Hulhumale Magistrate Court judges boycott parliament committee summons

The three judges presiding over the trial of former President Mohamed Nasheed have boycotted a second summons by parliament’s Government Oversight Committee.

This is the second occasion where the judges from Hulhumale Magistrate Court have refused to be present at the committee, with the first summons ignored on October 9, the day the first hearings of Nasheed’s trial took place.

Local media reported that the committee meeting was held behind closed doors, after the judges informed parliament that their “last minute” decision to boycott the hearing was due to “administrative reasons”.

The committee’s decision to summon the judges to parliament has led to criticism from both the Supreme Court and the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), with both claiming that holding judges accountable was the sole responsibility of the JSC.

Meanwhile, political parties aligned to the current government of President Mohamed Waheed Hassan claimed that the decision by the committee – in which the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has a majority –  was an attempt to influence Nasheed’s trial. Nasheed’s party maintains that the charges against him are a politically-motivated attempt to prevent him from contesting the next election, through the use of judges originally appointed by, and still loyal to, former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.

The party also contests the legitimacy of this particular magistrate court.

“Cat and mouse”

Following today’s second snub by the judges, the MDPs Deputy Parliamentary Group (PG) Leader MP Ali Waheed condemned their decision.

He went on to describe the actions of the judges and the JSC as well as the Supreme Court’s encouragement of their behaviour as a “cat and mouse” game played by the judiciary.

“What we are witnessing is a ‘cat and mouse’ or a ‘hide and seek’ game being played between parliament and judiciary. If that is the case, we are going to play the cat and mouse chase, because we are not going to step back from our responsibilities,” he said.

Speaking in a press conference on Wednesday afternoon, the Thoddu Constitutency MP said the committee was not summoning the judges “to settle scores or for a personal vendetta or to destroy their reputations”, but within the course of executing their legal duties.

“As the chair of Parliament’s Government Oversight Committee, I shall continue to execute my duties and we believe the constitution allows us to summon anyone with regard to our concerns and we will do so. So I sincerely urge [the judges] to not hide behind a constitutional clause dictating the responsibilities of the judges,” Waheed said, maintaining that the committee’s intentions were sincere and that it was being very “respectful” and “patient”.

“These people are those who must lead by example [in upholding the law] but what we see is that neither the Anti-Corruption Commission, the Auditor General or even the parliament is being allowed to hold these people accountable. They can’t be above the law and should not even think they are,” he continued. “What we are repeatedly reassuring them is that we will not allow committee members to question them on matters not in their mandate.”

Meanwhile, Waheed’s fellow MDP parliamentarian Ahmed Hamza argued that the judges’ decision was in contrast to principles of rule of law, which were fundamental for a democratic state.

“In every democracy it is the people from whom the powers of the state are derived. The parliament represents the people, and their actions reflect the wish of the people, so all authorities must respect the decisions,” he said.

He reiterated that the current system of separation of powers in place is one that holds the three powers of the state accountable to each other through a system of checks and balances.

“The parliament will hold the government and the judiciary accountable and the judiciary has the power to invalidate legislation and regulations if they are in conflict with the constitution,” he added.

Hamza dismissed the claims made by pro-government parties that the committee was attempting to influence the ongoing trial of Nasheed.

“We are not trying to defend Nasheed, all we are trying to do is to carry out our duties and responsibilities vested in the constitution. We will not question them about any ongoing trial, nor will we comment on their verdicts and decisions,” Hamza added.

Quality of judiciary

Meanwhile, the current Home Minister Mohamed Jameel Ahmed has also admitted that despite having some “bright minds” the overall “quality of services delivered by the judiciary remained disappointingly gloomy”.

“Our judiciary has some bright minds, but that does not exempt it from scrutiny; the judiciary in the Maldives, with the exception of few courts and judges, the judiciary as a whole has earned a deservedly bad reputation for its inconsistent judgments, lack of leadership, lack of competency and being out of touch with modern laws and views of the society,” he said in an article written for local newspaper Haveeru.

