On Monday, 17 October 2016, Al Mezan Center for Human Rights (Al Mezan) held a specialized legal workshop titled, "Justice as a Part of Judicial Reform", at the Happy City Resort in Khan Younis. The workshop hosted a group of judges, prosecutors, lawyers, and journalists and marked Al Mezan's continuing efforts to unify and reform Gaza’s judiciary. The premise of the workshop was to discuss the biggest challenges facing the justice mechanisms and to identify solutions.
Among the many speakers, Mr. Yahya Mhareb, lawyer at Al Mezan, noted the urgent need to reform the system in order to remove barriers in access to justice. Mr. Mhareb laid out the necessary components of a democratic political and judicial system that respects the rights of civilians.
Abdel Hameed Al Agha, the Judge of the Magistrate Court in Rafah, thanked Al Mezan for organizing the workshop, and discussed the major barriers from his perspective, and noted the reasons for prolonged litigation.
Yahya al Farra, a public prosecutor, addressed the major obstacles within public prosecution and confirmed the public prosecution as an advocate for its people, striving for fairness, and operating to the highest standards within available means.
Mr. Abdel Hakeem Radwan, chairman of Deir Al-Balah Magistrate Court, pointed out that the laws that set out legal procedures in courts are Civil and Commercial Procedures Ordinance No. (2) of 2001, and Criminal Procedures Law No. (3) of 2001, but that the judges can exercise vast interpretation of these laws. Mr. Radwan emphasized the need to unify the Judicial Authority.
The following recommendations are some of those agreed upon at the end of the workshop:
The participants thanked Al Mezan for organizing the workshop and called on Al Mezan to pay attention to the agreed recommendations. The workshop was conducted as a part of the UNDP-funded project, "Protection of Human Rights through Legal Actions and Judicial Reform in the Occupied Palestinian Territories".