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Photo: Hagai Aharon
Barak. Appalled
Photo: Hagai Aharon
State of human rights in US 'appalling'
Former Supreme Court President Aharon Barak slams America's 'violations of human rights,' Israeli justice minister's attempt to limit High Court's powers

Former Supreme Court President Aharon Barak slammed the state of human rights in the United States Saturday, calling it 'appalling' and saying the Israeli High Court is doing a far better job of upholding rights laws.

 

Speaking at a forum on law at the Natanya College Barak said: "The Americans were caught with their pants down after 9/11... They are committing unspeakable acts and that kind of human rights violations could cost them dearly.

 

"Our High Court is ready to defend human rights in times of war as well as in times of peace." 

 

Speaking of Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann attempts to reform the High Court's powers, Barak said "there is no democracy without the segregation of authorities; there is no democracy without the judicial authority and no democracy without human rights.

 

"I was horrified when the government impertinently asked Supreme Court President Dorit Beinish where exactly it was written that it was she who held power over all the courts… in that moment, the line between the judicial authority and the executive authority was crossed," said Barak.

 

As for the connection between the legislative and judicial authorities, Barak said he sees the two as irrevocably intertwined: "There is no democracy without the Knesset and our laws are built to protect the Knesset."

 

But not everything, said Barak, can be made the subject of legal arbitration: "The question of what you can and cannot bring before a court of law will forever be debated on. The High Court is not above criticism, nor is it above being questioning. Nothing is."

 

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