Unfortunately, the full memo is only available in Arabic.
Following is a brief of the most important points addressed in the memo:
MUSAWA’s memo (13/03/2017) on Draft Decree-Law Amending Supreme Constitutional Court Law
MUSAWA – The Palestinian Center for the Independence of the Judiciary and the Legal Profession sent a legal memo to Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, demanding that the Draft Decree-Law Amending the Supreme Constitutional Court Law be thwarted, given that it is void of the requirements necessary for enforcing Article (43) of the Basic Law, in addition to compromising the rights which citizens are entitled-to by the Constitution, and deviating from the provisions of the international treaties Palestine has acceded to. The memo comprises of eight A4 pages which mention and clarify the risks involved. Here, we make reference to the most important ones:
- The bill was proposed by the Constitutional Court itself, which overrides the principles and rules of legislative competence, separation of powers, good governance, and the widely recognized legal norms. It is implausible and unlawful for the Supreme Constitutional Court to pronounce a judgment contrary to its view or to hear a dispute to which it is a party.
- The bill involves unprecedented financial advantages that noticeably exceed the salaries and financial advantages of all judges and public officials, regardless of their job title or authority.
- The loss of [Palestinian] nationality is omitted from the list of reasons to end a judge’s service despite the fact that this condition is considered an expression of the Constitutional Court’s sovereignty and is substantially linked to a State’s national security. Reaching the age of 70 is also omitted from the reasons preventing one’s appointment as judge or ending a judge’s service, knowing that the international trend is heading towards lowering the age-limit for judges to 65.
- Despite being convicted of a crime involving honor and integrity, judges are still entitled to some financial advantages (pension).
- Terminating the service of a judge, in the case that the relevant requirements are met, is subjected to a decision that should be issued by the President.
- A citizen whose rights have been violated is no longer entitled to submit a request to the Minister of Justice to explain the legal text which compromises his/her rights.
- A citizen who is insolvent no longer has the right to have a lawyer appointed for him/her in constitutional appeals.
- The court’s jurisdiction in interpreting the Constitution and the legislation is unconditional and is not bound by a certain time frame.
- Presidential decrees are taken out of the Constitutional Court’s circle of direct control. While in the process of considering constitutional appeals, the court may not address decree-laws it finds inconsistent with the Constitution.
- The period available for lodging an appeal is lowered from 90 days to 60 days.
- Publishing the court’s rules of procedure and the regulations issued under its law is no longer mandatory. The draft decree-law in hand settles for publishing the judgments pronounced by the court, and it increases the period available for publishing from 15 days to 30 days.