The Center for Defense of Liberties and Civil Rights held three training sessions during July on the Convention against Torture under the title “Responsibility and Obligations of the Duty-Owned Law Enforcement Officials”. Investigating officers, operations, the Executive Force and the legal advisers of the Preventive Security Service in the West Bank governorates all participated in these sessions. These meetings are part of a series of activities of the “Torture is Destruction of Human Dignity” project implemented by the Center for the second consecutive year in partnership with bunch of NGO networks funded by the European Union. The first meeting was held in Nablus with the participation of targeted officers in the northern governorates, the second in Bethlehem with the participation of officers from Bethlehem, Hebron and Jericho. The third meeting was held in Ramallah with the participation of officers from Ramallah, Al-Bireh, Jerusalem and Salfit in the headquarters of the Preventive Security Directorate in Jerusalem, in the presence of Ms. Basima Adwin, Director of the EU Democracy and Human Rights Program.
In these meetings, Hurryyat praised the fruitful, constructive and continuous cooperation with the Preventive Security, especially at this stage of the Palestinian conflict in which it needs to combine all efforts to fight for the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination and promote the culture of individual human rights in the Palestinian society. Hurryyat thanked the Preventive Security Services represented by Major General Ziad Hab Al-Reeh, the directors of the directorates and the Legal Department represented by its president and advisors for their enthusiasm to hold such meetings aimed at strengthening the principle of the rule of law.
These meetings included a serious and constructive dialogue on the national and legal responsibility that reinforces the importance of obeying to the rules of international human rights law and guaranteeing the enjoyment of these rights by the Palestinian citizens included in the international human rights conventions to which the State of Palestine acceded in early 2014 as well as stressing the importance of the status of these conventions in national law and the need to harmonize national laws in line with these conventions, including the Convention against Torture.
Hurryyat also referred to complaints by a number of citizens that they had been subjected to torture, in which these reports have emerged in the media recently with some security and police agencies. The sessions also included a training on how to deal with torture cases and approached them in terms of the measures taken by the Government to respond to these allegations and their compatibility with the Convention against Torture, in particular article 12, which stipulates that the competent authorities should conduct a prompt and impartial investigation whenever there are reasonable grounds to believe that an act of torture has been committed. In the same context, the Center reported that it sent an official letter to the Ministry of Interior in this regard as the competent authority and asked it to form an official investigation committee to investigate the above allegations.
In the three meetings, Hurryyat presented an extensive analysis of the Convention against Torture in terms of concept, purpose and criminal responsibility for the perpetration of the statute of limitations of torture, as well as the mechanism for distinguishing between torture and ill-treatment, and stressed the importance of prohibiting torture in all circumstances and to ensure that no statements made as a result of torture are cited, And practical exercises were done by the trainees in a form of groups. The trainees were also trained on how to address the victims’ right to a solution and compensation, Hurryyat proposed the establishment of a national fund to compensate victims of torture as a legal alternative because of the reluctance of torture victims to access justice for reasons related to either the absence of a law criminalizing torture or the lack of jurisdiction of regular courts to hear such cases and other reasons that formed the objective basis for this. Hurryyat praised the accession of the State of Palestine to human rights conventions, especially the Convention against Torture and the Additional Protocol to the Convention on 28 December 2017, without making any reservation, as well as working on the formation of the National Committee for the Prevention of Torture. Hurryyat considered these steps and other training meetings and visits to detention centers are steps taken in the right direction implemented by the State of Palestine to emphasize its direction towards the prohibition of torture to a Palestinian society free of torture.
The participants in the three meetings expressed the importance of the topics discussed and that they are of high importance as the legal benefit from them has been achieved which aims to promote the principle of the rule of law. It also contributed to breaking the barriers between the security services and civil society institutions and establishing the values of permanent joint cooperation in the legal struggle to preserve our national rights, especially the right to freedom, independence and salvation from occupation.
The Center for Defense of Liberties and Civil Rights “Hurryyat”
August 4th, 2019