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Canada Supports Palestinian Justice Reform

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West Bank and Gaza - The Honourable Vic Toews, President of the Treasury Board, announced today, on behalf of the Honourable Beverley J. Oda, Minister of International Cooperation, Canada's support to the Palestinian justice sector reforms.

The project, aligned with the Palestinian Authority development priorities, isnamed "Sharaka" an Arabic word connoting trust and partnership.This project, which runs over five years, encompasses both the districts and headquarters of the Office of the Attorney General and the Public Prosecution Service (OAG/PP). The initiative includes training, equipment, infrastructure, information technology systems, and support to the OAG/PP. Minister Toews made the announcement during his visit to Ramallah.

"Strengthening governance and the rule of law in the Palestinian Authority (PA) is essential to building a better life for the Palestinian people and securing long-term peace and stability in the Middle East," said Minister Toews. "A fair and effective system of criminal justice, with an efficient and independent prosecution service, is integral to this process."

"The Canadian International Development Agency is continuing to deliver on Canada's commitment to support Palestinian reform and development. CIDA's assistance focuses on justice sector reform, economic growth and humanitarian assistance to better the lives of Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza," said Minister Oda.

The Sharaka project addresses the extensive and immediate physical requirements of the Prosecution Services. These include, for example, office space, equipment, furniture and vehicles, which will allow the institution to achieve a basic level of functionality in its operations. The project also addresses the longer-term but equally urgent need to build the institutional, organizational and professional capacities of the Office of the Attorney General and the Public Prosecution service and their staff.

Information:

Jessica Fletcher
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of International Cooperation
Telephone: 819-953-6238

Media Relations Office
Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
Telephone: 819-953-6534
E-mail: media@acdi-cida.gc.ca

Backgrounder

Support for the Palestinian Justice Sector

The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) is developing a Justice Sector Reform program in West Bank and Gaza involving initiatives for much-needed courthouses and support to forensic services and prosecution services.

As part of this initiative, CIDA and Justice Canada have developed a comprehensive five-year project to support and strengthen Palestinian prosecution services. Entitled "Sharaka", an Arabic word connoting trust and partnership, the project draws upon Canadian expertise and leadership to fill a gap in existing international support to the Palestinian justice sector.

The development of the Sharaka Project is based on detailed scoping, research and fieldwork, including extensive consultations with Palestinian Authority officials, international donors and agencies, civil society organizations and key stakeholders within the Palestinian justice sector.

The Palestinian Prosecution service includes two distinct but closely related entities: the Office of the Attorney General (OAG), which is the central department, headquartered in Ramallah; and the Public Prosecution (PP), which refers to the front-line prosecution offices located in judicial districts throughout the West Bank and Gaza. The OAG provides leadership, coordination, direction and supervision to the district offices, and handles prosecution matters in higher-level Ramallah-based courts.

The Sharaka project addresses two fundamental needs of the OAG/PP: first, the physical requirements of the institution; and second, the longer-term need to build the institutional, organizational and professional capacities of the OAG/PP and its staff. CIDA has entered into an Administrative Arrangement with the United Nations Office for Project Services to deliver the basic operational needs component of the Sharaka project. Complementing the physical aspects of the project, Justice Canada will provide technical legal assistance to support and develop the internal capacities of the OAG/PP.