The State of Israel will soon celebrate its 75th anniversary and this will see the use of presidential pardoning powers be expanded.
The announcement was made by Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar and President of Israel, Isaac Herzog. The new policy will give prisoners above the age of 75 special consideration for clemency.
It will also be applicable for veterans, disabled soldiers and individuals who contributed to the security of the country.
Plus, adults who had been convicted of crimes when they were minors and have proven themselves to be rehabilitated will also be considered.
This announcement was made days before the Jewish day of atonement known as Yom Kippur. It is also in accordance with Jewish law tradition of showing mercy to offenders who have mended their ways.
Herzog said that Israel’s history showed that pardons had been given in the past as well and said doing so because of a special national event is part of the tradition in various societies, including Israel.
He added that he wished to participate in this tradition for celebrating those values that are important. Therefore, in the 75th year of Israel’s establishment, they would extend a hand to others.
The Justice Minister
The Justice Ministry had cooperated for developing the new framework. According to the new rules, the requests for pardons can be made before the 76th Independence Day of Israel i.e. May, 13th, 2024.
Gideon Sa’ar, the Justice Minister, also addressed the policy and said that they had cooperated with the president on this issue. He also added that he and Herzog had the same values in this regard.
Sa’ar stated that the ability of a society to spare even those who harmed its moral foundations and protected values shows how humane it is and this is what the Jewish society is about.
The pardons will depend on the prisoners actually filing a request for one and the particulars of every case will be taken into consideration before a decision is made.
Likewise, the justice minister will also be asked to share his opinion.
A general rule dictates that prisoners convicted of manslaughter or murder, sex offenders, security offenses will not be pardoned, along with those who have committed crimes under the Military Court’s jurisdiction.
The factors that will be taken into account before granting clemency will include the severity of the crime, the circumstances in which it was committed, the duration of detention, the nature of the sentence, whether the offense was recurrent and the prisoner’s participation in the rehabilitation and treatment process.
As far as the regular pardon system is concerned, it will continue to operate in the same way for all prisoners.
Herzog had announced in the Jewish High Holidays last year in September that special consideration would be granted to soldiers who had committed crimes during their teens and were rehabilitated in their military service.
A stricter clemency policy was adopted by the president in December for domestic violence offenders, sex offenders and traffic offenders.