United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has released a statement on Wednesday expressing concern about “the dangerous drift in the democratic process in the Maldives largely as a result of the Supreme Court’s repeated interventions in the presidential election process”.
“I am alarmed that the Supreme Court of the Maldives is interfering excessively in the Presidential elections, and in so doing is subverting the democratic process and violating the right of Maldivians to freely elect their representatives,” the statement read.
The Supreme Court immediately hit back today, with Chief Justice Ahmed Faiz describing Pillay’s comments as “poorly researched” and “irresponsible”.
“The Supreme Court nullified the first round of the Presidential Election of 7 September 2013 on the basis of irregularities in the process, despite the general conclusions by national and international observers that the election was free and fair,” read Pillay’s statement.
Pillay also described the court’s election guidelines as “onerous” and “difficult to satisfy”.
“There have been longstanding concerns about the independence and impartiality of the judiciary in the Maldives, which both the High Commissioner and the Special Rapporteur on Independence of Judges and Lawyers, Gabriela Knaul, addressed during official visits to the country in 2011 and 2013,” added Pillay
“I am normally the first to defend the independence of the judiciary, but this also carries responsibilities. Judges should act in accordance with the principles of impartiality, propriety, equality and due diligence, as reflected in the UN Basic Principles on the Independence of Judiciary, the Bangalore Principles of Judicial Conduct, and Maldives’ own code of conduct,” Pillay stated.
The statement further also expressed concern regarding the court’s threats to charge lawyers, media and civil society groups for challenging its decisions, as well as “the reactivation of old cases to arrest opposition MPs or bar them from Parliament.”
“The Supreme Court appears set on undermining other independent institutions, stifling criticism and public debate, and depriving litigants of the legal representation of their choice,” Pillay stated.
Chief Justice’s response
“I harshly condemn UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay’s false allegations regarding the Maldives Supreme Court’s work to uphold its constitutional duties and responsibilities. I do not believe she has any authority to speak in such terms,” responded Chief Justice Faiz today.
Defending the court’s neutrality, Faiz argued that Pillay’s statement was unacceptable for an official operating under the UN’s mandate to protect the rights of large and small states alike.
The first round of the Maldives presidential election – held on September 7 was annulled by the Supreme Court earlier this month, with a fresh round of elections arranged to be held on October 19.
The re-scheduled vote, however, was also cancelled after police obstructed the Elections Commission, citing the Supreme Court’s issued 16 regulation as justification.
As well as condemning the police for the delay, the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives has also condemned the police for “acting beyond its mandate”, while a leaked report by the commission questions the credibility of the evidence used by the apex court in its annulment of the first round of elections.
A joint statement by the International Federation for Human Rights and local NGO Maldives Democracy Network has described the court’s verdict as being founded on “materially baseless arguments”, after the first round was “applauded as a success by the international community.”
A new first round is now scheduled for November 9, with the EC President Fuwad Thowfeek maintaining it will not be changed despite requests to expedite the polling date from both the current government and the contesting presidential candidates.
Government-aligned parties go to SC for political solutions
Progressive Party of Maldives lawyer Ibrahim ‘Wadde’ Waheed submitted a case to the Supreme Court on Tuesday seeking a ruling on the motion passed by the parliament to appoint Speaker Abdulla Shahid as interim head of state in the instance that an elected president cannot be installed by the constitutionally mandated date, November 11.
Waheed is quoted in local media as saying the parliamentary motion has been passed against the constitution and the verdicts of the Supreme Court.
On the same day, Wadde has also submitted another case to the court asking it to rule that the MDP MP Ahmed Hamza’s appointment to the judicial watchdog – the Judicial Services Commission (JSC) – was conducted in breach of the constitution.
In this case, Wadde argued that Hamza is a person who works “against the judiciary” and so he finds it “unacceptable that such a man can serve in the JSC”.
Earlier this month Wadde, alongside Jumhooree Coalition member ‘Madhanee Ihthihaadh’ (Civil Alliance) President Sheikh Mohamed Didi, filed a case in the apex court challenging opposition Maldivian Democratic Party candidate and former President Mohamed Nasheed’s candidacy.
The petition gave as grounds Nasheed’s criticism of the judiciary, as well as his “outright criticism towards Islam and iposing Islamic Sharia’ in the Maldives”.
Jumhooree Coalition’s Presidential Candidate Gasim Ibrahim has also this week called on President Dr Mohamed Waheed to seek advice from the apex court on the course of action he should take should there not be an elected leader by November 11.
Speaking at a party rally, Gasim stated that as Waheed has previously written to the parliament for advice, he believes the president should also seek the opinion of the Supreme Court.
12 thoughts on ““Supreme Court is subverting the democratic process”: UN High Commissioner for Human Rights”
Naive people (like Naiv Pillay) from developing countries are planted in international organizations for a reasons. A Maldivain also put in such a fix on Iran.
Congratulations to the Maldives Chief Justice for not getting trapped into the bluff. Finally Maldivains are realizing what the UN really is and how stupid it can be.
Proof that world is watching on in shock disgust as the previous dictatorship move the goal posts until they get the results that they want.
Democracy is being derailed and the supreme court and Gayoom is root of all evil trying to get back the brutal dictatorship.
Thank you Navi for standing up to the corruption and dictatorship and telling the world.
