MUSAWA Holds Legal Meeting on Combating Torture
During a legal meeting held by MUSAWA at its headquarter in Gaza: Officials in the Judiciary and the public prosecution recommend implementing an awareness-raising program on sensitizing the investigators at security bodies and the military prosecution to combat torture crimes, to prevent them from happening, to enable the legal organizations to visit the detention stations and to limit the investigating job to the legal competent individuals.
On 18/7/2019, MUSAWA- The Palestinian Center for the Independence of the Judiciary and the Legal Profession held a legal meeting entitled “The mechanism to monitor the torture crime – The torture crime is imprescriptible”, at its headquarter in Gaza. The workshop targeted the employees of the judiciary, the military prosecution in Gaza, the intelligence service, the Drug Enforcement Agency and the Homeland Security, noting that 14 participants attended the meeting, including Dr. Jamal Abdullah, the head of the technical office at the Military Judiciary in Gaza, and Major, Fadi Rodwan, the head of the military prosecution in Gaza.
The workshop was initiated by Adv. Islah Hasaneyyay, MUSAWA’s BOD member, who in her turn welcomed the participants and defined the torture crime, its implications, and the mechanisms that shall be adopted to limit it in the Palestinian society. After that, Adv. Rula Mousa, MUSAWA’s Legal Monitoring officer in Gaza Office, presented a legal paper, by which she defined the legal grounds that criminalize torture as provided in the national legislation, including the provisions of the Basic Law, international covenants, and especially the Optional Protocol on Combating torture, which was promulgated by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which is joined by the State of Palestine.
Adv. Rula Mousa noted that the Basic Law considers torture an imprescriptible crime and obligates the state to compensate the torture victims, and added that the international protocol on combating torture obligates the States parties signing, including the State of Palestine, to amend its legislation and national laws to meet the anti-torture principles and to account its perpetrators, and mentioned the role of the of the International Subcommittee, which was formed under the Protocol to the Convention against Torture, in organizing monitoring visits to all custody and remand facilities at the States parties signing and in reporting to the UN Secretary-General, including any recommendations on proceeding with accounting those who are convicted of committing torture crimes, and on call upon law enforcement bodies to implement those recommendation, affirming the importance of revising the security doctrine of the different security bodies, including the Police, the Military Prosecution, and the military Judiciary to ensure the harmony between them and the national- preventive mechanisms to face any practices of torture, pointing out that all the divine laws, including the Islamic Law, and the positive legislation, including the Basic Law and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture have considered the Human dignity and the physical safety as integral components of Human Rights that shall be enjoyed by all citizens equally, those laws have also prohibited any violations against them and provided for accounting the perpetrators of such violations. Adv. Mousa has finalized her speech by calling the competent bodies to enable MUSAWA to monitor all detention centers at the security bodies, the judiciary, the military prosecution, and the Police, as this role is one of the tools that guarantee the protection of the fair trial guarantees during the litigation and the investigation processes.
At the end of the meeting, the participants recommended implementing an awareness-raising program on sensitizing the investigators at security bodies to the risks of torture, its implications, and the controls during investigation, especially those related to the defendant/ detainee rights as provided by the Basic Law and the related International Covenants and Conventions, and to the importance of amending the legislation governing the work of security bodies and the military Prosecution, in a way that guarantees applying harsher punishments to perpetrators of the crime of torture to achieve public and private deterrence, and activating the oversight and accountability mechanisms on military judges, prosecution members, members of the military prosecution, investigators, and officials at detention places to ensure that none of them commits any practice of torture and to cut off ay practices that may fall under the umbrella of torte, and intensifying the visits of authorities’ representatives and competent parties to the custody and remand facilities; especially the unplanned visits, and enabling all legal and rights organizations to play their oversight role and to visit the detention, investigation and litigation facilities, and forming special committees from the security bodies, the legal institution, the military judiciary and the military prosecution to activate the preventive control on the performance of those bodies to prevent any further torture crime, to guarantee holding their perpetrators accountable, to limit the appointing of investigators on legal judicial individuals, to refer those who does not have a legal qualification to other posts, to take the needed actions and to follow the proper policies to implement the mentioned recommendations as soon as possible.