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PCHR Organizes a Panel Discussion: “Comprehensive Vision for Sharia’ Courts Work in the State of Emergency”

Ref: 18/2020

On Thursday, 23 April 2020, the Women’s Unit at the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) organized an online panel discussion via Zoom, upon the Administrative Decision No. 6/2020 issued by the Higher Sharia Court Council on 20 April 2020. The panel discussion was attended by representatives of women institutions, human rights organizations and the Sharia Bar Association.

The panel was opened by Mona al-Shawa, Director of PCHR’s Women’s Unit, who welcomed Sheikh Dr. Hassan al-Jojo, Head of Sharia Supreme Court and Higher Sharia Court Council, and the participants; and praised Sharia’ Courts’ efforts and work despite the state of emergency declared in the Gaza Strip.

Al-Shawa pointed out that this panel aims to discuss the merits of Administrative Decision No. 6/2020 issued on 20 April 2020, which resumes the work in Sharia’ Courts and examines the lawsuits registered before the courts. The panel also aims to identify the reasons that prompted the Higher Sharia Court Council to take this decision at this time; and provides an opportunity to workers in programs to enhance women’s access to justice and provide legal assistance to talk about work challenges in the state of emergency.

Sheikh Dr. Hassan al-Jojo said that this decision was taken based on consultations with the judicial police, resuming their work and re-instatment of Sharia’ Courts service of process. He explained that the ruling-execution, as well as forcible implementation, mechanisms operate the same as in non-emergency times.

With regard to organizing the courts’ work during the emergency period, al-Jojo emphasized that the cases to be received by the Shari’a courts were those specified in Administrative decision 6/2020 namely, “expenses, wages, hosting, watching, and custody” while other categories are suspended.

Dr. Hasan al-Jojo also mentioned the work mechanism of the alimony fund and indicated that it is carried out in light of the law, that the criteria of its use are defined by the law. He also said that the Supreme Judicial Council of the Legal Judiciary approved payments to 46 new cases during the emergency period.

Finally, Dr. al-Jojo said that in the next few days, another administrative circular will be issued concerning the expansion of the work of the Sharia Courts during the emergency period.

Participants raised many questions regarding implementation, and the work mechanism of the alimony fund during the emergency period. They also discussed some of the obstacles they encountered at work during this period and Dr. al-Jojo responded to all their queries.

At the end of the discussion, participants praised the importance of holding such meetings with the Supreme Judicial Council, and recommended the following:

  • Continue working on an alternative emergency plan in case of a coronavirus spread;
  • Provide a vision for the Supreme Judicial Council to enable Sharia’ Courts’ work electronically to facilitate proceedings during the emergency period.