Question of Palestine home || Permalink || About UNISPAL || Search

Follow UNISPAL RSS Twitter

Source: United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
31 December 2013






STRENGTHENING THE RULE OF LAW IN

CRISIS-AFFECTED AND FRAGILE SITUATIONS

UNDP GLOBAL PROGRAMME

ANNUAL REPORT 2013


/...

FEATURE:
MEASURING RULE OF LAW IN THE STATE OF PALESTINE

Measuring rule of law progress in the State of Palestine has been a challenge. The absence of baseline data and strong mechanisms to monitor and evaluate the impact of development interventions limited the abil­ity of national justice and security institutions to plan effectively.

UNDP has responded by applying an increasingly sys­tematic approach to monitoring and evaluation since the roll out of its rule of law programme in 2010. The process has been two-fold. Firstly, greater rigour on monitoring programme activities and outputs led to more tailored and accountable implementation. Secondly, partnerships and mechanisms to analyze outcome-level developments across the sector have helped establish some key baselines. Key efforts in­clude:

Public perception surveys: Surveys on public percep­tions of justice and security institutions have targeted almost 9000 Palestinians in the West Bank (includ­ing East Jerusalem) and Gaza annually. The surveys have established important baseline data on levels of public confidence and satisfaction in the sector. This information informs national planning and prioritiza- tion, as well as tracking trends against programme outcomes.

Justice and security data report: In August 2013, UNDP and the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) published a comprehensive data review of seven of the core justice and security sector insti­tutions. Information collected included statistics on human resource capacity, backlogs and pre-trial detention. The data was gathered together with the institutions themselves, with PCBS in the lead - an example of national ownership that supports longer terms sustainability

Information management: UNDP supports the 'MIZAN2' case management system, hosted by the High Judicial Council. In addition to expediting case processing, MIZAN2 is accessible to all parties to a case and therefore, enables greater public trans­parency. The UNDP-supported AI-Muqtafi legal da­tabase meanwhile provides the main resource for Palestinian legislation and case law, and is considered the principal reference for lawyers, legal researchers, academics, and decisions makers.

/...

STATE OF PALESTINE

> Background

Against the backdrop of the November 2012 UN General Assembly vote to grant the State of Palestine non-member observer state status,69 Palestine remained under occupation in 2013. U.S.—mediated peace talks did not yield major political breakthrough during the year. Palestinians were affected by regional upheaval in Egypt and Syria, often caught in the middle or overtaken by the unfolding history. The ongoing rift between Fatah and Hamas meant political and legal fragmentation between the West Bank and Gaza. The divide prevented overdue elections as well as the resumption of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC). Changing dynamics within the Palestinian Authority (PA) culminated in the resignation of the Prime Minister in April 2013 and successive minis­terial re-shuffles have occurred since. The PA's continuing financial crisis brought additional challenges for main­taining infrastructure and providing quality services.

The population's ability to access reliable justice and security services in such a fluid context remained pivotal, pro­viding a means to address ongoing and emerging issues at local levels. The significance of ensuring the rule of law and its linkages to statehood are also well understand by both the PA and its international partners. The forthcoming three-year National Justice Sector Strategy (2014-2016) describes its vision as "a society based upon justice and the rule of law, where rights and liberties are preserved and everybody enjoys access to justice in a fully sovereign State of Palestine." UNDP aspires to help realize this vision through its ongoing rule of law programming support.

> Assistance and Impact

In 2013, UNDP supported the capacity building and outreach of justice sector actors. UNDP staff co-located within the planning units of the three core justice institutions — High Judicial Council, Attorney General's Office, and Ministry of Justice — continued supporting strategic development. Efforts included the drafting of the National Justice Sector Strategy for the next three years. Co-located UNDP staff worked alongside institutional counterparts, building the capacity of government staff as part of a planned exit strategy. The 2012 and 2013 UNDP-supported public perceptions survey results showed notable increases in public satisfaction with the prosecution service and the Ministry of Justice in the West Bank, suggesting that capacity building efforts of the institutions themselves, along with the efforts of UNDP and other implementing partners, are collectively having an impact.

In addition to the public perception surveys, UNDP worked with national actors to establish baselines, and monitoring and information management systems. In August 2013, UNDP and the Palestinian Central Bureau for Statistics (PCBS) published a baseline study and review of seven justice and security institutions. The study is significant for the lead role taken by the PCBS and how it, as a national institution, brought pressure upon other national institutions to provide data — in this way supporting ownership and ultimately, sustainability. UNDP also supported the expansion of MIZAN2, a case man­agement system hosted by the High Judicial Council. In addition to gathering data and tracking a case life cycle, the system promotes transparency by being accessible to the public. UNDP maintains complementary support as well to Al-Muqtafi, a legal database which has become the main resource for Palestinian law.

