Helping judges in Palestine better understand forensics evidence so that they don’t undermine the claims of women who are victims of violence is just one of the many positive results to come out of a major project to bring a greater awareness of human dignity to courtrooms in the occupied territories.
“There are a number of female judges working with forensics experts and other judges to make sure they’re interpreting evidence properly,” said Reem Bahdi, a professor in the university’s Faculty of Law, who co-directs KARAMAH – The Project on Judicial Independence and Human Dignity.
A multi-million dollar initiative, KARAMAH – the Palestinian word for dignity – aims to support access to justice in Palestine through research, continuing judicial education and directed civil society engagement. Over the last seven years, partners in the project have been helping lawyers and judges develop a greater understanding of human rights and dignity and how those concepts can be incorporated into the decisions that are made in courtrooms in the occupied territories.
“Human dignity is a very important concept, but how do you take that and institutionalize it in the instruments of the state,” said Bahdi, who travels to Palestine several times a year to work on the project.
One of the reasons the project is so important is because for many years, average Palestinians have viewed the courts as a system of oppression that supported and regulated the occupations. However, that misconception is beginning to change, thanks to the KARAMAH program, Bahdi said.
Bahdi will appear today on Research Matters, a weekly talk show that focuses on the work of University of Windsor researchers and airs every Thursday at 4:30 p.m. on CJAM 99.1 FM.