Civil and political rights/Independence of judges and lawyers – Special Rapporteur report – Communications with Governments (excerpts)



Dato' Param Cumaraswamy, submitted in accordance with

Commission on Human Rights resolution 2002/43


Situations in specific countries or territories*



1. This report contains brief summaries of the urgent appeals and communications transmitted to governmental authorities between 1 December 2001 and 31 December 2002, as well as replies to the allegations received between 1 January 2002 and 31 December 2002. In addition, the Special Rapporteur takes note in this chapter of the activities of other mechanisms which are related to his mandate. Where appropriate, the Special Rapporteur has briefly described developments in particular countries or territories even when no communications have been exchanged and, where possible, updated the facts up to the time of submission of this report. Where he has deemed it necessary, the Special Rapporteur has included his own observations. He wishes to emphasize that the appeals and communications reflected in this chapter are based exclusively upon information that has been transmitted to him directly. Where information was insufficient, the Special Rapporteur was not in a position to act. He also recognizes that problems concerning the independence and impartiality of the judiciary are not confined to the countries and territories mentioned. In this regard, he wishes to emphasize that readers of the present report should not interpret the omission of a particular country or territory as indicating that the Special Rapporteur considers that there are no problems with the independence of judges and lawyers in that country or territory.

2. In preparing this report, the Special Rapporteur has taken note of the reports submitted to the Commission by the country special rapporteurs/representatives and independent experts.



Communications to the Government 

82. On 2 May 2002, the Special Rapporteur sent a joint urgent appeal with the Special Rapporteur on torture, the Special Rapporteur on the freedom of opinion and expression and the Chairman-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention concerning Marwan Barghouthi. It was alleged that on 15 April 2002, Mr. Barghouthi had been detained by Israeli forces in Ramallah and since his arrest he had been prevented from sleeping and denied food, water and medical treatment. Mr. Barghouthi had also been denied access to his lawyer, with the exception of a single meeting on 16 April 2002. Since that time he had been kept in complete isolation.

83. On 7 May 2002, the Special Rapporteur sent a joint urgent appeal with the Special Rapporteur on torture concerning three Israeli detainees who were reportedly arrested around 30 April 2002, on suspicion of planning attacks against Arabs and other security offences. It was alleged that they were being held in incommunicado detention at an unknown location and that an order prohibiting meeting with counsel had been issued by the General Security Service (GSS). This order was issued initially for four days but had been extended for an additional six days.

84. On 12 June 2002, the Special Rapporteur sent a joint urgent appeal with the Special Rapporteur on torture concerning Ramzi Kobar, a field researcher with the Palestinian Society for the Protection of Human Rights and the Environment (LAW), and the General Director of LAW, Khader Shkirat. According to the information received, Mr. Shkirat had been scheduled to meet with his client, Marwan Barghouthi, on 9 June 2002 at 3:30 p.m. at the Petra Tikva Detention Centre. Upon arrival, he was told that he would have to wait because his client was being interrogated, and subsequently he was refused permission to see his client because he was reportedly late for the scheduled appointment. The information also stated that at this stage Mr. Shkirat witnessed his car being searched by members of the GSS and when he returned to his vehicle he was informed that Ramzi Kobar had been arrested for the purpose of interrogation.

85. On 19 November 2002, the Special Rapporteur sent a joint urgent appeal with the Chairman-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary detention concerning Dr. Khaled N. Diab, a United States citizen of Arab origin and Head of International Relief at the Qatar Red Crescent Society. According to the information received, Dr. Diab had been arrested at Ben Gurion Airport, Israel and Immigration authorities told him that he would be detained for at least eight days. It was alleged that during this period Dr. Diab was neither allowed to make phone calls nor was he permitted to contact a lawyer; further, the reason for his detention stemmed from the fact that the Immigration authorities had observed several entries in his passport to countries in situations of armed conflict, including Afghanistan and the Occupied Territories. Dr. Diab claimed that he had to travel to those various places for work purposes.


86. The Special Rapporteur regrets that the Government has not responded to any of the communications.


Palestinian Authority 

Communications sent 

154. On 17 May 2002, the Special Rapporteur sent a communication welcoming the statement by the Palestinian Authority that it would abide by the principle of the separation of powers and would rebuild the political system on the basis of democracy, the rule of law and an independent judiciary. Further, the Special Rapporteur welcomed the signing of a law recognizing the independence of the judiciary.

Communications received 

155. On 29 May 2002, the Authority replied to the Special Rapporteur’s communication of 17 May 2002. The Authority thanked the Special Rapporteur for the communication and stated that the changes come within the framework of the building a Palestinian society on sound and democratic foundations, based on the rule of law and order and the abidance by the principles of the separation of powers.




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