Former President’s Member on the Judicial Services Commission (JSC), Aishath Velezinee, in her book The Failed Silent Coup: in Defeat They Reached for the Gun claimed that the controversial transfer of power on February 7 signified the return of the previous politically controlled judiciary, which was to some extent held at bay during Nasheed’s three years.

“The judiciary we have today is under the control of a few,” she wrote.

“This was an end reached by using the Judicial Service Commission as a means. Most members of the Judicial Service Commission betrayed the Constitution, the country, and the people. They broke their oath. There is no room for free and fair hearings. And most judges do not even know how to hold such a hearing,” Velezinee wrote, arguing that the JSC was politically compromised and reappointed Gayoom’s bench at the conclusion of the constitutional interim period in 2010, despite the requirement that they be vetted for their ethical and professional quality.

“For democracy and rule of law to be established in the Maldives, and for the right to govern them to be returned to the people, they must have an elected leader. And the judiciary, currently being held hostage, must be freed. Article 285 of the Constitution must be fully upheld, judges reappointed, and an independent judiciary established,” she added.


9 thoughts on “Hulhumale Magistrate Court judges boycott parliament committee summons”

  1. Judiciary in the Maldives is independant from everyone else axcept Maumoon and totallt dependant on Gayyoom, and it will remain so until ..... Gayyoom, Ablhi Gazee & a few others receive the title of Marhoom.

  2. JSC ga thibee Fahumee kahala CSC anhen muazafunnaa gadhakamun badhuahulaagee amalu hingaigen PG ah massala fonuvaafa thibi meehun. kihineh mifenvaru ge meehun fandiyaarun ge sulooku balaa fiyavalhu alhaany....?

  3. Will a pack of masked thugs violently attack the house these judges live in now?

  4. We must be thankful that we are in a functional democracy that has clearly separated three arms of the sate - the executive, the judiciary and the legislature.

    This is a blatant attempt by one of the MP's rightfully or wrongfully widely perceived in the Maldives as one of the most corrupt, most foul mouthed, thuggish MP who is widely viewed as a graft taker trying to ridicule and instill fear within the judiciary.

    Obviously we all know who the half baked pseudo intellectual is who is behind the attempt to bring the whole democratic process to a grinding halt. The man has chosen cynically to ignore that the Constitution that he helped draft guarantees a democratic system of Govt and that one cannot interpret the clauses in the Constitution that undermines the fundamental tenets of Democracy where the 3 arms of the state are separated.

    We the people exercise our supremacy by the supremacy of the Constitution. The Constitution is the mechanism that guards against  nation being  held  hostage among other things by a legislature that is riddled with alleged thugs and loud mouthed louts who prevents the legislature doing the job that they are paid for by the people's money.

    The mechanism to censure the judiciary is provided for by the Constitution & Ms Vellezine has highlighted the mechanism in her non stop call for the reform of the judiciary. This is not a party issue.

    This is all about making our Democracy work and the need of the hour are sons and daughters of this land who understand The workings of Democracy and perhaps even more importantly advice on making our Democratic Institutions work from experts amongst our trusted Western Partners with a long tradition of "living " Democracy.

    Let's all fight to free this land of loud mouthed graft taking louts no matter which party they are from and no matter what disguise they don!

  5. Why can you guys leave the FEW GOOD MEN alone, now Gayyoom is old and anything happens to Ablo "GAAZEE" means @#$%^&*

  6. Oh so its just a coincidence that a special bench constituted to preside over the Nasheed case is being summoned to an MDP-controlled Parliament Committee while the trial against Nasheed is ongoing?

    Is it also established practice in democracies to use a party majority within a Committee which stands to scrutinize the Executive in order to question judges?

    Also, can the Cat and his other MP friend explain to us what these judges are going to be questioned about? I see a lack of information in that respect.

    I think everyone in this country knows how to differentiate a blatant attempt at intimidation and a sincere process for reform.

    Judicial reform does not begin or end with threatening judges who are involved in cases filed against party members. If that is so the sort of 'judicial reform' the MDP proposes would take place in fits and starts only when party members face criminal prosecutions or civil lawsuits.