What, the doughty Navi Pillay in the fray? Gasim, Yameen and Justice Underpants had better give up! This female is going to be much more dangerous than the namby pamby Ban Ki Moon!
The Maldives deserves better than the shoddy treatment that has been meted out to the average citizen during the last two grotesque months. The average Maldivian is a great respecter of the law. Male is a little North of the Equator and from May to July there is bright sunshine at 6.00 p.m. We Sri Lankans used to be amazed to see bicycle headlights coming on at exactly six o' clock purely because the Law was such. It is such a country that has been treated to the outrageous farces of the elections.
Back here, in Sri Lanka, we teachers often had to go on election duty, so we know what the process involves. Fuad Thowfeek, whom I never knew, has justly become the second best known Maldivian - he speaks sense. I am sure his task is so much more difficult when two thirds of the male voters are either Mohamed Ahmed or Ahmed Mohamed. And half the ladies have up and out of the marital house to reside with their mothers!
What a quaint set-up it was! And now the matriarch from South Africa forays in: she is much pilloried by my own community in Sri Lanka, but is quite capable of warding off these evil guys, judging by the way she warded off the likes of Dr Mervyn Silva. Incidentally, we guys can be quite proud of the work we did in Male. So many genuine PhDs in the fray there. Our Mervyn bought a Doctorate off the Open International University.
Co-incidence? Navi began her career defending Nelson Mandela; now she's got to ensure justice for Anni Mandela!
@Sri Lankan Teacher on Wed, 30th Oct 2013 11:28 PM
"Incidentally, we guys can be quite proud of the work we did in Male. So many genuine PhDs in the fray there. "
Generations of Maldivians should be forever grateful to our friends from Sri Lanka. If not for them, Male would be no more than a fishing village even today. Maldivians' exposure to the rest of the world came through Sri Lanka and of course the role of Sri Lanka teachers in our education system is legendary.
On the topic of Navi Pillay, I'm glad she has taken this fight. Figures like this from the international community are much needed in order to get rid of the cancerous judiciary at the very heart of our problems.
Incidentally, I hope that a democratically elected leader's first job literally should begin with the task of cleaning the s*it houses otherwise known as our courts.
@ Sri Lankan Teacher
Indeed I think all agree with Ahmed Bin when he pays tribute Sri Lankan teachers. We in Maldives would always appreciate their services and my Father's generation fondly remembers a Mr Hill, a Mrs George and how in a bygone era the O/L’s results used to be spectacular.
However I feel obliged to differ with the good teacher and feel he/she is insulting President Mandela when comparing a Mandella-an Icon of Peace, Justice and rule of law to an Anni who is on record inciting arson, violence and lawlessness & so is in effect a despot more in line with a Mugabe or Idi Amin rather than a Mandella.
Anni simply put is a despot who didn’t know how to use a Presidency handed to him on a plate in a much changed world post Sept 11. Simply he is a despot who bribes, threatened, encouraged drugs and unleashed lawlessness taking the law into his own hands.
Anni really shouldn’t be standing for any election except for the fact that a hypocritical world pressured the Maldives to do away with due process and rule of law.
As for Mrs Pillai we know her track record of pursuing the interests of her puppet masters pulling her strings. She is super active in Sri Lanka and now Maldives and serves regularly to further the interests of the new world order that she represents at the UN.
We do not see her wax eloquent on Palestine, Burma or Drone strikes killings with mass trampling of human rights, and leading to the slaughter of the innocent. What is of the paramont value to this woman and her masters is that Maldives become secular and the first CHURCH be built on her soil due to the efforts of Anni and his cabal who commandeered the MDP and pulled the wool over the eyes of its gullible members.
It remains to be seen if Maldives fall victim to the evil designs of some really evil people.
@Sri Lankan Teacher
Your teachings only produced people like @Ahmed Bin Suvaa who wants Maldives to be run as a part of Tamil Nadu.
This lady can say anything she want but we don't need to bother about her.
She has no moral ground to attack on Maldives when she does not see, what is happening India, Myanma , burma, etc
@Sri Lankan Teacher
Thank you and all of the other teachers here in Maldives who continue to labor in building a brighter future for Maldivians
SC shall rule that Pilley be dismissed from UN with immediate effect. Mr. Uththama can also scribe a guideline at the bottom of the verdict.
Ay yes the Maldives, like a young Brittany Spears she hit success but soon after is in a drunken mess. Hopefully she'll get back on track and stop running around without undies on, oh wait that is the SC judge also, lol...
Pillay - first South african to obtain Phd from Harvard Law school, she holds a doctorate in juridical science. she is first non white woman to open a law practise in her home town in south africa, during apartheid she was not allowed to enter judges chambers due to her colour. Mandela nominated Pillay as the first non-white woman to serve on the High Court of South Africa, elected by the United Nations General Assembly to serve as a judge at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, She served for eight years, including four years as president. elected to the first ever panel of judges of the International Criminal Court, She was elected to a six-year term, but resigned in August 2008 in order to take up her position with the UN.
You seriously want to take an uthamafandiyaaru's word while he sits on the bench defending disgraceful judges who have been caught on audio expressing biased personal political opinions against those who they pass judgement and not to forget a judge who have been caught on video fornicating with 3 prostitutes!
bllody what is the integrity of your country you people belong to the medivial tribes of some africian momedian who brought islam so be medivial dont develop
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