The Public Discussion in the Courts During a State of Emergency
On November 12, 2023, we sent legal correspondence (Hebrew) to the director of the courts following complaints from citizens who sought to attend hearings in the courts but were denied entry to the courthouse. They were told that due to the security situation, all hearings are held behind closed doors, and a judicial decision is required to allow their entry into the proceedings.
In the correspondence, the President of ACRI, Attorney Dan Yakir, noted that it is unclear who gave the order and what the source of the authority is, and to the best of our knowledge, there is no authority to instruct that all hearings in the courts be held behind closed doors. He emphasized the importance of public attendance at hearings, especially during times of war, when media coverage of court proceedings significantly diminishes.
"We are, of course, aware that these are not normal days, and to the best of our knowledge, many of the security guards in the court security force have been recruited for reserve duty, making it difficult to maintain order in the courts," the correspondence stated. "However, the publicity of the hearings is a legal right and an obligation to make every effort to preserve it even in times of emergency. The proper solution is not a sweeping closure of all hearings in all courts, but a measured limitation on the number of attendees according to the manpower available in each court at any given time."