Ramallah – Upon the initiative of a number of credible and community supported civil society organizations operating in the field of democracy, human rights and good governance, the Coalition for Integrity and Accountability “AMAN” is launching a national program to combat corruption. This program is aimed at advocating and consolidating the values of integrity, transparency and accountability in the Palestinian public labor sectors in order to build a national culture of anti-corruption and a system for national integrity.
AMAN has recently begun the implementation of the project for strengthening the efficiency and independence of the judicial authority with the funding of the EU at a value of 229,850 Euros. This project comes within the framework of AMAN’s objectives and directives which are intended to consolidate the principles of the rule of law and judicial independence in accordance with articles 97 and 98 of the Palestinian Basic Law.
The project will last for two years and target the three components of justice: the Supreme Judicial Council, the Ministry of Justice and the Public Prosecution. It seeks to consolidate the integrity systems in the judicial authority and its role and status in building national integrity. It further aims at consolidating public confidence in the judiciary and strengthening the right of citizens to resort to justice without any discrimination, favoritism or other impartial channels. Additionally, the project seeks to contribute to enhancing the abilities of judges and operators in the judiciary and the public prosecution in their fight against corruption by developing the Palestinian legislative system in harmony with the spirit of the UN convention to combat corruption. The project will also prepare young cadres who are expected to be involved in the judiciary, in particular law and public management students in local universities.
In this context, the AMAN coalition held an important meeting with the Head of the Supreme Judicial Council Faruid Al Jallad in the presence of Judge Azmi Tunjar (Head of the department of Judicial Search) and Mr. Majed Al Aruri (Head of the Media Judicial Center). The coalition also held another meeting with the Minister of Justice Dr. Ali Khashan during which Dr. Azmi Shu’eibi, the coalition’s anti-corruption commissioner, along with Ghada Al-Zughayyar, the executive Director of the project and Mr. Wael Al Haj, the project manager, outlined the main objectives and benchmarks of the project as a step in preparation for its implementation in partnership with all the stakeholders.
On 5 May 2010, AMAN held a workshop for 4th year university (senior) law students at the An-Najah University. The workshop was attended by 22 students and dealt with the code of conduct-blog related to the judiciary, and legislation and mechanisms of combating corruption. The students and the university administration lauded the role of the AMAN coalition in raising the awareness of the Palestinian public about the importance of getting involved in combating corruption, cooperating with civil and academic organizations and joining efforts in order to reach the goal of a society void of corruption.
In the same context, Mr. Wael Al Haj, the project manager, presented a detailed outline of the work undertaken by AMAN’s various programs and projects. He thanked the university administration and students for hosting AMAN and expressed AMAN's gratitude towards the EU for its help and assistance to the Palestinian people and its organizations.
This EU funded project aimed at strengthening the efficiency, independence and accountability of the judicial authority falls within AMAN’s objectives and scope and is being implemented since February 2010. It targets one of the most important Palestinian sectors, namely that of justice with its three components: the Supreme Judicial Council, the Ministry of Justice and the Public Prosecution. AMAN views the sector of justice as one of the most important pillars of national integrity, particularly considering the fact that it is this institution that consecrates the rule of law, which in turn must be the overarching principle over a sound society.
The project is based on AMAN’s conviction of the importance of judicial independence, which is guaranteed by article 97 in the Basic Law as well as articles 75 and 76 which definethe relationship between the executive and judicial authorities. Through this project, AMAN seeks to implement and support the Basic Law and the Judicial Authority Code of 2002 as well as to consolidate the role and status of the confidence of the Palestinian public in the judiciary. It further strives to enhance judicial accountability and contribute to the support of the supreme judicial council in its efforts to build and improve the capacity and efficiency of the Judiciary and those who occupy judicial posts in the field of fighting corruption.
In its efforts to prepare young cadres who are expected to be involved in the Judiciary, AMAN is targeting 100 4th year (senior) law students in Palestinian universities to sensitize them to the code of conduct-blog related to the Judiciary. AMAN will also work with the Palestinian public in order to raise their awareness and confidence in the Judiciary by conducting awareness campaigns in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Additionally, AMAN expects to come out with a legal terms of reference that will regulate the work of the stakeholders of justice within this project.
AMAN seeks to achieve these objectives through a number of meetings, workshops, training and analytical reports, hearing sessions and national conferences as well as other interventions that seek to assist the Supreme Judicial Council to adopt a number of written and declared mechanisms to strengthen integrity, transparency and accountability in the related council’s sections.