MUSAWA - The Palestinian Center for the Independence of the Judiciary and the Legal Profession is a neutral, non-partisan and independent Palestinian civil society organization based in Ramallah and Gaza, Palestine. Established in 2002 by lawyers, former judges and human rights activists, MUSAWA is dedicated to defending the independence of the judiciary and the legal profession through leading a watchdog role in monitoring the performance of the pillars of justice in Palestine.
MUSAWA recognizes the importance of a sound legal and judicial system, and considers it a necessity to the building of the Palestinian State where the development of a functioning justice system is still under progress and will not be finalized soon. MUSAWA has taken the initiative and has continued to work towards promoting respect for the rule of law through monitoring, documenting and following up rule-of-law violations and non-compliances; guaranteeing the positive separation of powers in the three branches of government; building on the capabilities of legal professionals to assure quality practice of the law; and guaranteeing that the Palestinian law is accessible, fair, effective and accountable. Even in fully developed justice systems, such an organization would be highly relevant.
In a system as in Palestine, where important counterweighs are still underdeveloped or missing, the existence of an independent and competent watchdog that monitors the justice system is of paramount importance. This becomes particularly important in a developmental context of an emerging justice system where the significance of lawyers as an integral part of a rule of law system is often not sufficiently valued. It is fair to say that improving the quality of legal services as well as strengthening the status and professional attitude of lawyers are two of the most efficient ways to put the rule of law into effect.