Government requests international legal assistance to clean up judiciary

Following a protest-packed weekend during which politicians were attacked and journalists threatened, the Foreign Ministry has requested a senior international legal delegation from the United Nations Human Rights Commission (OHCHR) to help resolve the current judicial crisis in the Maldives.

“We have been working to improve the judiciary since we came to power, but we have not succeeded. We have asked the international community to assist us in this effort several times, and we find that they are willing to help at this point,” said Foreign Minister Ahmed Naseem.

The request was made following conversations with UN officials last week. According to a press statement, the delegation would be asked to help resolve “the immediate issues surrounding the detention of Justice Abdulla Mohamed, the Chief Judge of the Criminal court, and also the longer-term problems facing the Maldives’ judiciary and the failure of judicial accountability mechanisms under the Constitution.”

Following the detention of minority opposition Dhivehi Quamee Party (DQP) leaders, who had accused the government of behind-the-scenes dealings with Israel and Christian priests, and the arrest of Judge Abdulla Mohamed by military forces after he attempted to block his own police summons in the High Court, opposition party members took the streets last week in protest. DQP meanwhile approached various foreign embassies claiming their freedom of speech was being impinged.

In a statement released on Friday the European Union (EU) Heads of Mission in Colombo expressed concern over the judge’s arrest and “[called] on all parties in the Maldives to act in accordance with these principles and to refrain from inflammatory language or other action which could incite hatred.”

In response the Foreign Ministry cited the government’s efforts to reform the judiciary and oppose the use of hate speech, reiterating its interest in continued relations with the EU.

Stating that “the diplomatic community has received inaccurate information” regarding the political situation in Male’, the Foreign Ministry said it had delivered “accurate information” to foreign missions last week. Officials say those missions had received the news positively, had asked that “racial rhetoric” be stopped, and had not expressed concerns over the judge’s arrest.

Observing that judicial reform “really should come from the Judicial Services Commission (JSC)”, Naseem said the commission’s shortcoming are “now an issue of national security.”

In its statement the Foreign Ministry contended that “since its establishment the JSC has been unable to fulfill [its] constitutional mandate. For example, during the whole of 2010 the JSC failed to take action on any of the 143 complaints submitted to it. On the one occasion in late 2011 when the JSC did find that a judge (Justice Abdulla Mohamed) had failed to comply with the required standard of conduct and had been acting in a manner amounting to gross misconduct, the Civil Court issues an order (26 November 2011) preventing the proceedings.

“With that order, the Civil Court effectively removed the constitutional powers of the JSC. The JSC was made powerless by the very same people (judges) that it is supposed to oversee.”

In communications with the OHCHR the Foreign Minister said the Civil Court’s action highlighted “a systemic failure of the judicial checks and balances foreseen in the Constitution. This systemic failure led directly to the President’s decision [to arrest the judge].”

Parliament’s Independent Institutions Committee has been tasked with investigating the JSC’s “failings”. According to committee member Independent MP Mohamed Nasheed, hearings and interviews have been concluded and possible reformation of the JSC has been discussed.

“It’s the one institution that has not really taken off. It’s been bogged down with personality issues and procedural issues. Bring in a change of membership, some new blood, and give it a new chance,” he said.

Nasheed added that a provision allows for the appointment of foreign judges during the first 15 years of the new Constitution. Naseem said the requested delegation did not necessarily fall under the provision, but rather was expected to provide guidance according to the local situation.

Specifics of the delegation are unknown as the request was only recently made, however Naseem explained that “the planning and appointment process takes time, as we need individuals qualified to stay here for a long period of time.”

“We hope that with the help of Islamic judges the Maldives judiciary would be improved”, he said.

While representatives from opposition Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) could not be reached at time of press, Mulak MP Abdulla Yameen yesterday said the President has no authority to “meddle with” or enforce the nation’s judicial system, local media reported.

Opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) MP Ibrahim ‘Mavota’ Shareef today said “DRP will welcome any international participation to solve the situation at the moment.”

Shareef asserted that the Constitution is not in crisis, “only that President Nasheed has violated it. We’re very sure that the international delegation would hold him accountable because there is no way that President Nasheed is justified in what he is doing.”


29 thoughts on “Government requests international legal assistance to clean up judiciary”

  1. The current Maldivian governmnet status is very fragile.When ever the Ruling party (MDP) has their gatherings and their leaders speak out their minds the GOVERNMENT has no choice but to obey them.Mr nasheedh should remember people voted foe a change and not to him.As he got Nearly 26 perent of voted in the election ,He shuld re think his plans and start acting as the PRESIDENT of the mldivian people.NOT TO BE THE PRESIDENT OF MDP.

  2. There will be a time when Mr nasheed will ask the world to send soldiers ,police to help him rule his dictator ship.Day by day people are going againt him...this includes Police men Military officials government workers and etc.when the day comes when he is standing with his small thugs he will call the world and say all other maldivians are terrorists and the wolrld shud help him...I blelive he needs help not a military or police he need IS a good MENTAL HOSPITAL

  3. If the Government's request to the international community is 'sincere', then this is a very positive development.

    The 'problems' or 'issues' with the judiciary (and specifically Judge Abdulla's) are many. I believe that the majority of people demanding the government to follow 'Rule of Law' have little sympathy to Judge Abdulla with respect to allegations leveled against him. Where we don't agree and will never condone is the method deployed in arresting him.

