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ערנות לזכויות האדם - אל"מ (ע"ר)
העמותה עוסקת בניטור זכויות האדם בישראל, סדרי המשטר הדמוקרטי ומוסדותיו - בפרט מערכת המשפט ואכיפת החוק. העמותה עוסקת במיוחד בחקר תקינותן וישרתן של מערכות מידע ממשלתיות. עיקר פעולתה של העמותה בגילוי, ארכיונאות והפצת מסמכים, דוחות, מאמרים, פרסומים בתקשורת, הופעות בכנסים בנושאים אלה, וכן - בפעולות משפטיות הנדרשות.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

2019-02-22 Pre-litigation notice sent to Director of Administration of Courts, Judge Yigal Mersel, pertaining to illegal database of "critics of judges"

Pre-litigation notice sent to Director of Administration of Courts, Judge Yigal Mersel, pertaining to illegal database of "critics of judges"
Circumstances, where Administration of Courts - a unit headed by a senior judge - is engaged in blatant violations of the law, raise serious concerns regarding integrity of the judiciary and the rule of law in the State of Israel.
 

Judge Yigal Mersel - Director of Administration of Courts.
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Over recent weeks, we have been informed that Deputy Attorney General Raz Nizri has been engaged in negotiations with the Administration of Courts, following inquiries by Meshilut-NGO, demanding the "freezing" of an illegal database of "critics of judges", which is maintained by the judiciary.  The office of Attorney General repeatedly announced that the judges must not continue the operation of such database.  However, the Administration of Courts issued opposite statements. Under such circumstances, FOIA request was filed a month ago with Administration of Courts, asking all data, which had been collected in such database, regarding Human Rights Alert -NGO Research Director.  Over the past month, the Administration of Courts has refused to confirm receipt of the FOIA request, refused to issued a FOIA request number, and failed to respond on the FOIA request withing the time prescribed by law.  Therefore, pre-litigation notice has been filed today with Judge Yigal Mersel, Director of Administration of Courts.
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Tel-Aviv, February 22 - Human Rights Alert-NGO has filed today with Judge Yigal Mersel - Director of Administration of Courts - a pre-litigation notice (copied below). A copy of the notice has also been filed with Deputy Attorney General Raz Nizri.  Such notice has been sent to Judge Yigal Mersel following refusal of Administration of Courts to duly receive and enter, and duly answer on FOIA request, which sought all information, maintained on Human Rights Alert- NGO Research Director, in the Administration of Courts' illegal database on "critics of judges".
Conduct of Administration of Courts in this case should be deemed not only in violation of the Freedom of Information Act, but also in violation of the fundamental principle that an individual is permitted to inspect all information maintained about him by the authorities.  Moreover, refusal of Administration of Courts to enter and answer on the FOIA request raises concerns of related violation of the Penal Code - the Protection of Privacy Act.
The FOIA request was filed after it had been published that Administration of Courts had established and maintained an illegal database of "critics of judges", and the data had also been distributed to judges. [1]  The establishment and operation of such database is deemed criminal conduct - violation of the Protection of Privacy Act.  Such database is operated in addition to another illegal database - of judges and candidates for judicial appointments. [2]
Later, it was reported that following inquiries by Meshilut-NGO, negotiations were held between Deputy Attorney General Raz Nizri and Administration of Courts regarding the illegal database of "critics of judges'.  The office of Attorney General issued statements, saying that Administration of Courts agreed to "freeze" the use of the illegal database. [3]  However, soon afterwards, the Administration of Courts issued statements, which disagreed with the Attorney General in this matter.
Later, the office of Attorney General again issued statements that an agreement had reached to stop the operation of the illegal database of "critics of judges".  However, Administration of Courts has not commented on such statements. In parallel, the office of Attorney General asked the public at large to inform the office of Attorney General in case individuals were unlawfully approached by Administration of Courts regarding publications, which were critical of judges. [4]
Human Rights Alert-NGO has been filing FOIA requests on the Administration of Courts for about 10 years.  Already the 2012 Human Rights Alert periodic report to the UN Human Rights Council documented the failure of Administration of Courts to comply with the Freedom of Information Act - specifically in matters which pertained to fundamental rights of all residents of the State of Israel.  The Administration of Courts' failure to comply with the Freedom of Information Act was again documented in the Human Rights Alert 2018 periodic report to the UN Human Rights Council.
Administration of Courts is not alone in such conduct. Also the Central Election Committee, headed by Supreme Court Justice Hanan Melcer had refused to answer on a FOIA request, until a pre-litigation notice was filed with Justice Melecer.  And the Central Election Committee had also provided over the past 2 years a series of false and misleading responses on FOIA requests...
Circumstances, where Administration of Courts and the Central Election Committee, headed by senior judicial officers, blatantly violate the law, raise serious concerns regarding integrity of the judiciary and the rule of law in the State of Israel.
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The Human Rights Alert 2018 periodic report to the UN Human Rights Council focused on "fabrications" (fraud and deceit). It was incorporated into the 2018 UN High Commissioner of Human Rights' periodic report on Israel with the note: "... serious deterioration in integrity of law and justice agencies... integrity and validity of any legal and judicial record, originating in Israel, should be deemed dubious at best."
LINKS
[1]2018-11-11 האח הגדול עינו פקוחה: כך מרגלת מערכת המשפט אחר אזרחים בניגוד לחוק
צוות מיוחד עוקב אחר גולשים שביקרו שופטים ברשת ואוסף עליהם מידע מבלי לדווח לרשויות. ארגון ‘לביא’: “הנוהל אינו חוקי ויש לבטלו”. חלק א’ בתחקיר
https://mida.org.il/2018/11/11/%D7%94%D7%90%D7%97-%D7%94%D7%92%D7%93%D7%95%D7%9C-%D7%A2%D7%99%D7%A0%D7%95-%D7%A4%D7%A7%D7%95%D7%97%D7%94-%D7%9B%D7%9A-%D7%9E%D7%A8%D7%92%D7%9C%D7%AA-%D7%9E%D7%A2%D7%A8%D7%9B%D7%AA-%D7%94%D7%9E%D7%A9/
 2018-12-10 כתבתם פוסט נגד שופט? פרטיכם האישיים נכנסו למאגר
הנהלת ביהמ"ש מסרבת למחוק נתונים על אזרחים הכותבים פוסטים ברשתות החברתיות נגד שופטים, ובתנועה למשילות ודמוקרטיה הודיעו כי יעתרו לבג"ץ נגד ההחלטה
https://www.maariv.co.il/news/law/Article-674640
[2] 2017-06-13 האם מרים נאור מחזיקה מאגר נתונים לא חוקי?
האם לפנינו שערורייה אדירה בבית-המשפט? האמנם מישהו הקים מאגר סודי ולא-חוקי על מחשב חשאי בלשכת נשיאת בית-המשפט העליון, שנועד לאסוף מידע על מועמדים לשיפוט?
https://mida.org.il/2017/06/13/%D7%94%D7%90%D7%9D-%D7%9E%D7%A8%D7%99%D7%9D-%D7%A0%D7%90%D7%95%D7%A8-%D7%9E%D7%97%D7%96%D7%99%D7%A7%D7%94-%D7%9E%D7%90%D7%92%D7%A8-%D7%A0%D7%AA%D7%95%D7%A0%D7%99%D7%9D-%D7%9C%D7%90-%D7%97%D7%95%D7%A7/
2018-12-30 חוק וסדר? נחשף המאגר הסודי של המועמדים לכהן כשופטים
מאגר מידע המכונה "יהלום" כולל מידע מפורט על הציון שקיבלו המועמדים בקורס השפיטה • חלקם מונו למרות חוות הדעת הקשה - לאחר התערבות של שופטים אחרים
https://www.israelhayom.co.il/article/620245
[3] 2019-01-02 בעקבות תחקיר ‘מידה’: מנדלבליט הורה על הקפאת נוהל הריגול של בתי המשפט
היועמ”ש הורה על הפסקת השימוש במידע הרגיש על אזרחים שנאסף בניגוד לחוק, כפי שנחשף ב’מידה’. התנועה למשילות: “מקווים שהמאגר ימחק כליל”
https://mida.org.il/2019/01/02/%D7%91%D7%A2%D7%A7%D7%91%D7%95%D7%AA-%D7%AA%D7%97%D7%A7%D7%99%D7%A8-%D7%9E%D7%99%D7%93%D7%94-%D7%9E%D7%A0%D7%93%D7%9C%D7%91%D7%9C%D7%99%D7%98/
[4] 2019-02-10 פרסום ראשון: מערכת המשפט תפסיק לפנות למבקרי שופטים ברשת
לאחר שנחשף כי מערכת המשפט מקיימת מאגר מידע על בני אדם שמבקרים שופטים ברשתות החברתיות, והמאגר הוקפא, סוכם כי באופן זמני ייפסק הנוהל לבקש הסרת הפרסומים
https://www.maariv.co.il/news/law/Article-684312

