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Enhancing Women’s role in Security and Justice: EUPOL COPPS Head of Mission meets Palestinian Minister for Women’s Affairs

Enhancing Women’s role in Security and Justice: EUPOL COPPS Head of Mission meets Palestinian Minister for Women’s Affairs

They both started their assignment as leaders on 1 April this year, however this is not the only thing Palestinian Minister of Women’s Affairs (MoWA), Mona Khalil, and EUPOL COPPS Head of Mission (HoM), Karin Limdal, have in common. Within the respective lines of work, when it comes to advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment, these two women, who met for the first time in Ramallah, on 10 July, do mean business, and hands on. During the meeting, the Palestinian Minister made EUPOL COPPS’ HoM aware that she is familiar with the Mission’s activities, expressing appreciation for the work done - and in the making - for enhancing women’s role and career advancement in the security and justice sectors. Minister Khalil expressed willingness to cooperate with EUPOL COPPS, not least, in the implementation of UN Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, sharing about plans to promote quotas for women in decision-making positions, including within the justice sector and the police. Among other topics of discussion, the review and the harmonisation of legislation, including in relation to international laws and conventions, newly proposed legislation, for example on combatting human trafficking, women’s political participation and awareness raising, including on legal aid for women. The Minister also touched upon the impact of the current circumstances on women and children and the related existing coordination with NGOs active all over Palestine. In expressing the Mission’s willingness to increase cooperation with MoWA, HoM Limdal underlined the importance of the family protection law, of increasing women participation in the security sector, and the related support from men in leadership positions towards women’s professional networks. Minister Khalil defined MoWA as a “cross-cutting” ministry, explaining about its close cooperation with other ministries including labor, health, economy, education, and interior. EUPOL COPPS Gender advisor also joined the meeting, as similarly, Gender (and also Human Rights) domains are cross cutting issues in the Mission’s activities, as these refer to values inspiring EU Crisis Management Mission’s actions as a whole.

Enabling Palestinian Police’s Safe and Secure Information Exchanges 

Enabling Palestinian Police’s Safe and Secure Information Exchanges 

Secure and correct handling of data is increasingly important to effective, modern policing. Criminal investigators can build evidence-based cases for submission to relevant justice institutions by using centralised data collection systems. For such a process to take place in a correct way, officers have to be able to rely on a safe and secure information exchange. This is the case in Palestine, like in Europe. This process is important not only to ensure that sensitive information does not fall into the wrong hands, but also for the safeguard of Human Rights and Gender related sensitive information.  To support the Palestinian Civil Police (PCP) safe and secure information exchanges, EUPOL COPPS handed over technical items, including tablets where software to access to the Police Data base remotely is to be installed, in Ramallah, on 09 June.   The tablets are particularly useful for the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the PCP for accurate reporting based on collection of information, photos, and other evidence, to be stored in a safe, secured and appropriate manner.  This is important especially when working in the field and/or on the move.   Prior to this hand-over the PCP used obsolete tablets.  “These items are essential for our work, so far, we were lacking remote access to data from the field. Furthermore, the items are marked with the insignia of the PCP that help us in all kinds of circumstance,” said Head the of Information and Communications Technology, Brigadier Suliman AL Khatib.  To compensate for the lack of equipment prior to EUPOL COPPS hand-over, Palestinian police staff used also personal mobile phones in the absence of other items, which poses concerns. Now, with the availability of appropriate equipment, General Data Protection, regulations related to Human Rights, such as protection of personal data, obligations, procedures and measures that ensure constitutional compliance, and justification of interference with privacy, dignity, and secrecy of personal data in the processing of personal data, can better be applied.   

Why Police engagement on environmental issues makes sense. In Palestine as elsewhere

Why Police engagement on environmental issues makes sense. In Palestine as elsewhere

