Julie M. Norman

The question of how Palestinians should engage with the Israeli legal system is complicated for prisoners and detainees whose current and future situations, both individual and collective, are inherently intertwined with that system. Some prisoners reject the system completely such as when Palestinian prisoner Marwan Barghouti notably refused to present a defense to his 2002 charges, maintaining that the trial was illegal and illegitimate, or when 70 detainees in Ofer Prison refused to attend their military hearings in 2012. However, despite the symptoms of illegitimacy in the military court system including a systematic lack of due process (and over 99.7 percent conviction rate), the majority of detainees do attend their hearings and trials, and lawyers from human rights groups like Addameer continue to seek justice in individual cases through the legal system. In addition, prisoners, former prisoners, and human rights Non-Governmental Organizations have attempted to further collective rights by appealing to Israel’s Supreme Court and using international law mechanisms.