The Initiative on Judicial Independence and Human Dignity


KARAMAH is a four-year project implemented by the Institute of Law (IoL) at Birziet University in partnership with the Faculty of Law at Windsor University in Canada funded by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA),. Both IoL and Windsor Law possess extensive, specialised experience in legal research and education, capacity building and judicial training.

The Initiative on Judicial Independence and Human Dignity (KARAMAH) aims to support the rule of law and Palestinians' right to resort to a fair judicial system, by supporting the judiciary and related justice sector institutions and organizations To achieve these goals, KARAMAH carries out a number of activities, including:

  • producing informed analysis of key elements of the justice sector in Palestine as they relate to judicial independence and human dignity
  • developing and institutionalising judicial training methodology and materials,
  • using the concept of human dignity in protecting individual and collective rights,
  • contributing to building and promoting community coalitions that further support judicial independence and human dignity,
  • and consolidating planning efforts for the justice sector.

Windsor Law

The Faculty of Law at the University of Windsor was established in 1968. Committed to promoting access to justice through legal analysis and reform, the Law Faculty at Windsor has over 60 full-time professors and part-time lecturers. A number of other departments at the University, including the Finance Department, Legal Services Department, Research Services, Flexible Learning/Distance Education and Public Relations Department assist Windsor Law in implementing the KARAMAH project. Institute of Law – Birzeit University

Constituted in 1993, the Institute of Law (IoL) is a major unit at Birzeit University. It contributes to upgrading necessary legal structures in Palestine and building human and institutional capacities on both the academic and professional levels. IoL has also developed an in-depth conception of the legislative, legal and judicial status in Palestine and demonstrated a proven ability in defining needs, proposing solutions and implementing necessary projects in these areas.

A centre of legal information, IoL is active in research and publication. It also sponsors a Masters Programme in Law, manages continuing education programmes, and organises seminars and conferences which target various groups. In addition, IoL offers advice and research services in its respective area of activity. Most importantly, IoL has implemented a number of projects on judicial training. It also publishes court judgements issued forth by the Palestinian judiciary. In this context, IoL has been working hand in hand with:

  • the High Judicial Council,
  • Ministry of Justice,
  • Palestinian Bar Association,
  • Public Prosecution,
  • and Bureau of Legal Counsel and Legislation.

Strengthening Judicial Independence in Palestine

Over the past years, judicial independence in Palestine has witnessed significant developments. The Palestinian judicial system has been relieved from the Israeli occupation authorities' interference and restrictions and has transformed into an independent judiciary with legal guarantees for its independence. However, activities launched to establish judicial independence in Palestine are still at an inception stage.
The Palestinian judiciary

  • is still working on promoting judicial principles that protect Palestinian human rights as well as the code of judicial conduct
  • is also still at the stage of institutionalising functions of the High Judicial Council, including its various committees and departments
  • is disseminating the culture of judicial independence amongst junior judges and justice sector institutions
  • is furnishing independence of the judiciary with necessary human, administrative, financial and logistic resources so as to bring about its desired independence.
  • has undoubtedly achieved unique, remarkable gains in its effort to establish its independence
  • aims to ensure a further guarantee for an independent judiciary, which is not only safeguarded by legal provisions, but also by an autonomous, efficient and fair judicial performance supported by the public, civil society organisations and sectors

Judicial independence is a safeguard to both the Judicial Authority and judges. In addition to enforcing rule of law, this concept has been associated with achievement of justice and equality before the law. Real-life experience has proven that an independent judicial system is capable of making resolute decisions that bring justice to citizens as well as curb practices of other authorities in the State when they violate individual and collective rights. In this context, KARAMAH supports efforts to promote judicial independence by:

  1. Developing and institutionalising judicial education methodology and materials
    KARAMAH upholds the Palestinian judiciary by contributing to qualifying judicial trainers and helping judges produce high-quality training materials and mechanisms, which are developed in view of the Palestinian judiciary's needs and priorities. In parallel, KARAMAH also implements a set of training activities that eventually lead to adopting a model method of continuing judicial training in Palestine.
    KARAMAH carries out judicial training by:

    • preparing teams of Palestinian trainers,
    • training interested judges on designing and developing training curricula,
    • supporting judges and other stakeholders in all phases of planning and implementation of judicial training programmes.

    This is completed by aiming to build an institutional memory associated with judicial training. Palestinian judicial trainers, including judges and specialists, will be capable of continuing training efforts in the future by documenting all procedures related to designing and implementing the training implemented by KARAMAH and using any judicial training manuals issued.

  2. Supporting and invigorating community coalitions that uphold an independent and efficient judiciary

    a) Reinvigorating the Concept of Human Dignity
    Human dignity is a legal concept with long-standing intellectual roots. It is intertwined with the body of human rights. Human dignity recognizes the equal worth of all individuals, bans all forms of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, and prohibits that individuals be treated as tools. It mandates due respect to individuals in society
    KARAMAH aims

    • to establish the concept of human dignity within the Palestinian legal system
    • to present practical application of this concept in protecting human rights in general and in promoting judicial independence and oversight over acts and decisions violating individual and collective right and human dignity in particular
    • to consolidate the concept of human dignity by assimilating it in judicial training programmes and disseminating it among the public and civil society organisations by means of community coalitions and advocacy networks which defend values of human dignity and judicial independence.

