The Palestinian Judicial Institute recently hosted a meeting in Ramallah, Palestine on how to integrate international human rights standards into its education and training curricula.
The meeting brought together various groups in the justice sector, including civil society groups, to coordinate and support the different phases of the project. The project is part of the Raoul Wallenberg Institute’s MENA programme to support the application of human rights standards in Arab courts.
We sat down with Thuraya Judi Alwazir, a judge and the general director of the Palestinian Judicial Institute, to learn more about the meeting.
What do you think of the coordination meeting that took place?
The coordination meeting with the civil society groups, the representatives of the High Judicial Council, the Bar Association and Palestinian Universities was useful and very positive.
The objective was to get a sense of the most important activities carried out by the organisations attending in the field of guaranteeing fair trials, namely in the code of criminal procedures.
The meeting also had another objective which was to discuss a comparative study on how the State of Palestine complies with its obligations under international treaties on human rights. This study will determine to what extent the local Palestinian laws on criminal procedures are consistent and in accord with international treaties and principles in this field.
The size of the audience and the discussion bore witness to the large interest in the matter. The audience expressed their wish to cooperate and benefit from the results of the comparative study carried out by the Institute and the national team, as an initiative by the Raoul Wallenberg Institute.
An agreement was reached to develop this cooperation. The organizations attending will provide the Judicial Institute with all of their own published and relevant studies. The Palestinian Judicial Institute, with the participation of the organizations present, will provide a copy of the draft study and organize a second gathering to discuss it in detail.
Then, together with RWI, we will publish a training manual, based on the study, for judges and public prosecutors in line with the international standards of human rights. The Judicial Institute will hold a general workshop to introduce the manual. Then we will train trainers who will, in their turn, train the different judges and the body of public prosecutors on this matter.
What was the response at the national level from the civil society organizations, universities, legal bodies and other activist organizations during the meeting?
As I have mentioned earlier, the response was huge and positive. There is a sizeable interest in the work we do cooperating with RWI and a genuine desire for positive participation in this work, whether through debates or through critical reviews.
Participation came from different perspectives and interests as we are keen to have varied and balanced representation of relevant concerned organizations, such as human rights organizations, the Independent Commission for Human Rights, human rights organizations specialized in social issues, in addition to the Palestinian universities, in order to guarantee that we collect ideas that combine both practical experience and constructive academic criticism from these establishments.
We have particularly clarified that the study will not be limited to the Palestinian Judicial Institute but will be published and distributed to all participants along with any other party that wishes to view and benefit from the study.