Mutual Legal Assistance

 
​The field of international mutual legal assistance in criminal matters concerns assistance in the struggle against intercontinental crime, via the creation of legal tools for the transfer of evidence, testimonies and other information between different countries.  The legal assistance tool enables the law enforcement agencies in Israel to perform judicial inquiries, seize chattels, forfeit assets and collect testimonies from witnesses living outside Israel's borders, all for the purpose of effective and comprehensive implementation of the criminal proceedings being conducted in Israel.

The use of the legal assistance tool between countries continues to prove increasingly important, mainly on account of the technological developments that allow offenders to extend their activity outside their place of residence.  The Department of International Affairs is involved in a large number of cases and investigations that require investigative activity outside Israel's borders and therefore constitutes an important element in bringing offenders to trial.

The Law regulating the field of legal assistance is the International Legal Assistance Law, 5758-1998.  In addition to the Law, the State of Israel is a signatory to several conventions regarding legal assistance, among them the European Convention, which is a multilateral convention signed by over 50 countries, and various bilateral conventions, such as the Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Conventions signed with the United States and Canada.  In many cases legal assistance is provided to and by Israel within the framework of the UN conventions dealing with specific subjects, such as the UN Convention Against Corruption, the UN Convention Against Drug Trafficking etc.

A considerable part of the Department's work in this field is in drafting requests for legal assistance on behalf of the State of Israel and tracking their implementation in the various countries via working relationships with the parallel departments abroad. In fulfilling this function, the Department works in cooperation with investigation and prosecution agencies in Israel and with the competent authorities in foreign countries.