“Why is the environment an important topic, even in the current dire circumstances?” asks EUPOL COPPS Environmental expert to a group of Palestinian police officers first responders also to environmental crimes from the Ubeidiya police station, in the Bethlehem district on 2 July. Hands raise, answers follow, in turn: “Nature is part of us, is part of Palestine;” “in cases of crimes related to the environment people come to us, we are the first responders;” “it is our responsibility to protect nature within the law.” The lecture/training of EUPOL COPPS environmental expert, a police advisor herself, has not even started, but the engagement in the room is palpable, as discussions among officers on the reasons why environmental crimes, and the environment in general, is a topic of relevance in Palestine like elsewhere, take place from minute one. Broadly, environmental crimes can affect people’s lives, wellbeing, and their future. As EUPOL COPPS environmental expert stresses during the training session, protection and security of citizens and personal safety and security are very much related to environmental crimes/issues. Besides the tragic current and long-term circumstances, Palestine is facing a range of climate and environmental risks which directly affect human security. The importance of protecting natural and cultural resources, and environmental crimes are the main topics of EUPOL COPPS lecture in Ubeidiya. Related crimes including corruption, money laundering, narcotics, and illegal/counterfeit productions are also addressed, with display of imagery and real-life examples, allowing for exchanges and lively discussions among the participants and the trainer. The labelling of hazardous chemicals or waste and personal protection when on patrol in relation to environmental or chemical related hazard are other hot topics discussed in the room. Fares, a 32-year-old Palestinian experienced police officer who studied International Law abroad, stresses how important it is for him and his colleagues to go through all the symbols showed during the lecture and having the opportunity to ask questions, as situation of danger do not go away in this particularly current difficult times, but is in fact quite the opposite. When asked if any other final question, one of the officer’s answers is: “we need more of this, and to go deeper into the topic.” As stated in United Nations resolutions on the Environment, armed conflicts lead, directly and indirectly, to environmental degradation. During war environmental pollution as health hazard, the destruction of forests, the poisoning of soils and the devastation of various animal species, have a direct and devastating impact on the population. Palestine makes no exception, as the existence of a resolute, dedicated police unit demonstrates. Within the framework of its mandate. EUPOL COPPS is committed to support Palestinian police colleagues in tackling environmental crime, analysing disaster risks, and any needed related action.

Hands-on tips for Palestinian Police officers on Information-led Policing

Hands-on tips for Palestinian Police officers on Information-led Policing

Valuable information is crucial for effective law enforcement. Police work rely heavily on Information Led-Policing (ILP) to collect and analyse data and ultimately render justice. This week, EUPOL COPPS Information Led Policing (ILP) advisors delivered a third and final session of a three-part series of training to the Department of Information of the Palestinian Civil Police.    The six Palestinian police officers joining the training worked on the review of the information cycle, the different types of criminal analysis and some case study.  Previous sessions of this series included training on investigative gaps, how to work with investigators to narrow or fill those gaps, report writing, and a presentation from the Department of Information (DoI) analysts on their work on an ongoing robbery investigation.  The sessions were interactive, with a free and open exchange of information and experiences between the ILP advisors and the DoI analysts, to learn from one another about common challenges and experiences of policing. “During these sessions, we emphasised that a collaborative approach, combined with information sharing, police accountability coupled with intelligence operations are key elements in solving cases,” said one of the Mission’s Intelligence Led Policing advisers who delivered the trainings, together with his Cyber Crime Expert colleague.

Enhancing law compliance in the society: quality of Legislation Training Course held in Ramallah

Enhancing law compliance in the society: quality of Legislation Training Course held in Ramallah

In Palestine, like in Europe, improving the quality of legislation can increase transparency, clarity, legitimacy and enhance compliance and understanding by the citizens. On the contrary, poor-quality legislation can lead to disaffection among citizens and mistrust in institutions responsible for producing, implementing, and enforcing the legislation. Mohammed is 31 years old and was born in Jericho, Palestine. He is a legal assistant to Head of the official Palestinian Gazette, the “Diwan”. Mohammed is among the 14 assistant legal advisors of the Diwan (6 males and the 9 females) who participated in the “Legislation quality course” organised by EUPOL COPPS on 26 and 27 June, in Ramallah. One legal advisor from the Ministry of Justice also participated in the training activity. This course aims at improving the quality of drafting the legislation and/or its amendments before these get published. Topics included the concept of quality legislation, forms of quality legislation, quality of policy legislation, compliance of quality of legislations and linking the quality of legislation to the stages of its development. According to Mohammed the course was relevant as it explained the importance of focusing also on pre-drafting stages. “In fact - details Mohammed - we now know that this is even more important, as we can pitch elements to be included in the legislation at early stages, which decreases the likelihood of wasting efforts for elements not to be included in the legislation”. For Alia, 31 years old, legal advisor, an enhanced quality of legislation leads to and increased abidance to the legislation among the Palestinian population: “in order to respect of the law, you need to know it, the clearer the law, the more it is respected”. EUPOL COPPS Justice section experts strive to support their Palestinian partners’ expressed needs on by working together, sharing international best practices, learning from each other every day.  

Palestinian Prosecutors & Police officers train on Non-accusatory Interview Techniques in Bethlehem

Palestinian Prosecutors & Police officers train on Non-accusatory Interview Techniques in Bethlehem