Legal aid services remained a key priority of the Programme. UNDP has now supported the provision of legal aid services to more than 21,500 persons from vulnerable groups/communities in the West Bank and Gaza. In the West Bank, the Programme supported legal representation for 1,519 persons and in Gaza for 558 persons, 86 percent of whom were women. Over 3,700 individuals received legal consultation or mediation services and approximately 1,300 more received legal awareness raising services.

UNDP continued to support the Awn Access to Justice Network in Gaza, a consortium of NGOs that provide legal aid.70 Assistance included expanding and consolidating the Network's role as a hub of community legal empowerment. In 2013 this meant expanding the legal referral system to include a broader range of development and humanitarian actors in order to holistically meet clients' social, economic and health needs. UNDP also supported the Network in achieving a number of other milestones: the finalization of its four-year strategic plan, diversification of external funding sources to secure sustainability, further institutionalization of clinical legal education programmes in law schools, and the establishment of the Gender Justice Council to enable greater focus on gender justice and criminal law policy issues.

UNDP also supported the establishment of a legal aid unit for juveniles in conflict with the law within the Ministry of Social Affairs (MOSA) as a means to further institutionalize legal aid services. Since January 2013, the unit has taken on 143 juvenile cases out of a total of 533 juvenile cases registered with the police (nearly 30 percent). UNDP is also supporting MOSA's efforts to pro­vide ongoing specialized training to its lawyers to further increase their capacity to handle a caseload that requires youth-sensitive lawyering.

In the area of security sector governance, UNDP completed a three-year accountability strategy with the Palestinian Civil Pol ice (PCP) under the UNDP/EUPOL COPPS Joint Programme with the PCP. The Joint Programme also supported the finalization and approval of the PCP Code of Conduct by the Chief of Police in late 2013. Efforts were undertaken by the year's close to establish a functioning mechanism in the PCP for processing of civilian complaints against police, accompanied by an electronic complaints management system (ECMS). This mechanism and its accompanying ECMS will be institutionalized and made functional in 2014.

Challenges, Lessons Learned and Way Forward Key issues remain the continuing ambiguity of legal man­dates of core justice institutions, which detracts from effective coordination. The co-location of UNDP staff within these institutions is part of UNDP's efforts to help national partners resolve this uncertainty. The ongoing inability of the PLC to convene a legal quorum circumscribes the law-making process and fundamentally, legal reform.

Before moving into Phase II of the Programme, UNDP undertook a final review of Phase I, and has taken on board its recommendations and lessons learned for the next iteration. Phase II will be launched in May 2014 as a joint programme with UN Women. With key baselines in place, the new phase will build on previous efforts of both agencies, strengthening the justice-security nexus and incorporating essential anti-corruption work.

KEY SUPPORT AND RESULTS

> UNDP staff which are co-located within the planning units of the three core justice institutions ­ High Judicial Council, Attorney General's Office and Ministry of Justice - continued supporting strategic development. Efforts included the drafting of the National Justice Sector Strategy for the next three years.

> UNDP and the PCBS published a baseline study and review of seven justice and security institutions. The study is significant for the lead role taken by the PCBS and how it, as a national institution, brought pressure upon other national institutions to provide data, supporting ownership and sustainability.

> UNDP also supported the expansion of MIZAN2, a case management system hosted by the High Judicial Council. In addition to gathering data and tracking a case life cycle, the system promotes transparency by being accessible to the public.

> UNDP has now supported the provision of legal aid services to more than 21,500 persons from vul­nerable groups/communities in the West Bank and Gaza.

> 143 juvenile cases out of a total of 533 juvenile cases registered with the police (nearly 30 percent). UNDP is also supporting MOSA's efforts to provide ongoing specialized training to its lawyers to further increase their capacity to handle a caseload that requires youth-sensitive lawyering.

Endnotes
69For further information, see: http://www.un.org/News/ Press/docs/2012/ga11317.doc.htm
70Now comprised of 23 CSOs including the Bar Association and three university legal aid clinics.

/...


Complete document in PDF format (Requires Acrobat Reader)

Follow UNISPAL RSS Twitter