September 2017

Tetra Tech’s JSAP project has assisted the Public Prosecution Offices in implementing various backlog reduction measures

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Addressing public criticism of excessive delays in processing cases, Palestinian Attorney General Ahmad Barrak has declared that reducing case backlog is a top-level priority for Public Prosecution Offices (PPOs) across the West Bank. To help accomplish this task, the INL-funded Justice Sector Assistance Project (JSAP) has been working closely with six PPOs that serve as JSAP’s Center of Excellence (COE) offices (Ramallah, Jericho, Salfit, Tulkarem, Bethlehem and Nablus) to develop the tools and technology to reduce case backlog. As a result of this effort, case backlog decreased by 62.3% in these six PPOs over the last 12 months.

In cooperation with the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) and COE Chief Prosecutors, JSAP has helped the PPOs institute clear and concrete policies and procedures to implement backlog reduction measures. (See photo left: Nablus Public Prosecutors Elias Dababneh (left) and Ahmad Abu Shanab (center) following up on backlogged case files with JSAP Coordinator Samih Amour).

Project efforts included a careful review and inventory of backlogged files, the creation of forms that summarize the status of each file, defining clear follow-up measures, as well as the establishment of a daily and monthly internal review process for Public Prosecutors and the Chief Public Prosecutor to effectively monitor the case workload. JSAP project coordinators and interns placed throughout these offices have also played a critical role in this effort by supporting PPO administrators and prosecutors.

“Among the most important factors that contributed to the completion and control of backlog was the implementation of JSAP procedures that helped re-distribute the workload among prosecutors and assistant prosecutors in addition to the daily follow-up on investigative procedures and requesting weekly statistics on completed files from each of the prosecutors,” said Bethlehem Chief Prosecutor, Rasem Badawi. He further added that JSAP staff and interns assigned to work with prosecutors on investigative files conducted regular follow-up on in-coming and backlogged files and assisted the PPO clerks in expediting work on these files.

Tulkarem Chief Prosecutor, Miqdad Hattab similarly hailed JSAP’s efforts noting, “As a direct result of JSAP assistance there is a clear and noticeable improvement in the reduction of case backlog. We have made significant progress in reducing the number of backlogged files based on new work procedures that call for further cooperation and coordination with all parties in cases including the PPOs, police and courts, the Forensic Lab, the Judicial Institute and others. Therefore, I would like to express my sincere appreciation for JSAP’s efforts.”

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