Ref: 31/2012


In response to an invitation by the Faculty of
Law at al-Azhar University in Gaza City, Raji Sourani, Director of the
Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) and President of the Arab
Organization for Human Rights’ (AOHR) Board of Trustees, delivered on Sunday,
25 March 2012, a
lecture on universal jurisdiction and challenges facing accountability.


Dr. Abdul Rahman Abu al-Nasser, Dean of the
Faculty of Law at al-Azhar University, Mr. Ibrahim Abu Shammala, Deputy
Director of the Rule of Law Program which is run by UNDP, attended the lecture
which was part of a program aimed at enhancing applied legal education which is
implemented by Faculty of Law at al-Azhar University and funded by UNDP.


In preparation for the lecture, Dr. Abdul
Rahman Abu al-Nasser talked about PCHR’s work and highly appreciated PCHR’s
distinctive experience at the national and international levels, and PCHR’s
experience in prosecuting Israeli war criminals by employing universal


In his lecture, Sourani addressed the legal
framework of universal jurisdiction and ways to employ international human
rights law and international humanitarian law in order to serve the Palestinian
cause and the Palestinian people.  Sourani
stressed that it is thanks to the hard integrated work of dozens of
Palestinian, Arab and international legal experts that universal jurisdiction has
become a deterrent for dozens of Israeli war criminals involved in war crimes
against Palestinian civilians.


Sourani noted that PCHR’s experience in
universal jurisdiction opened the doors wide for Palestinian and international
lawyers willing to prosecute war criminal in view of the lack of international
prosecution and accountability mechanisms.  Sourani called for continued efforts aimed at
building international alliances in order to prosecute war criminals and ensure
remedy for Palestinian victims.  Sourani further
urged the attendants to read PCHR’s experience presented in PCHR’s report “Principle
and Practice of Universal Jurisdiction.”  Sourani stressed that PCHR is always ready to
help in circulating this experience.


At the end, Dr. Abdul Rahman Abu al-Nasser
honored Mr. Sourani by granting him the emblem of al-Azhar University in
appreciation for his distinctive efforts in the area of human rights at the national
and international levels.


Sourani expressed that granting him this emblem
is an honor for all PCHR employees and for those who assisted PCHR to prosecute
war criminals, including internationals in London, Madrid, Holland, Stockholm,
New York, New Zealand, Switzerland, South Africa, … etc.  Sourani noted that granting him this honor by
al-Azhar University and in the homeland is significant, and expressed
appreciation for the program aimed at enhancing applied legal education which
is funded by UNDP.