A workshop (WS) was held at AMAN headquarters yesterday to discuss the study entitled Strengthening the Role of the Judicial Inspection Department as an Important Tool in Monitoring the Judiciary Sector. The workshop aimed at examining the work environment of the department and the challenges it faces as well as to come up with practical recommendations that will reinforce the supervisory role of the Judicial Inspection Department to render it more effective and impartial.
The WS was attended by representatives of the Ministry of Justice, the High Judicial Council, the Judges’ Guild, and a number of SCO representatives and other stakeholders.
‘Anan Jab’iti, researcher and author of the study opened the WS by presenting a summary of the study and its main findings. She pointed out a number of challenges that weakens the effectiveness of the Inspection Department as a monitoring body one of which was the ambiguity of the terms and requirements for the post of the judicial inspector. The study reviewed the structure of the department, its authority, and the nature of tasks entrusted to it. The other challenge was the mechanisms for follow up on complaints related to the functions of the judiciary. The study concluded that the role of the Department was an unclear. It also found a lack of awareness of the nature of its role among many related parties. This seems to have led some lawyers to ask the Department to act as a party outside the legal framework for further appeal of judges’ decisions, which increased the possibility of fraud and loss of integrity.
Dr. Azmi El-Shua’bi, AMAN’s Commissioner for Combating Corruption, emphasized the significance of the judiciary’s role in building a national integrity system(NIS) in Palestine especially since it is one of the pillars of that system. The Inspection Department is an instrumental leader in the system of accountability for the judiciary in conjunction with other pillars of the NIS whose role is monitoring including CSOs and the media. Dr. Shu’abi also stressed the importance of advancing and developing the mechanisms used to monitor the judiciary.
His Honor Judge Fat’hi Abu Sroor, Director of the Judicial Inspection Department in the High Judicial Council, asserted that the work of the Department is a monitory role, in which experienced and qualified judges oversee the application of the rule of law by those who mete out justice for the people, ensuring that they are neutral and independent in the decisions they issue.
Mr. Khalil Qarajah, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Justice, pointed out the importance of including CSO in overseeing the judiciary to ensure the integrity of judicial decisions. He also asked that the post of President of the High Judicial Council and that of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court be separated for a more independent supervision of the Supreme Court.
Judge Ra’ed Abdel Hameed of the Judges’ Club recommended that, in addition to its currently assigned tasks, the Inspection Department should also undertake the supervision of the Attorney General’s office and the various departments in the Judicial Council.
The participants collectively agreed on the importance of defining the concept of overseeing/monitorng or judicial inspection, wherein it does not affect the independence and prestige of the judiciary on the one hand, and enhances the performance of the judiciary on the other. The participants also stressed the need to strengthen and develop the capacity of the Department, granting it the powers, responsibilities and resources to make sure it executes its mandate to the fullest.