The Military Advocate General’s Corps is comprised of several divisions and is currently commanded by Brigadier General Avi Mandelblit, assisted by the Deputy Military Advocate General Colonel Danny Efrony.
The Military Advocate General
The Military Advocate General is a member of the General Staff, but acts legally independent of and is not subject to the direct orders of the Chief of Staff or other superior officers. The Military Advocate General is appointed by the Minister of Defense by recommendation of the Chief of Staff. The decisions and legal opinions of the Military Advocate General are considered determinative in all areas relating to law and the military and must be adhered to by all bodies of the military.
Deputy Military Advocate General
The Deputy Advocate General assists the Military Advocate General in his duties, coordinates and administers the general operations of the entire Military Advocate General’s Corp and acts as substitute for the Military Advocate General in his absence.
The MAG Corps is divided into the following divisions:
Office of the Chief Military Prosecution
The Chief Military Prosecutor is in charge of initiating and managing prosecutions within the military as well as in Judea and Samaria (primarily terror offences committed by Palestinians). Military prosecutors are authorized to file indictments vis-א-vis violations of military and civil law, responsible for arraignments under disciplinary charges, as well as the closure of files that have been previously opened for investigation. In addition, units within the prosecutorial division are responsible for appeals to individual district military courts of appeals (including those in Judea and Samaria) and appeals to the High Court of Justice. Military offences according to the Military Justice Law include: absence without leave, disobeying orders, crimes of violence against other soldiers and officers. Civilian offences include: stealing, drugs, murder and other violent offenses.
Office of the Chief Military Defense Office
The Chief Military Defense Attorney is -in principle- subordinate to the Military Advocate General, but in practice not legally bound and acts independently of the Military Advocate General. IDF Supreme Headquarters Regulation state: “Fulfilling his/her duty. The military attorney will not be under any authority, but for the good of his/her client, the defendant.” According to the Military Justice Law a soldier charged with a crime before a military court-martial is entitled to legal representation, provided for by this office. They also deal with requests for leniency in judgment, in pardon requests, and general counsel for soldiers.
Military Advocate Divisions:
o Military Advocate of the Central Command
o Military Advocate of the Southern Command and Ground Forces Command
o Military Advocate of the Northern Command
o Military Advocate of the General Staff Command
o Military Advocate of the Air Force
o Military Advocate of the Navy and Home Front Command
o Special Military Advocate for Absentees and Deserters
The International Law Department
This department provides legal advice to the IDF on issues of international and operational law, with particular focus on the application and drafting of legislation relating to international law and counter-terrorism operations. The department also provides routine legal advice regarding the laws of war, the laws of belligerent occupation and addresses humanitarian issues in Judea and Samaria, and the Gaza Strip. Permanent legal advisors from the department are stationed both in the Northern and Southern Commands to provide routine legal advice concerning all ongoing operations in those areas. In addition, a legal advisor is stationed at the Erez Crossing providing legal counsel to the district coordination and liaison office. The department also prepares responses to petitions before the Israeli High Court of Justice on issues relating to international law, including those that relate to universal jurisdiction. The department also serves as military legal negotiator for international negotiations and international relations, and takes part in the drafting and legal assessment of agreements regarding cooperation with foreign militaries. Officers from the department also continuously participate in international forums, conferences and seminars around the world regarding international law and the laws of armed conflict.
Legislation and Legal Advice Department
The department is subdivided into four sections: Legislation, Legal Counsel, Legal Counsel to the Medical Corps and a Welfare division. The department provides legal advice and opinions to the IDF on all issues of Israeli law and IDF orders. In addition, the department represents the IDF in the legislative process of the government on all issues relating to the military and prepares responses to petitions to the High Court of Justice against the IDF on internal/domestic issues that relates to military activities. Specifically, the departments provides constant legal advice to Military Intelligence, the Technological and Logistics Directorate, Planning Directorate, Human Resources division, Spokesperson Division, “Galey Zahal- IDF Radio and to the C4I division of the IDF. Legal counsel covers all areas relating to military law, administrative law, contract law, constitutional law, tort law, communications law, health law and financial law. Lastly, the department also provides advice to soldiers on issues concerning general military orders.
Legal Advisor in Judea and Samaria
The legal advisor in Judea and Samaria is charged with providing legal advice regarding military activities and military administration to the military commander of Judea and Samaria and to the head of the civil administration. In that role, the division has a difficult task in balancing security interests with humanitarian concerns and plays an active role in settling disputes between Israelis and Palestinians. The division provides legal advice on various aspects of municipal governance, planning and zoning, commercial activity and land registration. Additionally, the division also plays a major part in the financial war against terrorist organizations in both seizing terror-related funds and the tracking and arresting of individuals involved in those activities. Lastly, the division plays a central role in planning the route, determining passage arrangements, petitions to the High Court of Justice and compensation issues relating to the Security Barrier.
IDF School of Military Law
The school is responsible for the internalization of the principles and values of justice associated with IDF military law throughout the military. The school is primarily responsible for the training of all MAG officers and personnel in specific areas, legal training for military police officers and investigators, and legal training on a wide range of issues (including International Humanitarian Law) to officers, commanders and soldiers throughout the IDF. Consequently, the school organizes an instructional curriculum in areas of criminal, international and civil law. In addition, the school conducts legal research on all issues relating to military law and publishes a military law review both in Hebrew and English.
Recently, placed under the authority of the School of Military Law, the Non-judicial Punishment Section provides legal advice to commanders and soldiers on whether proceedings are conducted under law and according to regulations. In such cases, as deemed necessary by the section commander, the section may intervene and with the approval of the Deputy Military Advocate General may annul certain proceedings and refer the matter back to the unit commanders to be retried or dismissed altogether. The Pardons or Mitigation section provides legal opinions to the Deputy Military Advocate General regarding requests for pardons or mitigating prior punishments.