Israeli Supreme Court on Detention of Asylum Seekers

Israeli Supreme Court: Detention of Asylum Seekers Violates Right to Liberty and Human Dignity

Reuven Ziegler

On September 22, 2014, the Israeli Supreme Court sitting as a High Court of Justice quashed the Prevention of Infiltration Law (Amendment no. 4). The amendment enacted two schemes: first, section 30A, authorizing the detention for one year of any “infiltrator” (a term introduced by the above law) entering Israel after the amendment’s coming into force. Second, Chapter D, authorizing the holding in an “open” residency center of “infiltrators” whose removal from Israel (according to the State’s official determination) proves to be “difficult.” According to the legislation, “infiltrators” are to be held indefinitely unless they “voluntarily” agree to return to their state of origin, or to be transferred to a third state.

Justice Uzi Vogelman authored the main judgment, which holds both legislative schemes to be in violation of the constitutional rights to liberty and to human dignity enshrined in Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty, by failing to satisfy the proportionality requirement in section 8 thereof.

Almost a year to the day, on September 16, 2013, the same panel quashed Amendment no. 3 that authorized the detention of “infiltrators” for three years. This is the first time that the Supreme Court has re-annulled primary legislation.

Read the original judgment (in Hebrew) and Dr. Ziegler’s full analysis of the judgment.

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