ICJ delegation completes fact-finding mission

A delegation of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) who arrived in the Maldives last week to discuss a long-term engagement to strengthen the country’s judiciary completed its fact-finding mission last week.

According to a press statement by the ICJ, the objective of the mission was “to assess progress towards the establishment of an independent, impartial, and competent judiciary, and to make recommendations.”

Briefing the press on its preliminary observations, the delegation, led by Dr Param Cumaraswamy and Dr Leandro Despouy, both former UN Special Rapporteurs, urged collaboration by all political parties and authorities to support the consolidation of an independent judiciary.

“Recognition is owed to members of both the current and former Governments for the peaceful transfer of power. No political actors are in exile. All those with whom I met in 2007 are today participating through democratic institutions in the task of consolidating these achievements,” Dr. Despouy said. “An independent judiciary is basic pillar of this transition to democracy, without which there is a risk of reversals.”

The delegation noted that one of the most serious challenges faced by the judiciary was the absence of important legislation such as the Judicature Bill, the Penal Code, a Criminal Procedure Code, and the Evidence Bill.