Attacks on Justice 2005: Palestine
In Palestine, the Basic Law was enacted in May 2002 and amended in March 2003 to ensure separation of powers and judicial independence.
The Formulation of the Regular Courts Law was adopted in May 2001 and the Judicial Authority Law in May 2002.
This unified the judicial structure, including prosecution, in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip after more than 50 years of separation. In May 2003, the judicial administration was re-organized by redefining the constitution of the High Judicial Council. The first council of the unified Palestinian Bar Association was elected in July 2003. Elections for a second mandate were held in April 2005.
Yet the judiciary faces fundamental problems, including conflict among judicial actors, slow court proceedings, executive interferences and failure in executing court decisions. Attacks on judges and prosecutors are frequent. There is as yet no mechanism to monitor judges. Appointments are often based on nepotism.
Despite new judicial appointments in July 2002 and August 2003, there is still an acute shortage of judges and an increasing caseload. Salaries of judges and prosecutors were increased in 2003. State Security Courts were finally abolished in July 2003.
The Israeli closure of Palestinian areas since September 2000 has negatively affected the performance of the Palestinian judiciary.
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