    Seeking international assistance would help mediate this crisis and assist the Judiciary strengthen its foundations. For this to be successful, there needs to be a long term collaboration with relevant international bodies who are best qualified to help build the judiciary's institutions. The Supreme Court must take the lead in this.

    As we all know the judiciary was a 'rubber stamp' of Maumoon during his notorious regime and as a result there was hardly any foundation to build the judiciary's institution on, under the New Constitution. Merely creating 'entities' under the Constitution is not enough. The Institutions need to be developed and nurtured to maturity.

    The Judiciary must be independent and able to carry out its duties impartially with out any interference from the government or any political groups. International Assistance will no doubt will result in this direction.

    The JSC needs to be reformed and this needs cooperation amongst the various political parties represented in the Majlis to legislate these reforms. Only then can JSC be able to carry out its constitutionally mandated duties in an enforceable manner.

    So overall, to achieve these objectives, any assistance from the international community should be welcome. But that is not to say the government's actions with regard to the Judge and the use of the military in this incident is legal or justified.

  4. A very commendable move by the Executive. For this to be effective, any international party that comes here has to have substantial influence and power to direct, criticise and ultimately reform the judicial system.

    Just bringing in "advisers" won't do and let's not waste anymore time by doing such "makeovers" as this administration is so capable of doing! Naseem seems to suggest he's looking for "advisers", but I'll get him the benefit of doubt at this early stage.

    Let's use the full Constitutional power here; as the Constitution does allow judicial experts from overseas to be fully active here. Let's bring in the best we can and give them a free hand and arm them with full Consitutional powers to really clean the mess up.

    A half arsed attempt at this will be inexcusable, as we've already messed up our first chance to correct this when we got rid of the 30 year old dictatorship.

  5. would have been so much better if they went about with this type of approach first. now i fear it is too late. MDP has made too many mistakes down the road. Their activists are all over the place creating chaos and spewing all sorts of nonsense every time they open their mouths.

  6. a very commendable move by the Government. Pls clean this judiciary of its vices

  7. Foreign Minister Naseem needs to first stay out of the different drinks he indulge at night both red and white! Both cheap and expensive! He needs to also get out of corruption as he use to in trade ministry in FISB!! ONLY after that NAseem can speak of consitution! Even teenagers today knows the story of Zaki (special enjoy), Sarangu Adam Manik (special nobody) and Naseem who are the deviants in the society!! Anni clean your back yard including your ministers before you talk of constitution!! You ar doom to loose 2013!! But you may win it becoz of the stupidity of current opposition (which excludes DRP as its a faction of MDP now)!! We shall wait for you end like Gayoom! We had high hopes of you..but you are an utter failer and monstor!!

  8. hi

    did mr naseem wonder if the constitution allows people other than citizens of the Maldives to sit on the bench. i raise this because he has said that he has requested to bring judges

  9. Dear Eleanor,

    Regrettably I must say you should be ashamed to call yourself a journalist. This so-called article is totally inaccurate and one-sided. You have shamelessly portrayed the government as the good guys (may be because you are paid by the Nasheed clan to write this nonsense). Your quotation of the EU statement will suffice as an example of your one-sided approach, since the EU statement also condemns the arrest of the Judge in the same statement, which you conveniently chose to ignore (not the noblest of journalistic practices).

    It is important to highlight in this case that the crux of the matter is the arbitrary arrest and 'forced disappearance' of a citizen, regardless of who he is. The abduction of a citizen by the state without regard to due process amounts to a crime against humanity. If the government wants to bring in outside help to resolve the situation they will have to be ready to answer to that. Right now there is no guarantee of personal freedom since the state has shown that it can come in to any one's house and take her in to custody. So if you have any guts as a journalist, address this issue and call a spade a spade. The government has violated personal freedom and the constitution. If you can't address this important issue that has actually given rise to the current public outcry and unrest in the streets of Male', I'm afraid your article is nothing more than gibberish.

  10. Long overdue. We should actually ask a competent foriegner to chair the JSC. Also find a foreigner for a chief judge as well as at least half of the bench. Maldivians are too corrupt and too immature to be able to deliver their own justice.

  11. Inteligent move, not like the one of the airport. IT was about time.
    If no law, no country.
    This is a great opportunity as well for the Maldives to creacte a decent law school that respects the country and the law as a basic arm of democracy.
    Well done Mr. President. NOw don't stay half way and really bring people that helps you change the law system.

  12. At the moment more urgent international assistance is needed to clean up the executive who are in the habit of violating the laws of the land when ever they please.

