Amman: Jordan has set up a special tribunal for so-called honour crimes in an effort to speed up trials in the cases.

Jordan's Criminal Court chief, Nayef Al Sammarat, said on Wednesday the new tribunal will start hearing cases next week.

Jordan is trying to battle honor killings with harsher sentences for perpetrators. But some officials say the trials take too long - sometimes up to 18 months - and that some perpetrators still receive lenient sentences.

Al Sammarat says the tribunal will provide a unified legal reference and that trials could be over within two months.

An average of 20 Jordanian women are killed each year in slayings known as honour killings because the perpetrators claim their actions restore their family's respect in the community.