March 2018

The Code of Ethics meets international standards and helps set guidelines of conduct for Public Prosecutors

To improve transparency and accountability in Public Prosecution work, Tetra Tech’s INL-funded Justice Sector Assistance Project (JSAP) supported the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) to develop and implement a Prosecutor’s Code of Ethics (COE) that meets international standards. The code addresses the independence and impartiality of prosecutors, professional behavior, rights of suspects, and conflicts of interest. JSAP provided an international consultant to work with an AGO-appointed Code of Ethics Committee to refine and finalize articles of the code. Upon official approval by Attorney General Ahmad Barrack, the project conducted a Training of Trainers (ToT) for COE committee members so they can in turn effectively conduct awareness dissemination sessions on the code for all Public Prosecutors across the West Bank.

The first COE awareness session was held in Ramallah on January 28, 2018 with the participation of 28 Prosecutors and was facilitated by COE committee members. Addressing the session, the Attorney General thanked JSAP for support in this area and highlighted the importance of adhering to the Code of Ethics, which sets out the standards of conduct and practice expected from Prosecutors to enhance the accountability process. “This code meets our current and future needs,” stated the Attorney General who stressed that ethical conduct is just as important as technical and legal skills of prosecutors. Also addressing the session, JSAP’s Chief of Team, Emery Adoradio, noted, “Part of the challenge is to know when there is an ethical issue. Our exercises today will help spot these issues as there is actual impropriety and then there is the appearance of impropriety. Appearance of impropriety is as important as actual impropriety.”

Prosecutors taking part in this session have largely hailed the importance of the COE and awareness sessions. “This was one of the most important sessions that I have taken part in, and it is a must that all Public Prosecutors take part in these sessions to learn more about items that are punishable by law and the actions of prosecutors— to see what is allowed and what is prohibited. Through this session we also learned to pay attention to some behaviors that may be ordinary but show an appearance of impropriety,” stated Majdi Qurei, a Public Prosecutor in Jericho.

Mahmoud Abdel Karim, a Public Prosecutor in Ramallah, also stated: “This session was an added value for me on both a personal and professional level. The session helped clarify key issues related to prejudice on the job and exploitation of the position to achieve personal gains as well as how to ensure respect for human rights and protection of public freedoms.”

In coordination with the AGO, JSAP will facilitate a total of six awareness sessions that will be held in various geographic areas across the West Bank.

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