Following is the pre-litigation notice, sent to Director of Administration of Courts, Judge Yigal Mersel
February 21, 2019

Director of Administration of the Courts, Judge Yigal Mersel
Administration of the Courts, Jerusalem
Fax: 02-6513191; Email:  pniyot

FOIA Officer Ms Sharon Saban-Safrai
Fax: 02-6556887; Email: hofesh-hamidal , SHARONS

Re: FOIA request on the Administration of Courts - information about Joseph Zernik, PhD, in the “critics of the judges” database – warning prior to taking legal action
 Ref: January 21, 2019 FOIA request and request for receipt confirmation January 24, 2019 Repeat filing and request for receipt confirmation
Dear Director of Administration of the Courts, Judge Yigal Marzel and FOIA Officer Ms Sharon Saban-Safrai:
On January 22, 2019, we first filed the FOIA request, pertaining to information about Joseph Zernik, PhD, in the “critics of the judges” database, and asked for  confirmation of receipt and due designation of a FOIA request number.  On January 24, 2019, we refiled our above-mentioned FOIA request and again asked for confirmation of receipt and due designation of a FOIA request number. Such FOIA request was filed and refiled by email, by fax and by certified mail with certificate of delivery.  Regardless, to this day, neither direct confirmation of receipt, nor designated FOIA request number have been received directly from you (we hold Israel Post and electronic fax confirmation of receipt). Moreover, we have not received any response on the FOIA request itself by the date prescribed by law. 
Absent due, adequate response on the FOIA request itself within 7 days, we would be compelled to employ all legal actions at our disposal.
Truly,
Joseph Zernik, PhD
Human Rights Alert – NGO (RA) 
PO Box 33407, Tel Aviv, Israel; Fax: 077-3179186
Email: joseph.zernik

CC: Deputy Attorney General (Constitutional-Public) Raz Nizri
By fax: 02-646-6849

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