At a workshop for 17 officials working in Palestine’s Ministry of Justice, the European Union Police and Rule of Law Mission (EUPOL COPPS) advisers presented the Finnish and Swedish approaches to dealing with criminals and underlined the important role that non-custodial sanctions can play in rehabilitating lawbreakers and preventing future crimes. The group of Palestinian officials have been tasked by the Ministry of Justice to look at ways in which Palestine’s penal code can be revised to integrate international best practices.
Alternative sanctions for non-violent crime used by Finland and Sweden, which were explored during the workshop, include suspended sentences, in which an offender avoids prison as long as they don’t reoffend, juvenile sentences, community service and monitoring sentences. The justice system tries to identify the underlying causes behind criminal acts, and will mandate psychological therapy and/or programmes to deal with substance abuse, if these are considered contributing factors in the crime.
EUPOL COPPS will continue to support the Palestinian group overseeing revisions to the penal code. Further workshops and meetings are planned in the coming months.
EUPOL COPPS is the European Union Co-ordinating Office for Palestinian Police Support. The aim of the Mission is to contribute to the establishment of sustainable and effective policing arrangements and to advise Palestinian counterparts on criminal justice and rule of law related aspects under Palestinian ownership.