Following Gisha’s petition: COGAT will publish annual reports
January 28, 2014. Following a petition filed by Gisha, the office of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) admitted that it had not published annual reports, in contravention of the Freedom of Information Act of 1998. According to the act, COGAT has been under an obligation to submit annual reports since 2000, but the unit has failed to publish a single report in the 13 years that have gone by.
Gisha argued, via Adv. Nomi Heger, that as an agency entrusted with government policy in the occupied Palestinian territory, COGAT’s operations relate to one of the country’s most pressing issues, and one that is on the public agenda. Gisha said that COGAT must therefore be transparent in respect to both its actions and its officials, as required by law and like any other public authority.
At the hearing held yesterday, Judge Dr. Daphna Avnieli, accepted the respondents’ undertaking to retroactively publish an executive summary of the 2011 annual report and the full report for 2012. The judge ruled that COGAT must henceforth publish the annual report by the deadline set forth in the act – no later than July 1st of the following year. The judge also ordered the respondents to pay Gisha 7,500 NIS in costs and legal fees.