|05TELAVIV6717||2005-12-01 09:02:00||UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY||Embassy Tel Aviv|
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 TEL AVIV 006717
1. (U) Summary: At a program planning meeting November
29, 2005 in his chambers, Israel's Supreme Court Chief
Justice Aharon Barak and National Court Administration
President Judge Boaz Okun told the PAO, American Center
Director, and PD rule of law program specialist that he
places a high value on the vast two-way exchange of
legal models afforded Israel by the Embassy's active
program of speakers, exchange visits, and video
conferences touching diverse members of Israel's
judiciary. Barak said he hopes the Embassy will
continue to be able to send even larger numbers of
Israeli judicial figures on exchange visits to U.S.
courts and academic institutions and bring American
judges and legal experts to Israel to speak at seminars
on topics of mutual interest, such as the U.S. Bill of
Rights or Civil Liberties and the Global War on Terror.
In view of his upcoming retirement from the Supreme
Court in summer 2006, after nearly 28 years of
government service, Barak discussed his future plans to
write, teach, and speak in Israel and abroad, including
tentative plans for a stint at Yale University Law
School sometime in 2007. End Summary.
Barak: "Bring More Americans Here, Send More Israeli
Judges to the U.S."
2. (U) Barak suggested expanding on what he called the
"extremely successful" programs held to date, which he
and other judges have found highly valuable and which
they think have also been beneficial for the U.S.
participants. (Some of post's most recent rule of law
related programs in the last two years are described in
Reftel). He noted that each formal exchange visit, as
well as the many informal exchanges that occur thanks
to the extensive travel of many Israeli and U.S.
judicial figures in both directions, adds greatly to
the richness of each society, and helps continue the
harmonization of Israeli law with American law and
American law with legal systems of other countries. He
pointed out that he and U.S. Supreme Court Justice
Scalia are scheduled to be panelists in a debate in the
Law Faculty of Hebrew University on January 29, 2006,
focusing on "International Law in National Courts."
Barak pointed to what he called a welcome increase in
the study of, and interest in, comparative law in U.S.
law schools and in U.S. courts, adding that American
courts have lately begun to cite more frequently
international cases and precedents in their decisions.
Comparative domestic law and international law are both
becoming more important worldwide, he added, and the
legal field is not immune to the overall trend toward
3. (U) Justice Barak suggested the following ideas for
possible future Embassy programming and PD exchanges:
-- Send Judge Okun to the U.S. as soon as possible (in
a special IV or Volvis) to observe U.S. Specialized
Courts, including drug court models.
-- Organize an in-depth week-long seminar for Israeli
judges on the U.S. Bill of Rights or other topic with
top legal experts
-- Send several Israeli Judges to the U.S. annually,
and for longer periods of time, such as a semester or a
year, to teach in U.S. universities and consult with
U.S. courts. Barak said that these deeper, broader
experiences can enrich the Israeli judiciary. (PD will
follow up on this idea with ECA Citizens Exchanges and
the Fulbright Commission.)
-- Continue Embassy programs that focus on key court
administration/efficiency topics such as case
management, and the related fields of mediation, ADR,
and early and neutral evaluation.
-- Finally, Barak noted that an Israeli committee
established to provide recommendations to the GOI
regarding the future of mediation as an alternative to
judicial procedures would soon provide its report.
President Barak mentioned that the report will likely
recommend mandatory mediation for civil cases. PD
staff has met several times with the chair and members
of the committee, who have requested a DVC with U.S.
experts and possibly also a VolVis program in order to
study the most innovative U.S. models in the area of
mandatory mediation within the courts.
4. (U) Barak thanked the Embassy for what he
characterized as consistent and high quality
programming with Israel's judiciary over the years. He
and the PAO agreed that Embassy PD staff should set up
a meeting as soon as possible with Barak's designee on
judicial training and enrichment programs, Judge Boaz
Okun (who succeeded Dan Arbel as President of Israel's
National Court Administration in the summer of 2004).
Barak said he had tasked Judge Okun with developing
concrete input, including suggestions for speaker and
exchange topics and ideas and date timeframes, to
contribute to post's plan for potential exchanges,
speakers and other outreach opportunities in the medium
and long term.
Personal Plans, Possible Israeli Constitution
5. (SBU) Barak said that, for the first year following
his mid-2006 retirement, he plans to stay in Israel and
devote more time to writing. (Note: Barak has already
published an impressive number of articles and a book,
"A Judge on Judging: The Role of the Supreme Court in a
Democracy," while on the court. End Note.) In mid to
late 2007, he plans to teach for a short period at Yale
Law School, and tentatively also for a few months at
either Cambridge or Oxford University in the UK in 2007-
8. He emphasized that in general, he plans to spend
most of his time, at least until mid-2007, in Israel,
where his input seems to him most relevant and needed.
6. (SBU) Asked for his views on whether a draft Israeli
Constitution (which has been under development in a
process of town hall dialogues and in the Knesset's
Constitution, Law and Justice Committee) might be
brought before the Knesset during his remaining time on
the bench, he said that he does not expect a draft
Constitution or anything of that level of import to be
considered until after nationwide elections scheduled
for March 28. He did not speculate on whether the
effort to pass a Constitution would succeed or fail in
the long term.