• Participation by invitation only

International Conference on the Use of Secret Evidence in Judicial Proceedings: Democratic Principles and Practical Experiences

The Israel Democracy Institute4 Pinsker Street, Jerusalem This conference was conducted in cooperation with Konrad Adenauer Stiftung

The presentation of secret evidence at criminal proceedings and other legal proceedings involving matters of national security is a tactic that several democracies have employed in their fight against terrorism. The use of such evidence raises concern in rule of law societies. On the one hand, states feel that it is necessary to use secret evidence in order to effectively fight terrorism. On the other hand, however, the use of such evidence undermines the integrity of the justice system and erodes the rights of terror suspects.

As part of IDI's Terrorism and Democracy project, in recent years, IDI has promoted discussion of issues related to the need to combat terrorism while respecting core democratic values. These discussions have included academicians, representatives of NGOs, and government officials, and have led to changes in government policies.

Continuing this series of meetings, on December 16–17, 2012, IDI convened an international conference devoted to Secret Evidence, Counter-Terrorism, and Criminal Law. Coordinated by IDI's Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer, Prof. Yuval Shany, and Dr. Amichai Cohen, this conference attempted to find a balance between the need to keep some evidence secret for reasons of state security, and the right of the accused to review all implicating evidence. Topics explored included:

  • The Current Law: Description and Criticism
  • Secret Evidence: Practical Experience
  • Secret Evidence: The Broader Perspective
  • Secret Evidence from a Comparative Viewpoint
  • Secret Evidence and Criminal Law Procedure
  • Suggestions for Reform

Participants in this event included former Supreme Court President Justice Dorit Beinisch, senior officials from the IDF and the Ministry of Justice, and academics from Israel and abroad.

IDI’s Terrorism and Democracy project will continue to study the subject of secret evidence, with a view to making recommendations on possible changes to Israeli law.