  13. Agree with mahp,
    This government has no respect for maldivians, they use their activists like pawns to achieve their objectives, give cushy jobs with wierd names to their cronies like " concept advisor", and a whole series of english buddies, like jude liang, david hardingam, simon at MATI, mike As Energy advisor, now some oth foreigners to control the judiciary, balaaehnun

  14. We should advertise for foriegn President, Cabinet Ministers, Judges and MPs. (Ofcourse we cant have Maldivian Deputies) for a 15 year term.

  15. Whatever the method that was used in arresting this corrupt Judge, at least his arrest has triggered the reform of the judicial system in this country. That is the bigger picture, the reform of the judicial system. While it is very well to live in ideology, the practical step taken to make the Judge accountable for his actions, was necessary and I believe that we have wasted enough time and lives, waiting for the JSC and the higher courts to enforce justice on one of their own, which they have evidently failed to do. Most probably because there would have been a few other judges who would have gone down with Judge Abdulla had he been arrested and charged for his crimes. When the whole justice and legal system has failed, how do we expect any justice or any legal enforcement without first of all reforming the failed system. There are more than enough MPs of opposition parties in the Parliament, but have they tried in any way through the Parliament to make this corrupt Judge accountable for his actions? Have the opposition MPs been concerned about the state of our judicial system? No, they have not, simply because they are the ones gaining from keeping this corrupt judge in power and ensuring that there is no justice or peace in this country as long as MDP is in power! So their protests today in the name of Islam and people of Maldives,is a slap on the face of all of us. And if they think that we are all stupid enough to dance to their music, they are obvioulsy still living in the dark ages.

  16. All Maldivian people and the well-wishers of the Maldivians must understand that their President shall NOT have equal accountability and authority as Mulak MP Yameen or Thasmeen has.

    Maldivian President is also the Head of State of the Maldives and that he cannot or shall not observe SILENCE or tolerate when and where his country's JUDICIARY provides systematic INJUSTICE making the country's POLICE useless and that the country's innocent youth is paid for their crimes by the Power-hungry crooks of the 30 year old dictator and those Thasmeen, Hassan Saeed, Gasim who failed in the election they ran against Gayyoom and his cronies

  17. The current judiciary is unreformable. This was highlighted by the statement from the JSC today. We now know that the JSC has been barred from taking any action against Abdulla Mohammed because the Civil Court has prevented that.

    The JSC appealed to the Supreme Court, but that has been pin-ponged to the High Court. I can almost guarantee what the High Court will do! They will do the same thing that the Civil Court did.

    Do you see where this is going? In summary, the JSC has been rendered completely powerless to act against those under its responsibility! Impunity for all!

  18. Naseem is a corrupt and immoral guy!! The whole nation knows this!! new borns knows it! So Naseem stop talking and ask some one clean in the government to talk!! You are a real shame to this nation!! History will be written on these facts: heavy drinker and asks for bribe! Your staffs in the ministry jokes on you and they don't respect you! Not even the senior political staffs!! The only weight thats left in you is you are from Keerafa family which had some dignity and honour which you have distroyed!! Shame on you Naseem!

  19. This is madness! Look at all the Jews who comment here, agreeing with such an unislamic move! Only Muslim Maldivian brothers can be in the judiciary of the Maldives! Everybody else, can kindly stay away from our affairs concerning the Muslim Maldivian constitution!

  20. This approach shows the genuine thinking of Anni and proves how corrupt and incompetent these so call judges are. But this will be bad politically; these inferior people of this banana republic think the only justice system is backward mullah’s rule, which is founded on corruption, deals on war booties, concubines, child married, Dhimmies, unfair inheritance issues and anyone who can’t handle these issues can’t be a judges, You can judge their mental capacity by this, these moron call these rubbish to be laws and be applied in 21st century world.

  21. Naseem, have you gone bonkers?? Are still in the "moment" with the drinks you drink like water daily? daily breaking the constitution and the oath you took? What a shame!! I am ashamed to call u a minister!! You are a disgrace to this society. The girl you and Zaki were competing in the ministry was won by Zaki and you were heartbroken!!Poor You! the whole ministry mocks you!

  22. Whats has they done for you be ashamed of them. We are so ashamed of you for having that thought.

  23. Please save the Maldivian people from the enemies like Maumoon & Yaameen, Qasim & Thasmeen, the Power-hungry Crook Hassan Saeed Al-Salafiyya

  24. president nasheed is the best president ever found in the maldives.6th and 8th i have seen my self what was happened in here.this is a was planed coup.the dictator maumoon again want to come back as nasheed is the best person to develop this country.he did lot of things to develop this country.we all 85% of people want mr nasheed come back as a president.he is the peoples father.please save this country and people of this country. i am calling to all Europe countries and united stats and India as well all saarc countries to help as to save as.

  25. president nasheed is the best president ever found in the maldives.6th and 8th i have seen my self what was happened in here.this is a was planed coup.the dictator maumoon again want to come back as nasheed is the best person to develop this country.he did lot of things to develop this country.we all 85% of people want mr nasheed come back as a president.he is the peoples father.please save this country and people of this country. i am calling to all Europe countries and united stats and India as well all saarc countries to help us to save us.


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