MUSAWA Demands Cancellation of the Procedures for the Hiring of Prosecutors' Assistants
MUSAWA Demands Cancellation of the Procedures for the Hiring of Prosecution Assistants
Suspicion Disqualifies for Judiciary Post
Based on carefully, impartially and professionally revision of what was emanated from the Palestinian Bar Association Council and the Public Prosecution, regarding the recruitment competition procedures to hire prosecutors assistants; and in the light of considering the justifications put forward, by each party, to support its point of view regarding the mentioned issue and taking into consideration that MUSAWA received a written invitation from the Public Prosecution to participate in the recruitment process as an observer member in the selection committee, which MUSAWA accepted, but unfortunately, yet, it was not enabled to perform its monitoring role accordingly nor was it updated regarding the details of the marking process and personal interviews.
Thus, MUSAWA demonstrates the following:
- We were surprised this morning to know that the competition relied mainly on job rotation between the executive authority and its security bodies on one hand and the Public Prosecution on the other, claiming that there is no financial allocation for the positions and so, the Public Prosecution decided to assign 20 positions, out of the advertised 25, to be filled by government employees and employees of the security bodies while assigning 5 posts only for lawyers who pass the competition successfully. We’d like to remind, in this regard, that we declared our preliminary and legal opposition to the job rotation policy between the executive authority and the Public Prosecution and judiciary as working for Public Prosecution, its mandate, and power, require that the employees should have a special culture and qualifications that differ from those who occupy a governmental or security posts and to guarantee the professional independence of prosecution and judiciary where adopting the policy of job rotation might cause a real risk that could affect the independence of both prosecution and judiciary and might affect the performance of employees in those sectors. However, if we were informed ahead that hiring depends on these standards; we would have refused to participate.
- The announcement of the competition to recruit prosecution assistants did not include the information mentioned in the previous point though the public have the right to know and concealing this information does not accord with transparency and integrity principles as the number of applying lawyers could have been much less in case they were aware that competition is only for limited share of posts.
- Informing only the PBA by the Public Prosecution of the applied recruitment policy does not set with the mentioned requirements.
- Adopting the cumulative computation of the competitors marks in the written exam and the oral interview, is not consistent with the prosecution and judiciary posts that should rely on passing the written exam as a must to qualify for the oral interview; and as what has been announced, states that none of the competitors passed the exam, then the competition must be repeated as none fulfilled the requirements to move to the oral interview.
- The procedures and the timing of the competition lack the prior notice and coordination among the participants and it was held without informing the organizations invited for observing duly and before even starting its procedures.
- MUSAWA declared its remarks on the written exam, which were documented in a report, issued by the organization and shared with the Public Prosecution and then published for the public on our website. In the monitoring report, MUSAWA highlighted some gaps and deficiencies that negatively affect the exam’s principles of integrity and transparency and we did not receive anything to indicate that they were treated or that the legal procedures are applied regarding them.
- We were not provided with any information regarding the marking dates or places, which prevented us from practicing our right to monitor the marking proceedings, and this is the case of the oral interview as well.
- The results of the written exam were not published so each competitor can know his/her result and proceeding to the oral interview stage was without fulfilling the requirements by any of the competitors where it was announced that none had passed the written exam nor was there a written memo to indicate the agreement of Public Prosecution and PBA regarding the procedures to be applied in respond to such results. Although we believe that failing the written exam requires declaring a new recruitment competition, we reiterate that we were not duly informed with the proceedings, dates, the places where the oral interviews will be held or the adopted standards for selecting the invited candidates and we did not receive any memo that indicates what procedures are adopted by the Public Prosecution and the PBA, which banned us from participating in our monitoring role.
- We are surprised from the informal circulation of information that indicates adopting the “Approval of the Security Bodies” as a condition for filling the posts- despite the official governmental declaration that such principle is no more applicable- even for those who passed the exam! This, if proved true, reminds us of the prior resignation requests that were demanded from the heads of the High Judiciary Council before starting their jobs.
- MUSAWA declared what has been mentioned so far in this statement, through a radio with “24 FM Radio Station” that hosted the Director General of the organization.
- We remind with the adopted international legal principle, which states that suspicious and not conviction disqualifies for public prosecution or judiciary posts. It means that anyone suspected should be excluded from occupying public posts with no need for judiciary confirming of the suspicious. Neglecting this principle represents an indicator of the absence of transparency and integrity, and thus, it requires accounting.
In the light of the aforementioned and with no offense against persons, we believe that it is important to announce canceling all the procedures of the competition and to announce a new competition within a specific timeline and to make sure that the announcement includes all the related information. We believe that it’s important for the partners (Public Prosecution and PBA) to form an assessment committee consists of an independent majority, to monitor the competition procedures; and to verify the assigned staff’s level of commitment to implement the procedures in the due process and to account those who violate them.
Issued on 4/10/2018