JERUSALEM, July 24, 2013 (WAFA) – The European Union said Wednesday that it will finance the construction of seven new courthouses in the West Bank as well as the headquarters building of the Palestinian Bar Association for a total cost of €21 million, according to an EU press release.
It said construction will commence in April of next year.
According to the press release, the project is part of an EU effort “to improve the quality of judicial services for the Palestinian people and provide a fitting work environment for Palestinian judges and lawyers.”
It said the High Judicial Council use rented buildings which were both inadequate and in poor condition to serve as courthouses.
The courthouses will be built in Qalqilya, Tubas, Salfit, Dura and Halhoul.
“Applying the rule of law is fundamental to any democratic and modern state and must also be the foundation of the future State of Palestine,” said the EU Representative John Gatt-Rutter.
“Today we mark the beginning of an important work which goes beyond infrastructure. The EU’s goal is to support the capacity of justice institutions in Palestine to better serve Palestinian citizens. That’s why in the last few years we have specifically focused on the rule of law sector,” he added.
He said the EU works closely with all Palestinian judicial institutions as well as the Palestinian Bar Association “to improve the quality of services and encourage reforms that safeguard the independence of judges.”
In the last three years, the EU has invested a total of €35 million in the justice sector.
Aside from infrastructure, it supports Palestinian Authority programs in the field of legal aid and juvenile justice and works with the High Judicial Council, the Palestinian Bar Association and the Palestinian Judicial Institute to improve their services.
On legal education, the EU has helped develop master degrees in Advanced Legal Studies across Palestinian universities and the first-ever Palestinian diploma program training candidates to become judges and prosecutors.
source : WAFA NEWS