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EUPOL COPPS supports Justice Sector Working Group meeting

EUPOL COPPS supports Justice Sector Working Group meeting

EUPOL COPPS Mission took part in the high-level  meeting for the Justice Sector Working Group to enhance good governance and to strengthen the principles of justice and rule of law. The meeting, which included a number of local and international partners, is meant to discuss the Justice Sector Strategic Plan (JSSP) for 2021-2023, assess the Justice Sector challenges and future opportunities and create a framework for all justice sector institutions. Nataliya Apostolova, the Head of EUPOL COPPS Mission, told the attendees that "the Mission remains committed to assist our Palestinian counterparts in addressing critical issues, especially the ability of criminal justice institutions to ensure fair trial for the Palestinian people”. EUPOLCOPPS, which funded the event, also provided assistance to the efforts of the national team in reviewing the JSSP, editing the final Arabic version and translating it into English, in addition to logistical support.  

EUPOL COPPS contributes in reducing delays and handle backlogs of criminal cases

EUPOL COPPS contributes in reducing delays and handle backlogs of criminal cases

EUPOOL COPPS advisers, together with the Fair Trial Working Group, continued the discussions on how to better enable Palestinian citizens to get their litigation rights sorted quickly and reduce the backlog of criminal cases. “The right to a fair trial is fundamental to human rights protection and serves as a procedural means to safeguard the rule of law. It aims at ensuring a proper administration of justice and to this end guarantees a series of specific rights”, said Lina Zettergren, the Mission’s  Senior Criminal Justice Expert The Fair Trial Working Group, comprised of representatives of the High Judicial Council, the Public Prosecution, the Ministry of Justice, the Palestinian Bar Association and the Palestinian Civil Police and steering members from EUPOL COPPS, is working to strengthen the guarantees of a fair trial in the Palestinian judiciary.  Recently the working group agreed to focus their efforts on how to contribute to reducing the delays, and the consequent backlog of criminal cases, throughout the judiciary chain, from police investigation, to prosecution, trial and a rendered judgment. This project requires expertise from each judicial institution and aims to enhance the access to justice for Palestinian citizens. Access to justice, an effective investigation and processing a case in a reasonable time are all parts of the right to a fair trial.

EUPOL COPPS Mission concludes series of sessions on legislative drafting

EUPOL COPPS Mission concludes series of sessions on legislative drafting

EUPOL COPPS sponsored six sessions of a specialized training on legislative drafting for 11 legal staff members of the Ministry of Justice. The aim of the training, which started in February 2021 and was delivered by a prominent Palestinian legal expert, was to develop the capacities of the legal staff at the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) in legislative drafting, to have a better understanding of the legislative process, the methodology of developing policies, legislative drafting techniques, and developing the skills in reviewing legal texts to ensure its compatibility with the internal legislative system and international obligations. On Wednesday 9 June, 2021, Head of EUPOL COPPS Nataliya Apostolova and Minister of Justice Mohammad Shalaldeh handed the certificates to the 11 MoJ participants. “Legislative drafters play a crucial rule in developing legislation which promotes democratic governance and gives effect to the rule of law especially when the parliament is not functioning,” said Apostolova.

EUPOL COPPS raises awareness on trade-based money laundering

EUPOL COPPS raises awareness on trade-based money laundering

EUPOL COPPS adviser held a two-day training session for Palestinian Prosecutors, Palestinian Police and Customs Police investigators to raise awareness about, trade-based money laundering and cybercrime legislation. The trainings, held in Ramallah in cooperation with the Attorney General Office and the Palestinian Judicial Institute, is part of EUPOL COPPS support for enhancing the capabilities of Palestinian Prosecutors in specialised topics within the area of criminal justice. Mission adviser provided the 15 attendees with the legal and operational know-how for identifying and understanding money laundering and its severe impact on society and economy. The training allocated a special focus on the Budapest Convention, international legal instrument of cooperation and cryptocurrencies used as mean of Money Laundering. Dr. Michele Tarlao, from Italian State Police  and EUPOL COPPS Anti-Narcotics and Organised Crime Advisor, shared his experience of investigating mafia related crimes and other organised criminal groups in Italy and abroad. “Organised criminal groups are often driven by financial gains and expensive assets such as luxury cars can be an indicator of money laundering, confiscating assets is therefore an important investigation measure to combat these activities. Economic crime affects more citizens, more often, than any other national security threat. The criminals responsible exploit some of the most vulnerable in our society to scam them out of their money,” said Tarlao.   Money laundering damages financial sector institutions that are vital for economic growth, promoting crime and corruption that slow economic growth, reducing efficiency in the real sector of the economy.    

