Date:20 March 2021
ICSPR: Decree-Law No. 8 of 2021 regarding the Sharia Judiciary is an additional violation to the record of the executive authority against Judiciary
The International Commission to Support Palestinians’ Rights (ICSPR) followed with concern President Abbas issuance of Decree-Law No. 08 of 2021on the fifth of March, published in the Palestinian Journal of Facts No. 177. “al-Waqa’e journal”
The above-mentioned decree-law contributes to tightening the firm grip of the executive authority represented by Minister Mahmoud Al-Habbash over Judiciary, after appointing him as the head of the Sharia Judicial Council, thus, Al-Habbash combines and controls the executive and judicial authorities in the Sharia judiciary.
Palestinian President Abbas has been intensifying the issuance of such decree-laws related to judicial affairs and other public affairs since the beginning of this year, he issued the decree-law No. (40) of 2020 regarding amending the Judicial Authority Law No. (1) of 2002, and the decree-law No. (39) of 2020 regarding the formation of regular courts, the decree-law No. (41) of 2020 regarding administrative courts, and the decree-law No. 07 of 2021 amending the law of charitable societies and non-governmental organizations No. 01 of 2000, in addition to dozens of decrees that appointed or promoted certain employees to advanced administrative positions, including re-assigning Judge Issa Abu Sharar.
ICSPR expresses its rejection and condemnation of the continued implementation of policies aimed at further intrusion of the executive authority over what remains of the independence of the judiciary, and affirms its support for the idea of unifying the Palestinian justice sector, in a way that does not prejudice the independence of the judicial authority, and considers that the current method and decisions of the executive authority are a reproduction of previous experiences aimed at ensuring the imposition of more control over the judicial authority. ICSPR warns against the flow of decree-laws and presidential decrees and demands the following:
- ICSPR believes that the method of issuing the decree-law No. 08 of 2021 is a repetition of the same experiences adopted by the executive authority since 2005 without leading to a positive result.
- ICSPR calls on President Abbas to stop issuing decree-laws, especially those that lack necessity, and to withdraw the decree-law No. 08 of 2021 and all others that affect the independence of the judiciary, including stopping interfering the work of the judiciary and rebuild and unify the institutions of the political system as a national and legal priority to ensure the separation of powers and the rule of law, and not to undermine the independence of the Palestinian judiciary.
- ICSPR urges the UN rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers to take the necessary measures to pressure the Palestinian Executive Authority to withdraw these decisions and laws and to guarantee the independence of the Palestinian judiciary.