Hebron University, The Independent Association and The Public Prosecution Organize a Training Session on Torture Between International Law and the Law in Palestine

 

The Law Clinic at Hebron University in cooperation with  the Office of  the Sublime Official for Human rights in the United Nations, the Independent Association  for Human Rights and the Public Prosecution  organized a training session on “Fighting  Torture Between the International Law and the Law in Palestine”. The session aimed at qualifying   a selected group  of law students  who are able to document  and to follow up  torture issues on the local and the international levels. The session included four training  meetings.

The first meeting was introduced by  Dr. lawyer Mu’taz Qaffeesheh, professor of International law at Hebron University and the  director of the Law Clinic in it, on “torture in the  international law for human rights.” Dr. Qaffeesheh indicated that  torture forms an international crime which  cannot be void by the passage of time or finding a pretext to commit it for any reason. He said that those who commit torture whether physical or psychological  are criminals who should be punished in  the local law . He demended from the victims of torture to go to courts in order to obtain compensation according to the basic law. He pointed out that there is a need to adopt the  prevailing definition  in the Torture Agreement in Palestine which hitherto lacks a specific legislation  which punishes torture.  He said that Palestine can join the International Criminal Court which considers torture as one of the crimes  which are  punishable  considering it a war crime or a crime against humanity.

The second meeting was introduced by Mr. Nidal Al-‘Awawdeh , deputy public prosecutor, delegated by the Palestinian attorney general judge Abdul-Ghani  Al-‘Ewaiwi. Al-‘Awawdeh discussed  the authorities of the public prosecution  in pursuing those who commit  the crime of torture according to the  modified Palestinian basic law , penalties law and the law of  penal procedures, in a comparative way with the legislations of other countries specially Jordan  which modified article  208 of the penal law  for 1960 and which made torture a crime  according to the agreement of fighting torture. He indicated that the public prosecution  has innovated  a complaints box in all Palestinian offices of the attorney general to receive the complaints of the citizens  on torture and others . These complaints are dealt with in all seriousness. He emphasized the importance of being precise  in  cases  in which it is alleged to contain claims of torture.

The third meeting was begun by lawyer Fareed Al-Atrash , director of the office of the Palestinian Independent Association for Human Rights in  the south of the West bank. He gave a glimpse about the work of the Independent Association  considering it the  formal national institution specialized in  human rights in Palestine. He discussed the role of the Association in  receiving complaints related to torture and following them up with  official  bodies, specially with the public prosecution, security apparatus  and the administration of the prisons. He indicated that the Association received  350 complaints during 2012 against  the security apparatus and the police  related to torture in the northern and southern governorates. He added that  when the Association presented its yearly report to the Palestinian President, the President issued his instructions to the security apparatus to be committed  to the laws which make torture criminal. Al-Atrash emphasized the role of  law students in documenting  cases of torture  and in raising the  societal awareness to move cases of torture. He expressed the readiness of the Association to cooperate with the law clinics at Palestinian universities to create a  network of volunteers  to work on recording cased of torture.

In the last meeting, Mr. Hamed Al-Qawasmi , human rights official in the office of the Sublime Delegate for Human Rights in the United Nations undertook the training. Al-Qawasmi discussed  international mechanisms related to pursuing  those who commit torture, specially the United Nations Committee  which is concerned with torture  and the  special international  rapporteur   of torture. Al-Qawasmi said  that Palestine has to join  the international agreement related to torture  if it wants to become a party in the international committee related to torture.  He also talked about the possibility  for victims of torture to submit  complaints to the special international rapporteur  against any official body which practices torture. Since Palestine  has become a state recognized by the United nations, it can now  join  the International Criminal  Court which is specialized in pursuing those who commit the crime of torture through the international police.

The training session was coordinated by Mr. hindam Al-Rojoub legal researcher at the law clinic at  Hebron Unievrsity and Mr. Belal Al-Mallah field researcher at the Independent  Association for Human Rights. At the end of the session, certificates  signed by the organizing bodies were given to the participants.