In response to the controversy sparked by Fateh leader, Tawfeeq Al-Tirawi, of what he called violations practiced by the Head of the Higher Judicial Council, Dr. Azmi Shuaibi, AMAN’s Board Advisor on Corruption, said that the power struggle between the two major parties has brought an end to the role of the Palestinian Legislative Council since 2007. He further expressed his fear that this power struggle over centers of influence, between individuals, will eliminate the role of the Palestinian Judiciary as well. Dr. Shuaibi stressed that damaging the two main powers of the state (legislative and judicial) will destroy the constituents of the Palestinian system , which is based on the separation of powers, and will transform it into a totalitarian regime controlled by interests of individuals and centers of influence.
In his published statement, Trawi said that “Sami Sarsour, Head of the Higher Judicial Council, as well as the Head of the Supreme Court, has been abusing his position for personal benefits”, which led to the destruction of the text and spirit of the law, point blunt. He said that such actions will no doubt lead to a “National catastrophe that will cost the law its respect, value and status, as well as eliminate citizens’ confidence and trust in the law. The law will no longer be the refuge that guarantees his/her right and or protect them against extortion and domination.”
In addition, Trawi added that “violations” committed by the Head of the Higher Judicial Council included: “ He was not pleased with President Abass appointing the First Deputy to the Head of the Supreme Court, as his First Deputy; he accused Sarsour, along with other judges of forming clans, hence practicing nepotism and cronyism among judges in the Supreme Court. He also said that Sarsour applied the policy of recruiting personal allegiances by way of applying the carrot and stick policies at work (i.e., exploiting his position as the Head of the Court”.
It is worth noting here, that the Supreme Constitutional Court had issued its first decision since its establishment and that is the case No. (1), which was in regard to the interpretation of applying articles (18&20) of the Judiciary Law, as both these articles are related to judicial office procedures and terms of appointing Supreme Court judges. This came about after filing an appeal against the President’s appointment of Judge Imad Salim as First Deputy to the Head of the Supreme Court, and First Deputy to the Head of the Higher Judicial Council, and the controversy which accompanied the decision. It is also worth noting that Judge Salim was recommended by the Higher Judicial Council along with three other judges who were recommended by the Supreme Court for the positions of Head of the Higher Judicial Council and Head of the Supreme Court.
In that regard, the Supreme Constitutional Court’s decision was contradictory to the decision of the Supreme Court’s which cancelled the two decisions issued by the President concerning appointing Judge Imad Salim as deputy to the Head of the Higher Judicial Council and as First Deputy to the Head of the Supreme Court. The case against the Judicial Council was dismissed since the Council was not involved in issuing the two decisions.