Mr. Saleh Ra’fat, a member of the Executive Committee of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), delivered a speech on behalf of President Mahound Abbas. Mr. Ra’fat spoke about the constructive and at times, creative role that the High Judicial Council (HJC) plays in administrating judicial authority especially while under Israeli occupation. He stressed the commitment of the Palestinian Authority to strengthen the judiciary and work toward an independent judiciary system and called for an end to the political division that is hindering the legislative process.
In his speech, Chief Justice Issa Abu Sharar, highlighted the achievements of the judiciary emphasizing a need for a “judicial authority [that] is independent from the legislative and executive powers” and cooperation from enforcement agencies in order to execute the law quickly and efficiently. In 2009, the courts disposal rate reached 168%, a number the Chief Justice attributes to the court going from a period of “stability” to a period of “recovery” and productivity. Finally, Mr. Sharar called upon President Abbas and Prime Minister Fayad to endorse the Judicial Bills which would further development and enable judges to increase case disposal. The Chief Justice also thanked the Netham Project for its support.
A speech from Ali Muhana, head of the Bar Association, echoed Mr. Sharar’s excitement over improvements in the court system but cautioned that “we should not forget the weaknesses [of the justice system]” and asked for the necessary tools to deal with those flaws effectively