EC dismissals: Court decision condemned by international community, EC praised

The decision of the Supreme Court to dismiss members of the Elections Commission (EC) this week has been roundly condemned by the international community.

In statements released today, the US has said it “strongly objects” to the courts actions, and Canada has said that it was “deeply troubled” by the decision, while UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has also expressed concern.

Meanwhile, all three statements have praised the work of the EC over recent months – the US noting that the EC has made “laudable efforts to hold multiple successful elections despite previous judicial interference.”

“The Maldives Election Commission has done an exceptional job under especially difficult circumstances in ensuring transparent, inclusive and credible electoral processes in the Maldives,” read the Canadian statement.

Similarly, the UN stated noted that Ban Ki-Moon “commends the Elections Commission for its professionalism and tireless efforts to ensure credible and transparent elections.”

The growing international criticism of the court’s decision comes alongside domestic accusations that the ruling has undermined the constitution and the independent institutions contained therein.

With less than two weeks remaining until the Majlis polls on March 22, the EU’s Maldives Elections Observer Mission has noted the significant “time pressure” which now weighs on the EC.

Following the dismissal of EC President Fuwad Thowfeek and Vice-President Ahmed Fayaz on Sunday (March 9), the EC is left without a constitutionally mandated quorum needed to hold meetings.

The government is currently taking applications for the vacant positions, after which the president is legally required to submit names to the Majlis for approval.

The Majlis yesterday wrote to both the Chief Justice and the Attorney General stating that the constitution granted the powers for appointments and dismissals of the EC to the legislature.

International critics

“The Court’s decision to censure all members of the commission for ‘disobeying and challenging’ previous Supreme Court judgements also raises questions regarding due process and judicial interference in the electoral process,” read today’s Canadian statement.

“An independent and effective election commission is an essential element in any genuine democracy, and undermining the commission and its ability to function again places the Maldives’ democratic transition in question.”

In a similar vein, the US statement suggested that the court’s decision represented an “unprecedented expansion of judicial powers”.

“The Supreme Court’s insistence on holding parliamentary elections on March 22 while imprisoning the very official responsible for holding those elections calls into serious question the government’s commitment to democracy,” said the US State Department.

Ban Ki-moon underlined the “importance of respect for the principle of separation of powers, the rule of law, and the independence of constitutionally established bodies.”

Today’s criticism comes after repeated warnings from the government to refrain from criticising the country’s courts.

President Abdulla Yameen yesterday noted that the tendency for “first world” countries to “interfere” in the internal matters of small countries was concerning, echoing comments recently made by the Maldives’ foreign minister at the UN Human Rights Council.

“We request our international partners to support us. We request you to contribute constructively in overcoming our challenges. We urge you not to undermine our judicial system,” said Dunya Maumoon the HRC’s 25th session last week.

Dunya yesterday also called upon the Commonwealth – a notable critic of the Maldives during the recent protracted presidential elections – to become a more “relevant” and “responsive” body.

The Commonwealth had not released any statements on the current EC case at the time of press.

The Maldives judiciary has been the subject of international criticism on a number of occasions in recent months.

The UN Human Rights Committee on civil and political rights has previously said it is “deeply concerned about the state of the judiciary in the Maldives”, while the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay last year accused the Supreme Court of “subverting the democratic process”.

UN Special Rapporteur for the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, Gabriela Knaul expressed concern over the judiciary in a 2013 report, while the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) had in 2011 stated that the Maldivian courts were failing to serve the public impartially.


13 thoughts on “EC dismissals: Court decision condemned by international community, EC praised”

  1. i have tried to find the US statement and could not find. Can anyone direct me to that?

  2. How can one "undermine" an already discredited and undermined judicial system? Legal experts from the ICJ and the United Nations have all said the same thing: the Maldivian judicial system is broken badly.

    That's not interference. That's pointing out the obvious to those who are blind to it.

  3. Hey Hero, have you ever heard of google?

  4. Hero,
    Look at the front page of the Sri Lanka US embassy site:

    Amazing you can't even find that.

  5. Hey hero, incase you are still confused, here is the link to google search engine

  6. Kuribee (Hero) would applaud Yameen and fully agree with him if Yameen would say the Maldivian flag was yellow with a few blue cute hearts in the middle.

    Kuribee also knows the whole world is wrong and he and the little group he belongs to is right.

