Lawyers forward Chief Judge’s case to International Criminal Court

A group  of lawyers have forward a case concerning the government’s arrest and detention of Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed’s by military forces has been forwarded to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The Maldives became a member of the ICC after acceding to the Rome Statute late last year.

According to the Rome Statute, “the jurisdiction of the [ICC] shall be limited to the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole”, notably genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and crimes of aggression. The ICC does not deal with small cases, even if the victims may be in the hundreds.”

The case was forwarded by a group of lawyers contesting the conditions of the judge’s arrest and detention at a Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) training facility on Girifushi.

Maumoon Hameed, a member of the legal team, said the case was submitted “as the continued detention of Judge Mohamed is in clear violation of the International Convention on the Protection of all Persons against Enforced Disappearance.”

Hameed told local media that ICC prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Occampo, would investigate the matter. Minivan News is currently waiting for a response from the ICC.

The judge was arrested by MNDF forces upon police request after he attempted to block his own police summons in the High Court. Allegations against him include corruption, political bias and poor professional conduct, such as requiring underage victims of sexual abuse to re-enact their experiences during court hearings.

MNDF did not release details of the judge’s whereabouts for 48 hours following his arrest, prompting the opposition to define the act as “enforced disappearance”.

The military has not complied with High and Supreme court orders to release the judge. Officials from the military and police forces were today questioned on the matter by Parliament’s 241 Committee for safety and security, and further hearings are pending.

Opposition parties have claimed the judge’s detention as a ‘crime against humanity’, leading to a string of increasingly violence protests since last week. Over 40 people have been arrested in the past four days, and several individuals have been sent to the hospital.

Opposition Dhivehi Quamee Party (DQP) President Ibrahim Shareef termed the arrest an inhumane “kidnapping”, while Vice President Dr Mohamed Waheed surprised the govenrment by expressing shame over the action calling it “the first possible violation since the dawn of democracy in our country”.

The European Union (EU) also expressed concern over the judge’s arrest in a statement in which it encouraged all parties to “act in accordance with these [democratic] principles and to refrain from inflammatory language or other action which could incite hatred.”

Acting on these and other concerns, Human Rights Commission of Maldives (HRCM) last weekend visited the judge on Girifushi and reported that he was in good health and conditions, drawing criticism from the opposition for allegedly “backing down” from its duties.

Meanwhile, the government has maintained that the judge’s arrest was lawful and that invoking the term ‘crime against humanity’ is only a political strategy.

“The government of Maldives is taking appropriate action in extraordinary circumstances involving allegations of serious corruption and gross misconduct by a senior judge. Public statements seeking to define his detention as a human rights issue are part of the web of protection which surrounds Judge Abdulla Mohamed,” said a government legal source.

Citing the ICC’s Rome Statute, the legal source has noted that “detention of a person can only be construed as a ‘crime against humanity’ if that detention is committed by a State as part of a widespread systematic attack on a civilian population, and if that detention is followed by the refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of freedom, and or to give information on the fate or whereabouts of that person with the intention of removing the person from the protection of the law for a prolonged period of time.

“The detention of Judge Abdulla Mohamed is not part of a systematic attack on a civilian population and the government has acknowledged his detention to both his family and the public at large,” the source stated.

The source described the allegations against the Chief Judge as “of serious concern to the Maldivian government and community” and claimed to hold evidence of “gross misconduct” against the Judge.

In particular, the government claims that the judge exercised “undue influence” over at least one member of the Civil Court to prompt a ruling against the Judicial Services Commission’s (JSC) investigation of the Judge last year.

Observing that the High and Supreme courts remained silent during the affair, the government accused the judge of “tacit acceptance of a ploy to prevent the JSC from exercising is powers under the constitution.”

Furthermore, by accepting the Civil Court’s ruling the JSC indicated its own subscription to biased input, the source claimed.

Speaking today to Minivan News, in his own capacity, opposition Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) member Abdul Rasheed Nafiz endorsed the gesture of sending the case to the ICC.

“Right now, this is a legal argument. The opposition says the military cannot arrest judges, and the President says he has the authority as commander-in-chief. The Supreme Court tried to resolve the matter but it has had some problems. We need a mediator, and now it’s time for the international community to get involved”, he said.

Among the criteria for the ICC to take on a case in the Maldives is doubtful willingness and capacity of the country’s own judiciary to handle the case in question.

Speaking to Minivan News in September, President’s Press Secretary Mohamed Zuhair said it was important for the Maldives to have access to an international judiciary

“This is a big step for a country whose previous leaders have been accused of human rights violations. I believe their cases would be fairly addressed in the ICC,” he said, while an ICC official hoped membership would help the Maldives proceed with judicial reform.

Towards that end, the Foreign Ministry has requested an international legal delegation from the United Nations’ Human Rights Commission to help resolve the current impasse in the nation’s judicial system.

Meanwhile, former President’s Member on the Judicial Services Commission (JSC), Aishath Velezinee, today told Minivan News “I would like it if the ICC were to accept this. Not because of Abdulla Mohamed, but because it will mean they will have to look into why he was taken.”

