The Maldives government has issued a statement inferring that UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, Gabriela Knaul, undermined the country’s sovereignty and legal jurisdiction in her recent report on the state of the country’s judiciary.
Knaul’s final report to the UN Human Rights Council extensively outlined the political, budgetary and societal challenges facing the judiciary and wider legal community, as well as the politicisation of the Judicial Services Commission (JSC) and its failure to appoint qualified judges under Article 285 of the constitution.
The Special Rapporteur also expressed “deep concern” over the failure of the judicial system to address “serious violations of human rights” during the Maldives’ 30 year dictatorship, warning of “more instability and unrest” should this continue to be neglected.
“It is indeed difficult to understand why one former President is being tried for an act he took outside of his prerogative, while another has not had to answer for any of the alleged human rights violations documented over the years,” Knaul wrote.
The government, which made no response to Knaul’s initial statement in February, on May 28 issued a statement via its Permanent Representative at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Iruthisham Adam.
“Engagement between national governments and international actors should not undermine national jurisdiction and the court system of any country, especially relating to ongoing cases,” reads the statement.
In light of this the Maldivian delegation, said Adam, “wishes to discuss specific matters contained in the report with the rapporteur.”
At the same time the statement “welcomed” the UN Rapporteur’s report and “fully acknowledge[s] that the various challenges she has identified and raised in her report are in fact the residue challenges present in a system in the midst of democratic consolidation.The Maldives judicial system continues to be hampered by structural deficiencies and resource constraints in addressing the difficult challenges facing the country in general.”
Read the UN Special Rapporteur’s full report
Read the government’s response