On Tuesday 26 June 2012, the Al Mezan Center for Human Rights organized a special meeting entitled “The Future of Judicial Authority after Palestinian Reconciliation,” held at Laterna restaurant in Gaza City.
A number of judges, public prosecutors, academics, lawyers, representatives of civil society organizations, and journalists attended the meeting.
Adnan Al Hajjar, coordinator of the technical assistance unit at Al Mezan, led the meeting.
He described the judicial system as one of the main bases of justice and the rule of law, being the body authorized to protect individual and public freedoms and rights, monitor the legality of laws and regulations, and confront violations by the executive and legislative authorities.
Al Hajjar discussed several issues with the participants, including the fate of Gazan court sentences in light of the decision of the High Judicial Council in its session of 27 November 2007 to deem all such sentences null and void.
The meeting also discussed mechanisms to unify the Palestinian judicial sector in the midst of the internal split and the role of the judiciary in achieving Palestinian reconciliation.
The meeting concluded by issuing recommendations to: · Create a committee of senior lawyers, judges, experts, and representatives of civil society from the Gaza Strip and the West Bank to put forth a vision for mechanisms to unify the judicial system and implement legislation related to the rule of law in a way that will ensure the independence of the judiciary; · Ensure the financial and administrative independence of the judiciary; · Create a constitutional court to review laws and regulations issued by both governments in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank; · Create a specialized institute for the training of judges and public prosecutors as part of the development of the judicial system; · Develop specialization within the judiciary and create an independent judicial administration encompassing judges, prosecutors, and administrative and technical employees in the courts; · Hold more meetings in cooperation with Al Mezan and other human rights organizations.
At the end of the meeting, Dr.
Adnan emphasized the necessity to ensure the honesty and independence of judges and lawyers.
It is worth noting that this is the first meeting to bring together judges, prosecutors, and lawyers to discuss the state of the judiciary and its future following Palestinian reconciliation.
This meeting constitutes one component of the “Enhancing Legal Aid for Victims of Human Rights Violations in the Gaza Strip” project, implemented by Al Mezan with support from the United Nations Development Program - Program of Assistance to the Palestinian People (UNDP/PAPP, Rule of Law Program).