EUPOL COPPS supports training to put children’s best interests at the heart of justice

A training which took place at the premises of the Palestinian Judicial Institute (PJI) in Ramallah on 5-6 October, and financed by EUPOL COPPS, aimed to mainstream best practices in dealing with children within the Palestinian criminal justice system.

Those working on criminal justice issues, for example police officers, prosecutors and judges need to be aware of the special circumstances that children face, and also the human rights frameworks that govern how they should be treated. The training session that EUPOL COPPS supported took a ‘train the trainers’ approach, meaning that the Palestinian experts not only received training in how to put the best interests of children at the heart of the justice system, but also received instruction on how to train their colleagues working within the criminal justice system.

The basis of the training was a manual produced by Defence for Children International – Palestine (DCIP) in 2019. This manual lays out in detail the steps that professionals working on juvenile justice should take to apply the Palestinian Juvenile Protection Law in a child-friendly manner. It was recently adopted by the Palestinian Judicial Institute as part of their training curriculum.

The training was organised in cooperation with the PJI and attended by representatives of the Palestinian High Judicial Council, Attorney General’s Office, Palestinian Civil Police, Ministry of Social Development. It will be followed by four workshops in the second half of October, also supported by EUPOL COPPS.

These workshops will train judges, prosecutors, police officers working with juveniles and child protection officers from all of the 11 districts in the West Bank. As well as providing an opportunity to discuss Palestinian Juvenile Protection Law the workshops will also feature presentations by EUPOL COPPS advisers from Canada and Sweden, who will give examples of child protection practices in the criminal justice systems of their home countries. These workshops will also aim to encourage a culture of cooperation between the different institutions involved with juvenile justice.

The training was organised on the principle of ‘safety first’ and EUPOL COPPS put in place measures to keep participants safe during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, for example by providing hygiene kits.