On Thursday 27 December 2002, the Palestinian President, Mr.
Yasser Arafat, issued a decree appointing Mr.
Khalid al-Qidra as the State of Palestine General Prosecutor.
The new decree keeps the status of Palestinian State Security Courts, and according to Article 2 of the decree; the State Security Prosecution is to proceed its work and is to be annexed to the General Prosecution as one of its branches under the direct supervision of the Attorney General.
Al Mezan Center for Human Rights views this decision as: Providing legitimacy to the State Security Courts, which contradict the internationally accepted minimum standards of fair trial.
A breach of the Palestinian Basic Law, and providing unconstitutional cover to the State Security Courts and Prosecution.
An ambiguous decision in relation to whether the appointment came after a nomination from the High Judicial Council, as stated in Article 63 of the Judiciary Law, of 2002, and Article 98 of the Palestinian Authority Basic Law.
Giving the Attorney General the responsibility for State Security Prosecution would not legitimize State Security Courts and Prosecution.
The existence of these courts constitutes an infringement of the independence of judiciary, the rule of law and the principles of justice.
A breach of the Palestinian Courts Law No.
5/2001, letter and spirit, since it gives the State Security Prosecution the status of a branch of the General Prosecution.
While Palestinians have been waiting for effectuating the recently confirmed laws, namely the Palestinian Authority Basic Law, the Judiciary Law and the Palestinian Formal Courts Law No.
5/2001- which does not give place to State Security Courts or Prosecution- this decree comes to directly infringe the letter and spirit of these laws.
As such, Al Mezan Center for Human Rights appeals to President Yasser Arafat to cancel State Security Courts and Prosecution in harmony with the Palestinian Authority Basic Law and the Judiciary Law, and to reconsider this decree which keeps their status.
Al Mezan believes that all efforts should be made to ground and promote the independence of judiciary and rule of law, and to support the plan of reform adopted by the Palestinian Authority earlier this year.