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Rights group: Abbas giving himself ‘absolute authority’

November 1, 2022 at 9:25 am

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on 6 February 2022 [Palestinian Presidency/Anadolu Agency]

Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas has given himself “absolute authority” through the formation of Supreme Council for Judicial Bodies and Committees, the Palestine Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) said yesterday.

In a statement, the PCHR said the presidential decree, which ordered the formation of this council, “was a dangerous precedent” as Abbas has become the “actual ruler of all authorities in the occupied territories.”

“This is a destructive strike to the last bases of judicial independence,” the PCHR said, pointing out that judicial independence is the “safety valve of peace and civil security,” as well as “the most important basis of democracy and human rights guarantees.”

The PCHR reiterated that this presidential decree goes against the Basic Palestinian Law and obligations to international law.

“It is like a death certificate for any hope for a Palestinian democracy, law sovereignty or separation among authorities,” the PCHR said. “It establishes the basis of autocracy.”

“This measure is the latest in a long series of similar measures aimed at suppressing freedoms and confiscating power from the different independent Palestinian bodies,” the PCHR said, adding: “Such measures have increased since the start of the internal Palestinian division in 2007.”

READ: Abbas forms new High Judicial Council, appoints himself head