Israel's AG says attacks on prosecutors who charged Olmert endanger rule of law
Yehuda Weinstein says personal attacks on State Prosecutor Moshe Lador and others involved in former PM's trial jeopardize independence of legal system.
State Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein defended on Wednesday State Prosecutor Moshe Lador and other prosecutors involved in the trial of former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, warning that personal attacks against the State Prosecutor's office constitute a danger for the independence of prosecutors and prosecution.
Following Tuesday morning’s acquittal of Olmert on almost all of the primary charges, voices within the public and legal sectors called for an investigation of the State Prosecutor and possibly even the courts, to see who bears personal responsibility for the decision made by law enforcement officials to formally indict Olmert.
In an email sent to state prosecutors on Wednesday, Weinstein wrote: "We are not looking away from the danger that exists in unrestrained personal attacks against prosecutors who fully perform their work with professionalism and integrity. State Prosecutor Moshe Lador is such a person, as are the prosecutors who worked on [the Olmert] case. Personal attacks of this nature are a covert danger for independence of prosecutors in general, a value that is integral to the upholding of law and order. Thus, it should not be allowed to happen."
He added: "as much as we are not happy when we achieve convictions, personal attacks against prosecutors following acquittals… of public figures will not weaken our hands in the ongoing struggle to maintain Israel's image as a nation of law and order."
Israel Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino also commented on the ruling in the Olmert corruption case. During the yearly conference of the Tel Aviv and Central District of the Israel Bar Association, Danino said, "The detailed ruling in the case of former Prime Minister, Mr. Ehud Olmert, and the entire legal procedure, in my opinion, are additional examples of the strength of the law enforcement agencies and court systems of the democratic State of Israel."
"If there is something that stands out from the ruling, it speaks for itself, that from both the conviction, and the acquittals, the prosecutors have learned the significance of the matter. I recommend against unnecessary exclamations and tongue-lashings that could tarnish the State Prosecutor's office and he who heads it. Moshe Lador is a moral state prosecutor, who boasts an impressive career of upholding law and order in Israel, and I am sure that the legal system will learn the lessons to be learned and continue to lead in this intransigent struggle, of the utmost importance to the State of Israel," continued Danino.
Tuesday's ruling on three cases of corruption came as a complete surprise to the prosecution, in light of the fact that senior State Prosecutor’s office officials such as Lador, and former Attorney General Manny Mazoz, were involved in the case. The two officials stood firmly against Olmert, and with the accusations made against him in indictments.
In an internal email among State Prosecutor officials sent in August 2008, Lador explained the reasons he decided to appear personally at Morris Talansky’s preliminary testimony. In the email, Lador hinted at assuming personal responsibility should the move fail.
“As you know, I’ve decided to personally appear at these proceedings, (the preliminary testimony) and I made the decision principally because of the ethical issues involved in this case make it necessary for me, in my current position, to appear at the courthouse. I will also bear responsibility for any possible outcome that can arise from this unique move,” wrote Lador.