“There are judges who are not familiar with the word ‘acquittal.’ As soon as they see an indictment they can already write the verdict,” says Judge Shelly Timan. “Once I told a judge on a panel that I saw certain problems with the evidence in the case. I didn’t even mention an acquittal. He said, ‘Do you have any idea what they will do to us if we acquit?'”
What is the explanation for the huge proportion of convictions in Israel?
“Judges are flesh and blood. Each of them brings with him the education he received at home, an agenda, his past, his outlook, his professional background. Even though not every judge who comes from the ranks of the state prosecution is pro-prosecution, you can’t get away from that. People who spent most of their career in the prosecution have a hard time being defense-oriented. But beyond that, it’s an attitude.”
“It is not necessary to prove use of force. The present court situation is such that a woman who alleges she has been raped doesn’t have to budge, because she is apparently fossilized and cannot utter a sound. The judge is not given additional tools apart from placing his belief in one of the parties – the complainant or the accused.
“The problem is that it is very difficult to fight against this after 25 years, when there is no evidence. A person can complain about something his parents did to him until the age of 38. With the exception of crimes perpetrated by the Nazis and their henchmen, there is no other offense like this, to which the statute of limitations does not apply.
… Take note that a woman who makes a false complaint is not placed on trial, on the grounds that complainants [in sexual-abuse cases] should be encouraged.”