    Combined, these activities intend to support the Palestinian judiciary in implementing these values and safeguarding individual and collective rights, as well as maintaining citizens' human dignity.

    b) Building and Supporting Community Coalitions
    Given that the judicial system is inseparable from its surrounding environment and because the civil society, which upholds judicial independence, provides a guarantee for judicial independence and strength, KARAMAH has set forth a number of activities that promote community interaction with the legal system. These include public awareness activities, which convey a fair image of judicial performance and developments to broader sectors of the society and to organisations concerned with the rule of law. KARAMAH also promotes public interest in the Judicial Authority so as to build a powerful public support to its performance, which is consistent with social justice and rule of law.
    In this context, KARAMAH will also:

    • ensure the society's interaction with the concepts of judicial independence and human dignity by involving various media outlets to cover judicial developments,
    • expound upon the meaning of judicial independence and professionalism,
    • identify acts which threaten judicial independence and professionalism
    • and explain how the Palestinian judiciary preserves and defends its independence.

    This will, indeed, secure the surrounding environment's necessary underpinning support to the judicial system and build a public opinion that upholds judicial independence and implementation of social justice and human dignity principles.

  3. Developing sound plans that meet short- and long-term needs of the justice sector
    Action plans of the justice sector bear a special importance because they set the priorities of development and change for one of the pillars of a State that is still being constituted. Development of the justice sector is a process that must respond to priorities identified in the planning phase. Planning should also observe the Palestinian particularity associated with the reality of the justice sector, the challenges which it faces, and the resources and capacities available to it.

    KARAMAH contributes to the judiciary-related planning effort through several activities, including strategic thinking groups involving academic organisations, civil society figures andsubject area experts. These groups work on drafting a vision to develop the justice sector, set operation priorities and identify desired objectives. Planning then takes place on the executive level in order to develop procedures necessary to implement the vision agreed on with relevant stakeholders. Additionally, KARAMAH supports those institutions concerned with planning for the justice sector by furnishing expertise, human resources and physical capacities. In liaison with these institutions, KARAMAH also organises specialised symposiums and seminars on various fields of the justice sector.

    On an ongoing basis, KARAMAH is attentive to any opportunities and capacities that allow upholding the principles of judicial independence and human dignity in justice sector in Palestine. KARAMAH's activities cover other constituent agencies in the justice sector including:

    • the Public Prosecution,
    • forensic medicine centres,
    • Judicial Training Institute,
    • Judicial Police
    • and Police laboratories.


1/1/2007 - 13/3/2012


  • Bashar Qara': Accountant
  • Dr Mustafa Mari: Curriculum Development and Training Officer, Acting Executive Manager - Program
  • Dr. Mudar Kassis: Co-director-Palestine
  • Huda Rohana: Outreach Officer
  • Isam Zeitawi: Driver and Office Boy
  • Layaly Merie: Activities & Media Coordinator
  • Mahmoud Kataneh: Legal Adviser
  • Mervat Hammad: Project Assistant
  • Prof. Reem Bahdi: Co-director - Canada
  • Rachelle badour: Assistant to Co-Director (Canada)
  • Tareg Ateia: Legal Adviser- - PJI
  • Waseem Aref: Finance Manager


  1. Concluding Ceremony of the Assessment of Meeting on Judicial Training Curriculum Development
  2. Human Dignity and the Life of the Palestinians
  3. Use the concept of dignity as a constitutional right in Palestine
  4. Second Course of the Judicial Training Curricula Development Program
  5. Opening program of introductory training for new magistrates
  6. Meeting, the fourth in a training program to develop skills preparation methods of the Judicial Training
  7. symposium on the recruitment of the concept of human dignity to promote the issues of justice in the Arab world
  8. The Initiative on Judicial Indepenence and Human Dignity
  9. The future of the justice sector institutions in Palestine
  10. To Develop a National Vision of the Justice Sector in Palestine
  11. Opening a series of programs of continuous training for judges and the Magistrates Courts of Appeal and the beginning
  12. Palestinian Centre for Human Rights and Institute of Law Launch a Training Course on Compiling Investigative Press Reports on Justice-related Issues
  13. Lawyers Discuss Incorporation of Human Dignity Concepts in Legal Applications and Pleas
  14. Concept and Applications of Human Dignity
  15. Successful Completion of Initial Training Programme Targeting Junior Judges of Magistrate and First Instance Courts
  16. Promoting the Palestinian Judiciary: Consolidating Competence and Achieving Justice
  17. Training Media Representatives on Compiling Investigative Press Reports on Justice-related Issues Completed Training Activity
  18. The Draft Law Amending the Law of Penal Procedure
  19. Introductory Training Programme for Junior Magistrate and First Instance Judges
  20. Civil Society Organizations Discussing A National Vision Mechanisms for the Justice Sector in Palestine
  21. Incorporating Human Dignity Concepts into Legal Pledges and Defenses
  22. Relationship between Judiciary and Media
  23. Medicine and Labs in Palestine
  24. Dissemination of Legislation Process and the Official Gazette
  25. Judge's Role in the Society


  1. Diwan Al- Fatwa and Legislation: its organization and functions, comparative study with the Jordanian case
  2. The process of legislation to be published in the Official Gazette in accordance with the legal system: Problems and Solutions
  3. Laboratory for Criminal Justice: the reality and future
  4. Forensic Medicine in Palestine: Reality and Ambition
  5. Justice and human dignity in Palestine
  6. The Legal adviser in the ministries of the Palestinian National Authority: his functions and strengthen his role as career
  7. Judicial responsibility and accountability of judges
  8. PJI accreditation memo
  9. diploma options
  10. Publishing Laws in Gazette according to Palestinian Law
  11. Independence of the judiciary in Palestine
  12. The View Point of Palestinian Civil Society on the Justice Sector
  13. Assessment Guide Judicial Training
  14. Justice Sector Institutions in Palestine: Composition, Roles and Responsibilities Material designed for introducing journalists to justice sector reporting