TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — Israel’s attorney general told Benjamin Netanyahu that his government should not get involved in the country’s proposed overhaul of the country’s judicial system because it creates a conflict of interest over the prime minister’s corruption trial. . in a letter published Thursday.
Netanyahu’s new far-right government has put changes to the legal system at the center of its legislative agenda, undermining the Supreme Court and restricting judicial oversight of politicians in policymaking despite growing public criticism. We are taking steps to mitigate it.
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Attorney General Gary Bahalaf Miala’s office also released her legal opinion on the proposed changes, striking a “severe blow to the Israeli government’s system of checks and balances” and giving the executive branch and parliament “extensive support.” and give them virtually unlimited powers.” ”
Netanyahu is on trial for fraud, breach of trust and accepting bribes in a string of scandals involving influential media moguls and wealthy officials. he denies wrongdoing.
“As part of my role as prime minister, I must avoid getting involved in initiatives related to the legal system,” Bakharaf Miara wrote to Netanyahu in a letter sent Wednesday. He said it also meant he could not direct others to proceed with the plan.
The letter included an opinion on behalf of Bahraf Miala, who said the overhaul “will benefit the prime minister with respect to the administration of his trial”. He said it would make it easier to proceed.
The leaders of Netanyahu’s government said they “completely rejected” the attorney general’s position and sought to block law reform.
Amir Fuchs, a senior fellow at the Israel Institute for Democracy, a Jerusalem think tank, said Bahlav Miala’s position would not affect the progress of the plan. He said the Attorney General’s position was binding, meaning Netanyahu could not deal with legal changes, nor could anyone politically appointed to replace him. Government ministers should be able to, he said.
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The judicial reform was initiated by Netanyahu’s close friend, the country’s justice minister, and Israeli leaders touted it as the right step for the country.
In an interview with CNN this week, when asked about judicial reform moves by the leaders during the trial, Netanyahu said, “None of the reforms we’re talking about… have anything to do with my trial.” rice field.
Baharav-Miara’s stance is likely to deepen Israel’s rifts over judicial power that have roiled the country since the government came to power late last year.
The plan would allow a simple majority of the 120-seat National Assembly to overturn decisions of the Supreme Court that deem laws unconstitutional. This would give the government more power over the appointment of judges. It is also possible that government ministers may ignore the advice of their legal advisers, reducing the independence of their position.
Critics say the plan would overturn Israel’s system of checks and balances and strip minorities from the Supreme Court, the ultimate protector of minority rights. They say it would give politicians too much power and destroy the foundations of Israeli democracy. The plan has faced wide-ranging opposition, from legal officials to economists, the country’s strong technology sector, and tens of thousands of ordinary Israelis who have come out to protest the move.
The government says the plan is important for streamlining governance and redressing the power imbalance between the country’s executive and judicial branches.