Success Story: Due to MUSAWA's Interventions, the Attorney General Cancels the Recruitment of Prosecution Assistants
Article 6 of resolution No (4) of 2006 on the procedures of hiring prosecution assistants provides for “The candidates who pass the written exam should undergo an oral exam and a personal interview before the recruitment committee headed by the Attorney General and the membership of each the Head of the Inspectorate and Head of the Substantive Office”, in addition, article 12 of the same resolution provides for “Any provision that contradicts or is in conflict with this decision shall cease to have effect”.
The beginning of the problem
On September 16, 2018, MUSAWA- the Palestinian Center for the Independence of the Judiciary and the Legal Profession received a letter from the Palestinian Public Prosecution including an invitation to participate as an observer member in the committee of hiring prosecution assistants and an invitation to participate in monitoring the written exam of the participants, which was held on September 22nd, 2018. In response to this letter, MUSAWA nominated a team of its staff members to monitor the written exam. Subsequently, a memo was sent to the Attorney General including MUSAWA’s notes and recommendations concerning the mentioned exam.
Later on, the Public Prosecution held oral interviews for 50 candidates, without enabling MUSAWA to carry out its responsibilities as a monitoring member, in addition, MUSAWA has never had the chance to view the results of the written exam it monitored, even though the center has learned from its sources that none of the candidates passed it, and by bearing in mind that a candidate must pass the written exam in order to move to the oral interview. Media and social media have circulated divergent positions that were taken by the Public Prosecution and the Bar’s Association – a committee member- regarding the oral competition.
In the light thereof, MUSAWA has issued a position paper on October 4, 2018, demanding the cancellation of the hiring procedures for a number of reasons, most prominently that none of the candidates have passed the written exam, and illegality of applying the cumulative computation of the written and oral exams’ marks, as it contravenes the Public prosecution’s recruitment system, and as oral interviews depend on impressions, despite the written exam that depends on the scientific competence of the candidate, and as the public Prosecution’s posts are like judiciary posts that can be disqualified by suspicion rather than conviction, anyone suspected should be excluded from occupying public posts with no need for judiciary confirming of the suspicious, and for the risk represented in applying the job rotation principle between the executive authority and its security bodies on one hand and the Public Prosecution on the other, which MUSAWA has previously announced its principled opposition to this principle for its conviction that the competences, powers, and mission of the Public Prosecution needs employees, who enjoy special culture that differs from that adopted in other governmental or security posts. The reasons for the refusal also included that the announcement of the competition to recruit prosecution assistants did not include some basic information, and MUSAWA was not updated regarding the details of the marking process and personal interview, what disabled it to perform its monitoring role.
The Attorney General issues a decision to abolish the exam results “and to consider them to be as not having been made”
On 8/1/2019, the Palestinian Bar’s Association announced that the Attorney General issued a decision to abolish the exam results “and to consider them to be as not having been made”.
MUSAWA welcomes the decision on the abolition and points out that it was the proactive organization among other civil society organizations that demanded the cancellation of the hiring procedures and re-announcing a new recruitment competition to a specific timetable that includes all related information, and that the partners (The Public Prosecution and Bar’s Association) need to form an Evaluation Committee consisting of an independent majority to assess the competition procedures, verify the commitment of mandate-holders to implement those procedures and account those who commit any violation duly.