Practice Relating to Rule 160. Statutes of Limitation
Under Israel’s Criminal Procedure Law (1982), the period of limitation for the most serious crimes is 20 years and for other crimes 10 years.
Israel’s Nazis and Nazi Collaborators (Punishment) Law (1950) provides that there shall be no period of limitation for the crimes dealt with therein (crimes against the Jewish people, crimes against humanity and war crimes).
Israel’s Crime of Genocide (Prevention and Punishment) Law (1950) excludes the applicability of the provision of the Penal Code dealing with limitations.
In 1967, during a debate in the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly on the question of the punishment of war criminals and of persons who have committed crimes against humanity, the representative of Israel stated:
The Government of Israel had no difficulty in accepting the principle of the non-applicability of statutory limitation to war crimes and crimes against humanity, which was consistent with its legislation on the matter … As his delegation had stated at the 874th meeting of the [UN] Commission on Human Rights, on 24 March 1966, the principle was an established principle of international law and corresponded to a need of the international community. Since the draft convention [on the non-applicability of statutory limitations to war crimes and crimes against humanity] restated that principle in more formal terms, it could be accepted.