The Supreme Court determined Thursday that Abraham Mondrowitz, who is accused of committing severe sex crimes against minors in the US up to 25 years ago, will not be extradited.
Mondrowitz, a psychologist by trade, resided in the US until 1984, when he immigrated to Israel. A few months after his arrival he was indicted in his home country on charges of sexual abuse of minors.
In 1985 the US asked Israel to extradite Mondrowitz, but the appeal was denied because at the time the crimes with which he was charged were not part of the extradition agreement between the two countries.
The agreement was amended in 2007, and in September of that year an additional appeal for Mondrowitz's extradition was filed.
The suspected sex offender appealed to the Supreme Court, and Justice Ayala Procaccia accepted his appeal. She explained that the extradition could not be approved due to the statute of limitations applicable to the charges, and that it would harm the suspect's right to due process.
"Due to the passage of time until the extradition process could begin, because of the circumstances in which the obstacle in the agreement was not removed when it should have been, we must reject the extradition appeal," Procaccia wrote in her verdict.
She added that the case exposed a tension that exists between bringing criminals to justice for the public good and assisting other countries in bringing to justice defendants believed to have committed offences within their territory, and the enforcement of legal norms in Israel designed to secure due process.
"The delay in the appellant's extradition process – currently measured at 23 years – which could have been prevented by an earlier amendment of the extradition agreement, places a legal and ethical obstacle before the completion of the extradition," the judge concluded.