Velezinee has accused the opposition of subverting the judiciary for political purposes, with the aim of protecting their supporters from prosecution and retaining control over the judges as previously held by the former Ministry of Justice.

“It was a coup,” she told Minivan News today. “Now they are asking the Supreme Court to investigate – the same Supreme Court which has asked the authorities to investigate people who criticise the judiciary. No single person has criticised the judiciary more than me – and I say this because I have all the evidence, and all the papers.”


22 thoughts on “Lawyers forward Chief Judge’s case to International Criminal Court”

  1. How to create fancy headlines abroad has always been lacking in the opposition. On the other hand this is where MDP excels - courtesy of a few foreigners who are well placed to do nothing else but generate fancy headlines.

    Now opposition has copied MDP here. Filing the case at ICC of course does not mean anything in itself. But PR wise, it will generate a mega headline - the formula used by Government for PR.

    This is a sign that the opposition is learning the tricks albeit slowly.

  2. Oh god!!!

    Seriously, our country is becoming a complete farce.

    Too bad some of us still do not accept the bare naked truth that having an unpopular President in power who is opposed by some of the more powerful in our society as well just leads to disaster after disaster.

    Remove him already will you?

  3. Why is Minivan News not reporting about the protests going on in Male'?

    For the past 6 nights, members of the opposition have been holding protests on the streets of Male'. The crowd number as one estimate quotes is more than 20,000 people every night.

    Why is Minivan News silent about these protests?

  4. Obviously the group of lawyers who forwarded the case were defending the criminals and without their leader to protect them in court they must be very worried about their future success rate. Without their crony judge in court they may actually have to do some work to try and prove their criminal clients not guilty! Well people better go back to your books and start revising to do your first honest job in your life!

  5. Thuthube you need glasses, or did you put some zeros at the end of that number by mistake. Protesters have been dwindling night after night, now even Adhaalath has come out and said these kind of protests is not a good route to take. what the government did is not good, but oppositions response to it has been bad as well. Violent protests uprooting trees and going into people's homes and destroying property doesn't acheive anything.

  6. The ICC is not concerned with such trivial matters. This group of lawyers should have taken a look at the history of ICC cases and its jurisdiction and realized that they are just wasting their time.

  7. I doubt that ICC will prosecute this case. But what this does is, damage President Nasheed's image in the international arena. The President's image as a champion of democracy and human rights has taken a serious beating in the international arena. Its ironic that this is self-inflicted.

    Anyway, now that the military has 'abducted' this Judge Abdulla and 'isolated' him, how about keeping him in Grifushi indefinitely.

    This would be good for Judge Abdulla too. The controversial Judge is enjoying the very best facilities and luxuries usually reserved for the top brass at the military base.

    Furthermore, he is enjoying luxuries such as fresh air and a peaceful environment which we ordinary Male' dwellers are deprived of.

    When the Judge is released he will no doubt go to court to seek damages for his detention, and I suspect he would win a tidy sum to keep him in comfort and cozy for a long time.

    So it's not such a bad deal for the Judge. Even now his salary will be paid by the judiciary for the dates he is absent from court and is enjoying the State paid holiday.

    I am no fan of this Judge Abdulla but I continue to protest the way he has been 'removed' from the scene. Because I believe HEP was ill advised.

    Now President Nasheed has no easy way out from the unexpected havoc that has unfolded following the Judge's detention.

  8. Oh we do accept the naked truth, Please tell us who are these powerful figures in our society that we see in these demonstration, I wonder?

  9. @tsk tsk on Mon, 23rd Jan 2012 8:46 PM

    "... unpopular President in power who is opposed by some of the more powerful in our society ..."

    Would these "powerful" happen to be those with certain vested interests? If he is so unpopular, why is our esteemed Majlis keeping him around?

    Surely, the "other" power of the State, i.e. Parliament can and should impeach Mr Nasheed, if he has broken the law as some are saying. That is infact, a duty of Parliament under our beloved Constitution.

    So, stop all this tit-for-tat rubbish, and prove that Nasheed has broken the law, and get rid of him, will you? Otherwise, get back to work, or at least earn your fat salaries will you (addressed to all those who are paid wages out of the public purse and wasting it).

  10. lawyers who submitted this case need to go back to law school and take a class on international law. better yet, on international criminal Law and an elective on the Rome Statute.

    how in the world did Maumoon Hameed come up with a case at the ICC against a convention that the Maldives has not even ratified and does not at all fall within the jurisdiction of the ICC.

    these lawyers are representatives of those elements of society who's criminal and corrupt life is protected by this abdulla ghaazee. Thats the fuss. nothing more nothing less. they are shit scared of what this guy may have spilled while in Girifushi

  11. It is becoming increasingly apparent that the President's frequent detours from 'the chart' is not acceptable. Neither him nor any other person can act outside the constitution. The president, like every body else, will have to learn to operate within the law. The people will not accept anything less than total compliance with the law by all. If the president want's to be the exception, he is sorely mistaken. The country is party to international conventions and as a people, we are all responsible to abide by the provisions of those conventions. Due process must be followed by all, including the president. The president is being very selfish if he thinks people are going to accept his detours from the law.

