Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is to issue a formal declaration criminalising torture. An announcement to this effect was made following the publication of the 18th Annual Report of the Independent Commission for Citizens' Rights on Monday. Abbas met with Commissioner-General Ahmed Harb to receive a copy of the report.
After the meeting, Harb said that he emphasised several important points to President Abbas during the meeting. "The first was the issue of torture in PA detention centres," he revealed. Abbas, he insisted, had a "clear understanding" of this.
Harb pointed out that the Commission's delegation also stressed the need to implement legal judgements as failure to do so is regarded as damaging to the prestige of the state and the judiciary.
According to the Commissioner-General, agreement has been reached with President Abbas to establish a joint committee to follow-up on many of the issues raised. "Especially," he added, "those concerning the role of the Commission in preparation for signing international conventions as a non-member observer state at the United Nations." The Commission, noted Harb, should be supported more by the government in recognition of its status as a national body and state institution.
A legal adviser to the president said that the report will be studied to see what has to be done to act in accordance with the laws already in force. Hassan Alaoure explained that a committee was set up to identify cases of torture and court judgements which have not been implemented. The results, he said, will be issued by the Commission before submission to the president.