Moshe Katsav Jan. 1, 2011 (Eliyahu Hershkovitz)
Moshe Katsav after attending synagogue on Saturday, Jan. 1, 2011. Photo by Eliyahu Hershkovitz
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A third of the Supreme Court justices will apparently have to recuse themselves from hearing the appeal ex-President Moshe Katsav is expected to lodge against his rape conviction last week.

Five of the 15 Supreme Court justices were on the expanded bench that heard appeals by social action groups and three complainants in July and October 2007 against the plea bargain with Katsav.

They are Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch, Vice President Eliezer Rivlin and justices Ayala Procaccia, Edmond Levy and Asher Grunis.

The plea deal, which Katsav rejected in April 2008, included an indictment for indecent assault, sexual harassment and witness tampering.

It also included the prosecution's recommendation that Katsav receive a suspended sentence and compensate the complainants.

On Thursday, Katsav was convicted of twice raping one of the complainants, the woman known as A. from the Tourism Ministry.

The judges who heard the petitions also heard the state's arguments, which detailed the state's main difficulties in deciding how to proceed.

This included evidence concerning A. from the Tourism Ministry.

When it accepted the plea bargain, the court ruled that around 50 pages outlining these difficulties would remain confidential.

'An evidentiary dilemma'

Regarding that part of the testimony, Procaccia wrote: "The state's position is understandable and indicates the evidentiary dilemma it faced during the decision-making process, which eventually ended with the choice of an alternative to the plea bargain."

The judges, however, refused to look at the raw evidence, including the complainants' testimony, so as not to evaluate any evidence, which was the task of then-Attorney General Menachem Mazuz.

Also, a few hours after the verdict, Beinisch said Thursday was "a sad day. But perhaps this is also a day that shows what equality before the law is."

A spokeswoman for the courts administration declined to comment.