   “Effective communication is key to success in every professional organisation. ”

“Effective communication is key to success in every professional organisation. ”

The Courts Team of EUPOL COPPS Mission delivered this week a two-day training on communication and team building skills for the staff members of the Training Department in the Palestinian Judicial Institute (PJI).  The training aimed at  enhancing the understanding of the importance of good and constructive team work and effective communication in the workplace, including positive feedback, mutual respect and trust building exercise. During the event,  the freelance trainer from the Entrepreneurship and Business Development Centre (EBDC), focused on interactive activities around topics such as different styles of communication and stages of team development. “We all strive for and have an ambition to become better communicators and team players in our workplace. There is nothing more important than to learn how to communicate and by learning this skill you make yourself more competent in everything you do. Good and effective communication is the key to success in every professional organisation,” said Anna Wielgosz, the Mission’s Justice Expert.  Moreover, the 12 participant were briefed on recipes and strategies for successful team building. They  were also presented with various risk management tools and techniques to solve conflicts and confrontations in the workplace. The training session also covered the importance of proper distribution of roles, transparency and accountability of project members as a mean to optimize workflow within the project teams.   

Palestinian chief prosecutors get insights on Pilot Mentoring Programme from Finnish experts

Palestinian chief prosecutors get insights on Pilot Mentoring Programme from Finnish experts

The EUPOL COPPS Prosecution Team facilitated this week a two-day  workshop for three Chief Prosecutors  on the pilot mentoring programme. The workshop, part of the mentoring program inaugurated in August last year,  was delivered by three high level leadership experts from Finland  and tackled elements of effective leadership and the leadership virtues. The presentations of Ms. Kirsi Henriksson, Director of the Crisis Management Centre (CMC Finland) and former Head of Mission of EUCAP Sahel Niger, and Mr. Pekka Kokkonen, Superintendent in Police University College of Finland and former Head of EUPOL COPPS Police Advisory Section,  highlighted the significance of excelling in various leadership functions, in particular in multi-cultural working environment subject to incessant changes, and the paramount value of employing emotional intelligence in leading, guiding and supporting the staff.  The presentation of Ms. Koivukoski,  former senior executive staff member of e.g. Nokia, NSN, Comptel etc., shed light on a wide range of leadership virtues and ethical standards pertinent to any effectively and enthusiastically exercised leadership. The workshop, aimed at complementing the knowledge gained by the Attorney General Office (AGO)  participants during the bi-weekly on-line mentoring sessions, facilitated by the Mission in the course of the past eight months, was one of the major steps towards the completion of the AGO pilot mentoring programme. Other mentoring sessions are envisaged to take place in June before the AGO participants get their diplomas by EUPOL COPPS in mid-July.  

EUPOL COPPS Mission delivers 200 copies of Human Rights Training Curriculum for law enforcement officials

EUPOL COPPS Mission delivers 200 copies of Human Rights Training Curriculum for law enforcement officials

EUPOL COPPS Mission delivered this week 200 copies of the Human Rights Training Curriculum for Law Enforcement Officials to the Ministry of Interior’s Human Rights and Democracy Unit. The drafting of the manual was coordinated by the Ministry of Interior and carried out in cooperation with Birzeit University. Chapters include the following topics: freedom of expression; freedom of assembly; prohibition of torture; social, economic and political rights of detainees; and responsibility for executing the unlawful orders of superiors. The curriculum has been designed in such a way as to allow for additional chapters to be added over time. The delivered copies have been tailored for the needs of trainers, while the edition for trainees will be printed next month. The Mission will follow up on this activity with, amongst others, a Training of Trainers (ToT) in the next mandate, scheduled for the beginning of July.

“You want all criminals behind bars. But sometimes you have to go a longer route so you don’t violate human rights”

“You want all criminals behind bars. But sometimes you have to go a longer route so you don’t violate human rights”

Some years ago in central Sweden, a horse owner reported to the police that thieves had broken into his barn and stolen some expensive saddles. Then another owner reported the same thing. Slowly, but surely, it became clear that these weren’t isolated incidents, but part of a pattern. Johan Ekstam, head of a local Intelligence Led Policing section set to work trying to identify if there were any traits these crimes had in common. “We understood that this was a gang who were specialised in stealing saddles. And we tried to establish a pattern. We identified where the thefts took place and at what time it was most likely and also looked at what kind of traffic was in the area. We were particularly interested to see what kind of traffic operated at night. The community policing team, whose job it is to maintain close links with the community were able to provide advice on movements, especially from nearby petrol stations. We decided to set up some patrols at night, on days like Monday and Tuesday which were days when we believed this gang operated. And then, one night a patrol received a tip off from a local farmer, which was in line with information from a neighbouring district and the customs authority. We caught the gang”. Ekstam is now deployed at EUPOL COPPS as a Senior Police Adviser on Intelligence Led Policing. He brings to Ramallah his long experience in gathering pieces of information to build up a picture of criminality that will lead to criminals being brought to justice. “Information and intelligence are key factors in creating a competitive advantage, in law enforcement like in business. Information, knowledge and intelligence increases the effectiveness of the police in dealing with crime”. “Intelligence Led Policing contributes to optimising police work,” the adviser from central Sweden continues. “It should flow through the whole organisation – ideally, police officers see things and then feed it to analysts who can make links and identify what the problems are and then flag it to management, who can make a plan for operational action. Especially when you have limited resources, it’s important to have clever thinking. It also allows for a more proactive approach to fighting crime”. Ekstam underlines however that intelligence gathering needs to be done in a way that respects the human rights of citizens. “You need an appropriate framework that complies with international human rights standards and data protection. There should be laws that take care of what you can enter in your intelligence gathering system and what you can’t. Employees who are working with intelligence must know what they are allowed to do and what they are not to. They must know data protection law by heart. Everyone has the right to a private life”. He also makes clear that there should be an external body with the authorisation to check how data is being used. “This is one thing we have discussed at length with our counterparts in the Palestinian Civil Police. There needs to be control over what information is gathered and protection so that no-one is harassed on the basis of their political or religious beliefs or because, for example, they are a woman. You want to be effective and put all criminals behind bars, but sometimes you have to go a longer route so you don’t violate human rights”. “Also, one of our most important things is protecting sources,” the Swedish police officer continues. “If it’s obvious to criminals who the source of information is, then the source will be targeted. You have to used the information as wisely as you can. It’s very sensitive”. The EUPOL COPPS advisers working on Intelligence Led Policing are supporting the Palestinian Civil Police to build capacity in this area. An important part is developing a training curriculum so that the different levels of the police organisation have the right skills to implement an Intelligence Led Policing approach. Within the curriculum, different training needs are identified for officers at management level or for officers in the field. A road map has also been drawn up to develop practical courses that will help to implement the overall vision outlined in the curriculum. The pandemic has had a significant impact on the ability of advisers to meet their counterparts, but Ekstam feels like progress is being made. “Last year, it sometimes felt like we were scratching at the surface of what needed to be done, but now we’re definitely moving forward”.