    The protests in Male' show that large numbers of people do not accept the president's actions. Minivan news must acknowledge this if they are 'minvan' as they claim to be. May be the foreign writers are not very familiar with the meaning of the name of their newspaper. But any 'independent' paper (that is the meaning of 'minivan', by the way)will readily acknowledge this.

    In short, do what you want Mr. president, but within the law. There is no exception. That is the democracy we voted for in 2008.

  12. I agree with Leena the political groups in Maldives need a time in the "time out coner" sorry for sounding immature but until the adrenaline wheres down the unity of the country is questionable
    and will suffer greatly...

    I have seen a 10 year old being asked to chose a side yellow (mom) or pink/blue (dad) by the uncles and Aunts .. for heavens sake the "child" is only "10" the poor kid said yellow and red after I pointed out that red was natural colour left... don't they know that these kids that are growing up are going to be exposed to this the other day a "three foot tall"... "Child" asked me for a cigarette and lighter I was deemed "uncool" for saying "No! you cant have and I don't own any" this particular incident was on the street ... he was with group of others of roughly the same hight

    changing the a government is one thing

    Repairing a generations worth neglate is quite another ... currently I dont who care who runs the country as long the generations below the above mentioned two cases don't have to suffer the same fate ... and the ones mentioned above can be fixed "..some how..."

    Yes I know I am going get mine for whats above and whats coming below but WAKE UP MALDIVES !! THERE's NO FUTURE IF YOU Continuously.. FOCUS ON DISMANTLEMENT PROCESS

    Am I am the only one who thinks the current political "FAD" of the nation is a tad bit absurd....???

    "a big sigh and head on desk"

  13. Whoever told you that the protest had a crowd of 20,000 is not your friend. There were less than 200 people. Every night the number decreases largely. They are leaderless due to many wannabe leaders amongst them.

  14. These people behave as though they r in school. Azima, yet again Gayoom and Dunya have made a fool of you. The ICC is laughing their heads off at you my friend, not at Dunya and Yumna, who know exactly what they r doing. You are a grown woman. Stop trying so hard to get the approval of popular girls. Understand that you r nowhere near as desirable as they r! Get a life!

  15. Azima, I'm sorry I should not have said that. If u have been fat all your life with wobbly bits on your chin even as a teenager, and the likes of Shah Mahir on motor bikes had never even given you a cursory glance of desire your only option I suppose is to suck up to the popular girls and hope that at least by association you have a chance. My advice, waste of time! Go on a diet and see if there is a pretty face under the flab. Also doll, try not to play the intelligent card, just not you, nah sorry! Vel is just too good even without the law degree! Cruel world, I agree!

  16. My brother-in-law's second ex-wife's uncle took Rf1050/= to deliver some fish to my island and he hasn't done so yet. When I asked him about it the other day he hit me. I will file a case at the ICC.

  17. Anni should not have joined ICC, ICC has become a kangaroo court to settle the domestic violence between wives and husbands of Banana Republic. On the other hand Mullahs are asking justice from Jews, what happened to Moon God Allah? For Mullahs information….! ICC mandated will not cover even the entire Republic’s population is wiped out by genocide; you are too small to be noticed. The best thing is join the Club of civilization and work with Anni to bring the country to a cooperative entity, leave behind all enmity, and try to compete and win the CEO’s job on the end of every term.

  18. Oh please we all know what the end game here is.

    This chaos will continue until the British intervene. What both sides is trying to do is to justify such intervention.

    In the midst there will be backroom deals and let us see who wins this round. Nasheed was not supported by the BCP since his birth. It was there mere accident that Qayyoom refused to secularize Maldives that propelled our tiny yellow President into stardom. A lot of the PR mishaps he has made shows that he is new to the international limelight.

    MDP members I urge you to open your eyes and read a few books. If you base your party merely on the popularity of one individual you might fall if his only support base is pulled out from under him.

  19. Idiots the whole lot of them. The ICC is not even going to glance at this and would throw it out.
    Now the other paper Miadhu says they send this to International Court of Justice and if this is true it is a bigger joke.

    Why cannot some Maldivians understand the World operates? Are they so stuck up in the arses that they think the sun shines from their back sides?

  20. What rubbish.... is abdulla ghazi the only one who lost his rights who has been treated wrongfully why only him why so much for him? every people should ask yourselves that question for i my self has been arrested and spent 2 months in jail in this presidency first sentence from abdulla ghazi for a suspected crime while my 1 year old child cries every night to see me before she sleeps while my wife alone struggle to hire a layer at high cost with a low salary my wife and my family went to every people who listened.... nobody coz we are nobody to them all they care is for high power when they get it that's not enough they need more is abdulla ghazi more important then us why? if u wanna fight for something fight for ur rights first for your families don't get caught in these politisions death games live ur life the way u want it to be nobody cares for us we r little people not anni not maumoon nor ghasim no human rights no one we our on our own only people like abdulla ghazi or mdp, drp, ppm and other parties high level people only has rights.


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