    I'm sorry MDP but the moral high ground was lost to you when MPs, activists and hired thugs from your party gathered near the Supreme Court in violent protest when the court was scheduled to rule in a decreed debt case involving your fellow MP Mohamed Musthafa.

    Judicial reform requires sustained and systematic efforts at improving the system. Any political party or politician who wishes to make a contribution to this cause would sponsor bills in Parliament that might strengthen judicial processes. Also Nasheed in his 3-year term did nothing to reform two legal training institutes in the country. He also failed to secure legal training from abroad to train prospective judges. He never tried to push through the Bill on forming the Bar Council which will effectively regulate the legal industry thereby separating the wheat from the chaff among lawyers who, of course, eventually become judges.

    When Ms. Velezinee paraded around the country making loud statements on behalf of her party leader Nasheed, those with any commitment towards judicial reform were doing all the hard work in helping to form the Department of Judicial Administration and setting up other mechanisms which will ensure the development of the judiciary.

    Shame on you Nasheed. Shame on you MDP. Shame on you Velezinee and most of all shame on you Hamza for siding with a bad cause when you know better.

  7. Clearly something is wrong with this nation.
    Any person who gets a job I judiciary can't expect immunity from questioning,
    but fools of the dark era of Maumoon, children who grew in his time are two kinds,
    A kind who tasted first hand torture and violation of human rights,
    and another kind who enjoyed on others suffering, with a "I don't give a flying f**k" attitude fattening their pockets and watching injustice and turning the other cheek.

    Wake up you fools, this is not the end of the fight.
    And as every sun rise and set, another sin is in your soul, glued to your books of deeds,

    many bagghys are in fear, not of MDP but of their own shit deeds, and now we can see their dogs barking here and there, calling normal people thugs when thuggery was invented by them,


  8. No, no, it's a common practice in democratic nations to outset their elected presidents fom the streets with a group of thugs uniformed and group of people look clean on the outside, but real gang leaders behind closed doors,
    And it's a common practice in other nations of democratic values to keep corrupt judges protected, no authoritative power to look into their filth, and JSC or any institution should shut eyes and mouths on their rediculous verdicts just because they have a judge badge,,

    Ohh, wait a minute, it's Ablo Gazi case, so how can his trial even be set when that big corrupt, judge is still working in any court of this country??
    simple, just because he has all those cases against Maumoon and his 40 thieves he can still be a judge...

    pathetic corrupt island nation, with pathetic corrupt governament, and equally idiotic, illogical and bias commentators,,,,


  9. @justice4all;

    Public figures, publications, companies and institutions should be our focus.

    Attacking the public on behalf of political interests for expressing their views is not democracy.

    I'm not saying your comment is directed at me but my criticism of;
    - Nasheed is not personal but based on his decisions as a former President and as a leader of a political party.
    - Velezinee is not based on personal views but her former role as a member of the Judicial Services Commission.
    - Hamza is not based on personal rivalry but solely on his actions as an elected Member of Parliament.

    These people are, similar to judges, should be accountable to the public. As they are elected directly by people like us, we are entitled to express our views about them and their actions.

    However judges are not democratically elected. They are appointed based on their technical competency. There is a process in place to make judges accountable. The institution responsible for doing this is the Judicial Services Commission. If the JSC is failing to carry out its duties then we must all work to address the issues preventing the constitutional body from carrying out its function. This involves changes to the constitution as well which requires wide support within Parliament. A single political party or NGO cannot bring about this change. So be pragmatic and think about the things you say.

    As far as accountability mechanisms go, I don't think using the military to kidnap and hold a judge hostage is an accepted practice anywhere in the world.

    With regards to the resignation of Mohamed Nasheed, CoNI declared it voluntary and legal. These findings have been accepted by all involved. So let us stop griping and moaning about it.

    We need to look to the future.

    If you disapprove of this island nation and its people so much I think you should go where you believe would be more suitable for you.


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