22.8.2022, Nablus | The Palestinian Association for Empowerment and Local Development—REFORM organised a capacity-building training for a group of mediators and arbitrators from Nablus and Bethlehem. This was part of the “Enhancing Access to Justice Through Promoting Alternative Dispute Resolutions and Early Response Mechanisms” – Phase II project.
This training aimed to increase the capabilities of participants to use Alternative means of Dispute Resolution (ADR) within the Palestinian Justice System to be in line with the human rights system and gender equality. This was to raise awareness on alternative dispute resolution tools in Palestine. The training also aimed to provide the participants with sufficient knowledge and skills to enable them to appropriately handle deep cultural structure; which is one of the main causes of disputes in the targeted areas.
The training was conducted during the month of August over (15) days. It was divided into three training groups depending on the targeted areas. For instance, the first group was in Bethlehem governorate, the second group in Nablus governorate and the third from governorates of Jenin, Tubas, Tulkarm, Salfit and Qalqilya.
The training included three training tracks that mainly focused on developing the use of conflict transformation mechanisms within the alternative means of dispute resolution. The mechanisms promote gender and children sensitivity when using alternative means of dispute resolution. It also builds and develops the arbitrators’ and mediators’ technical skills and capabilities.
Furthermore, the training covered the following themes:
1. Conflict triangle analysis consisting of deep cultural analyses, individual assumption and what is behind these contradictions.
2. Practical experiences in arbitration cases, basic human needs and the nature of mediators’ work in alternative means of dispute resolution.
3. The concepts, historical context, types and legislative framework of ADR.
This project aims to enhance the access to justice for vulnerable and marginalised groups by enabling the institutionalisation and strengthening of ADR mechanisms within the formal and informal justice systems, promoting human rights and gender justice. It also seeks to contribute to bridging the jurisdictional gaps and enhance the employability of conflict transformation tools within the ADR.
The Training achieved a number of results, which focused on enhancing the participants' knowledge of the professional practice of alternative means in disputed cases to access justice. The participants’ knowledge of the need to legitimise alternative means increased, linking alternative means of dispute resolution and the human rights system.
Fawzi Abu Dayyeh, one of the participants, stated that "the topics presented in the training come at the core of capacity building for arbitrators... I hope for more practical applications of how to properly prepare and conduct the arbitration document". Another participant named Israa stressed the importance of providing spaces for the field of mediation, arbitration and alternative means. There is importance in providing on the methods utilised by the trainers.
The Legal Counsel and Director of the Arbitration Department, at the Ministry of Justice, Mr. Hammam Melhem, numbered various findings resulting from these exercises:
1. The age differences between the participants contributed to the diversification of the information and experiences of the participants in the mechanisms of alternative means of conflict resolution.
2. The limited number of women working in the field of mediation, arbitration and alternative means of conflict resolution.
3. The necessity of working to enhance awareness on the importance of resorting to alternative means to resolve disputes and contentious issues.
4. Ease of networking citizens with arbitrators and mediators by working within the development of the database at the Palestinian Ministry of Justice.
On the other hand, the participants concluded the training with several recommendations, including:
1. The importance of having a fair trial guarantee, while hearing cases through alternative means of resolving disputes.
2. The necessity of finding the means to achieve gender justice, in order to ensure the fulfilment of the legal principles of the requirements of rights.
3. The importance of working capacity building trainings in the field of arbitration in a scientific manner.
4. The importance of the exercises, which aim at building participants' capacities in alternative dispute resolution mechanisms.
5. The importance of having influence on the societal level to enhance awareness of the importance of alternative means in resolving disputes. In addition, it is important to reduce the judicial burden through awareness raising media campaigns.
6. Confusion in the concepts of mediation, arbitration and alternative mechanisms when resolving disputes.
These training sessions come as part of the “Enhancing access to justice in Hebron, Bethlehem, Salfit, Nablus and Qalqilyah through promoting ADR and early response mechanisms” – Phase II project, implemented by The Palestinian Association for Empowerment and Local Development—REFORM, in partnership with the General Administration of Professional Affairs and Alternative Means for Resolving Disputes in the Palestinian Ministry of Justice and supported by Sawasya II: UNDP, UN Women and UNICEF Joint Programme: Promoting the Rule of Law in the State of Palestine.