportation, and torture.
Read the complete story(Some news sites require registration)