  7. So literally dhunya maumoon is covering up for her uncle and dad. Playing the good daughter "no no my family just wants to rule the country, this is not about democracy, this is about our wealth and inheritance"... Dhunya maumoon, how can u say the judiciary is functioning in a democratic and an independent way, when clearly everyone knows they are not.

  8. Compare the statistics of the criminal offenses recorded in Maldives to amount of verdicts the court has reached to after resolving the case. can bet more women have been flogged, while more cases of gang involvement has be set loose after they ve bribed the courts. Courts have reached to the point that they have become useless and keeps robbing, and rapping the country off. Corrupt bastards they are.

  9. @Yo: Eh, you know how people like 'hero' can barely operate computers. They're just told to come to sites and talk shit to earn their next heroin dose.

  10. hey non of hose sites had said as mentioned in this article . This article had pick words from here and there to come up with a different meaning.

    Some people who makes comments here believes that Nasheed is a GOD and will do anything for their master.

  11. This is not about Nasheed, Waheed, Qasim, Yameen or Qayyoom.

    This is about our future and deciding what kind of system we want to live in. For all PPM/JP/MDA/assorted-Nasheed-haters-in-support-of-the-government out there, imagine this scenario;

    Instead of Justice Abdullah Saeed, imagine that his spot was occupied by Shuaib Abdulrahman(who has shown that his lot is thrown in with the MDP). Then imagine that instead of Justices Ali Hameed Abdulla, Adam Mohamed and Dr. Abdullah Didi their posts were held by Abdullah Haseen, Ahmed Abdullah Afeef and Hisan Hussein. Then imagine Shaheen Hameed in Mu'utasim Adnan's place as the only Justice with half a conscience. What would you say then if a Supreme Court bench configured in favor of the MDP started passing rulings targeted at defanging any institution where PPM held any sway? Would you defend the judiciary and its independence if a Supreme Court bench sympathetic to the MDP, started disqualifying PPM MPs while refusing to entertain petitions against parliamentarians from the MDP?

    For a lot of people, the current configuration of the Supreme Court bench suits them because it favors the current government. Meanwhile a large number of people in the opposition are opposed to the configuration merely because they wish they could replace the bench with their own stooges.

    The solution does not lie on either of those extremes. We are at an impasse in our democratic future. It is now that our politicians must show leadership and farsightedness by coming together to constitute a Supreme Court made up of respectable individuals who would not do anything and everything they're asked in wilfull ignorance of universal and historical standards of justice, fairness and common sense. It would be hard to find a prominent figure in the legal industry without some sort of political affiliation or the other. However there are several in whom the public have more confidence than the current bench. Although it would be ideal for the heads of the judiciary to come from within our judiciary was never really a proper one under Qayyoom.

    It was always designed to be a rubber stamp body which deferred to the government in important matters while ruling according to its whims and fancies in others. Past governments have failed to prioritize the judiciary by refusing to sponsor and promote the study of the law by QUALIFIED INDIVIDUALS (here I must stress that the mass production of LLB graduates from local training instittutes is more of a hindrance than a help).

    A concerted and cooperative effort by all political actors is needed to fix the judiciary and set it on the right path. It is not the fault of individual judges or the judiciary as a whole that it is what it is today. Rather it is the nearsightedness and incredible self-interest of our politicians that has created an institution which no one respects and nobody fears.

  12. Hero is the perfect example of a camel with its head in the sand (quite an appropriate analogy since I bet Saudi beardo whack jobs are his heros).
    Press Statement
    Jen Psaki
    Department Spokesperson
    Washington, DC
    March 10, 2014
    Share on facebookShare on twitterShare
    The U.S. Government strongly objects to the recent actions of the Maldivian Supreme Court, including trying and convicting members of the Elections Commission, ordering the dismissal of the Chair and Vice Chair of the Commission from their positions, and sentencing the Chair of the Electoral Commission to six months in prison. These actions represent an unprecedented expansion of judicial powers which undermines an independent democratic institution that has made laudable efforts to hold multiple successful elections despite previous judicial interference. The Supreme Court’s insistence on holding parliamentary elections on March 22 while imprisoning the very official responsible for holding those elections calls into serious question the government’s commitment to democracy.

  13. A classic example of judicial excesses,which should form part of the law course in Harvard,Oxford and other universities. What shall a litigant do if he becomes a victim of judicial excesses. There should be a global body for the litigants,as there is a global body for judges.


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