EUPOL COPPS delivers briefings on election security

EUPOL COPPS delivers briefings on election security

As part of EU support for the development of democracy in the occupied Palestinian territories, briefings on election security were delivered in all 11 districts of the West Bank for senior officials and police officers. The briefings were organised as a cooperation between EUPOL COPPS, the German Representative Office to the Palestinian Territories and the Palestinian Civil Police. “During elections most public institutions, including law enforcement agencies, have a role to play,” says Philipp Bovensiepen, a Senior Police Adviser at EUPOL COPPS, who has led the Mission’s contributions to these briefings. “While law enforcement agencies have a role in maintaining security during elections, it is extremely important that they remain entirely politically impartial. Moreover, they have to exercise proportionality in carrying out their duties and not do anything that could interfere with the democratic process”. The briefings delivered in the West Bank’s districts focused on the general principles of democratic elections, the role of the police, challenges that a police service might face, operational orders and mechanisms to allow police officers to vote. The topic of communication with the public was also covered. It is hoped that these briefings will help contribute to building capacity and facilitating successful elections in the occupied Palestinian territories.

EUPOL COPPS police advisers visit Salfit to listen to challenges and provide recommendations on strategic planning and human resources

EUPOL COPPS police advisers visit Salfit to listen to challenges and provide recommendations on strategic planning and human resources

A group of three EUPOL COPPS advisers, from Canada, the Netherlands and Romania visited the city of Salfit on 26 April in order to meet the head of the police in the district as well as other key stakeholders. The meetings provided an opportunity to listen to the challenges faced by local police officers as well as propose recommendations on how to meet those challenges. “We had very productive discussions with Brigadier Mamoun Fahmawi and his team,” says Karen Ziezold, a Senior Police Adviser at EUPOL COPPS. “We are working closely with the Palestinian Civil Police throughout the West Bank on strategic planning and human resources questions, and it was very useful to find out more about the realities on the ground in Salfit”. EUPOL COPPS is supporting the Palestinian Civil Police (PCP) with the development of a new national strategy for the period 2022 – 2027 and the Mission is advocating for a more collaborative approach with input from police districts and local authorities. As part of this process, EUPOL COPPS advisers are consulting with representatives of the PCP across the West Bank. The Mission is also providing advice on the development of human resources. The Mission has recommended that even with updated human resources processes there will need to be continuous evaluation of how things are running with the objective of updating and improving the overall PCP Human Resources Plan. A group of three EUPOL COPPS advisers, from Canada, the Netherlands and Romania visited the city of Salfit on 26 April in order to meet the head of the police in the district as well as other key stakeholders. The meetings provided an opportunity to listen to the challenges faced by local police officers as well as propose recommendations on how to meet those challenges. “We had very productive discussions with Brigadier Mamoun Fahmawi and his team,” says Karen Ziezold, a Senior Police Adviser at EUPOL COPPS. “We are working closely with the Palestinian Civil Police throughout the West Bank on strategic planning and human resources questions, and it was very useful to find out more about the realities on the ground in Salfit”. EUPOL COPPS is supporting the Palestinian Civil Police (PCP) with the development of a new national strategy for the period 2022 – 2027 and the Mission is advocating for a more collaborative approach with input from police districts and local authorities. As part of this process, EUPOL COPPS advisers are consulting with representatives of the PCP across the West Bank. The Mission is also providing advice on the development of human resources. The Mission has recommended that even with updated human resources processes there will need to be continuous evaluation of how things are running with the objective of updating and improving the overall PCP Human Resources Plan.