Areas of Engagement and Functions
Machash is a nationwide department established in 1992, on the basis of the recommendations of an inter-ministerial team in conjunction with the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Police.
The functions of Machash are to examine suspicions of the commission of criminal offences (only) where police personnel are suspected of committing them and where the penalty is in excess of one year's imprisonment. Machash is also empowered to investigate such offences where the suspicion is that they have been committed by civilians together with police personnel.
The basis of authority for the activity of Machash is enshrined in Amendment No. 11 of the Police Ordinance [New Version] 5731-1971. Sections 49I and 49K of the Ordinance, which provides, as a general rule, that in respect of any suspicion of an offence committed of a policeman, where the penalty prescribed for it by law is in excess of one year's imprisonment - the policeman will not be investigated by the Israel Police, but the investigation of his case will be carried out by the Police Internal Investigations Department, which is an independent body, at arm's length from the Police.
In addition to this, Machash is empowered to investigate suspicions in relation to the commission of offences by Investigators of the General Security Service in the course of their duties, subject to a decision of the Attorney General.
The Police Investigations Department processes thousands of complaints each year. Upon receipt of the complaint and after its initial examination by an Attorney, a decision is made as to whether the opening of an investigation is justified. Dependent upon the findings of the examination, it is then decided whether it is appropriate to prosecute the Policeman against whom the complaint has been brought, or possibly that it would be appropriate to close the file. In the event of it having been found that the appropriate course for investigating the complaint is the disciplinary track, the complaint is forwarded for further processing by the Disciplinary Department of the Israel Police.
If the Department has decided that there is a basis for the filing of an indictment against the Policeman, the case is processed further in the following way: Machash cases come under the jurisdiction of the Magistrates Courts in the Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Central and Southern Districts. Indictments are filed by the Machash Attorneys and they appear in the Courts. In the other cases the case file is forwarded to the appropriate District Attorney's Office where the file is examined in order to decide whether to bring an indictment.
Civilianization of Machash
In March 2005 a decision was made to fully civilianize Machash. As a result of this decision, regular staff work was carried out in Machash in order to study the structure, organization, employment methods and salary scales usually applicable in similar bodies (for example in the Office of the State Comptroller and the Restrictive Business Practices ["anti-trust"] Authority) and principles were formulated for an operative program of the actual implementation of civilianization.
The civilianization program is currently in advanced stages of preparation.