Just like in maths, whatever your field of expertise is, you can be sure about a common denominator: an equal participation of men and women in leading positions increases the public’s trust in what you do. The judiciary makes no exception, in Palestine, like in Europe. To accomplish equal participation of women in the judiciary is key to achieving a more just rule of law. To get there, the same career opportunities for all male and female prosecutors are to become the norm. Palestinian prosecutor and law enforcement female officers, like other women elsewhere, have expectations for this to be fully implemented, sooner rather than later.   The Bethlehem Project - involving Palestinian prosecutors and police officers – is an ongoing Mission’s activity working, but not limited to, equality on the workplace.  In a nutshell, this project aims at enhancing the pre-trial cooperation and coordination in criminal investigations between prosecutors and police officers at strategic and technical level.    Within the framework of this project, Mission’s experts on Prosecution and Security Sector Reform delivered a training day course focusing on interviews techniques, the so-called P.E.A.C.E mode, on 24 June, in Bethlehem.   The PEACE abbreviation stands for P - planning, preparation, E - engage, explain, A - account, clarification, C – closure, E – evaluation. The PEACE model is internationally widely considered to be the best interviewing practice, suitable for any type of interviewee, for example victim, witness, or suspect it focuses on interviews techniques. It is perceived as a non-accusatory, information gathering approach to investigative interviewing.   Topics of the training included case studies, description of which tools to use in an interview, how to plan the interview, and the legal requirements and how to best write a report.   During the one-day training, the five Palestinian prosecutors (3 females), and seven police officers (1 female) attending the activity, engaged with their European colleagues from EUPOL COPPS delivering the lectures, in group discussions. Discussions to establish a network to empower and support female prosecutors in their professional development was also among the topics of the Bethlehem event. When time is up to launch the network the Gender Unit at the Palestinian Attorney General Office will be the lead in addressing needs of the female prosecutors, choosing representatives from each district to be part of it. EUPOL COPPS is fully dedicated to the inclusion of human rights as well as a gender perspective and gender mainstreaming standards in all its activities, both within the Mission and while working with our Palestinian counterparts.    

The Council of the European Union decided to extend our and EUBAM Rafah's mandates until 30 June 2025

The Council of the European Union decided to extend our and EUBAM Rafah's mandates until 30 June 2025

The Council of the European Union decided to extend our and EUBAM Rafah's mandates until 30 June 2025.Here the link to the EU Council press release: Click Here

EUPOL COPPS organized a two-day retreat “Empowering Palestinian Women in the Judiciary in conflict situations”

EUPOL COPPS organized a two-day retreat “Empowering Palestinian Women in the Judiciary in conflict situations”

On 3rd June and 4th June, EUPOL COPPS organized a two-day retreat “Empowering Palestinian Women in the Judiciary in conflict situations” with opening remarks by the Head of Mission, Karin Limdal, together with the Deputy Head of EUREP, Maria Velasco. The event hosted Palestinian female lawyers, judges, prosecutors and representatives from the Palestinian Anti-Corruption Commission, with visiting panel-experts, both online and in-person, including judges from Spain, West-Sahara and the Palestinian religious courts. The two-day event intended to address the unique challenges faced by female lawyers, enhance the Palestinian Female Leadership Network, and to discuss women’s situation in conflict, with an emphasis on gender responsive reforms, women empowerment and leadership. It was the right forum to discuss the current situation of Palestinian women in the justice sector, raising the voice for equality and access to justice for everyone. It was introduced the survey that EUPOL COPPS conducted last September in different districts in the West Bank to figure out the main challenges that female lawyers face with. It was a unique opportunity to have the presence of motivated women ready to lead a change in Justice, promoting respect for human rights , work together and support each other to achieve improvements in the administration of justice. Head of Mission underlined the importance of discussing women’s inclusion and challenges in justice, despite the current very difficult situation which has a direct impact for women as professionals in the justice sector. The Mission remains committed in supporting women-led professional networks, and will continue to facilitate dialogue between governmental, and non-governmental justice actors.

Head of Mission meets with the Head of Palestinian Bar Association

Head of Mission meets with the Head of Palestinian Bar Association

On the 6 June the EUPOL COPPS Head of Mission met with the Mr. Fadi Abbas, Head of the Palestinian Bar Association (PBA). The two discussed the difficult situation for lawyers in the West Bank and Gaza and the priorities for the justice system in connection with the Government’s Reform Agenda as well as early representation for juveniles, the possibility to develop a e-court system, getting more women elected to the PBA council and formalizing the Female Leadership Network for lawyers.

Head of Mission meets with the Palestinian Anti-Corruption Commissioner in Ramallah

Head of Mission meets with the Palestinian Anti-Corruption Commissioner in Ramallah

On 4 June, the Head of Mission Karin Limdal met with the Palestinian Anti-Corruption Commissioner (PACC) Dr. Read Radwan. She assured him of the continued cooperation and mentioned specifically anti-corruption legislation, asset declaration system, witness protection, cooperation between PACC and PCP and the gender audit as examples of successful of past and present cooperation. In relation to the Government’s Reform Agenda, the Commissioner informed that the PACC had delivered its annual report to the President and PM and that a summary had been made public . Both agreed on the importance of involving anti-corruption and oversight in the plans for the day after in Gaza and the HoM was pleased to see this already included in the draft Strategic Plan 2024-2029, to be officially presented in an event in July.