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Page added on March 4, 2013

Former JSC Member calls on Parliament to review JSC’s 2010 appointment of judges

Former JSC Member calls on Parliament to review JSC’s 2010 appointment of judges thumbnail

Former President’s Appointee to the Judicial Services Commission (JSC) Aishath Velezinee has called on parliament to review the appointment of judges and to begin to make the JSC accountable.

Speaking at a press briefing on Sunday, Velezinee pointed out that while a week has passed since UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers Gabriela Knaul had released her preliminary findings, the JSC, Supreme Court, Attorney General, the Law Community and the Judges’ Community had failed to make any official comments on the findings.

She added that while it was important for all relevant actors to reflect and act on the recommendations, she especially hoped that the parliament would review the concerns raised by Knaul upon the beginning of its new session.

“Most serious case of corruption yet”

“Article 13 of the Act Against Corruption states that it a very serious form of corruption to obstruct citizens from receiving any benefits or good,” Velezinee said. “what is a more serious case of corruption than cheating citizens out an independent judiciary?”

Velezinee stated that since the complaints on the matter she had filed with the parliament in 2010 had never been examined, dueto political reasons, she had then submitted the case to the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC).

“In light of the background information I had, I saw a coup d’etat being rolled out when the then opposition set to the streets to ‘find Ablo Ghazi’ [Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed] in January 2012,” Velezinee said.

“Therefore, I wrote to the ACC about these observations and enquired how far the case I had submitted had proceeded.”

“I got a response on February 6, 2012. The ACC said they had sent the details to the Independent Institutions Oversight Committee of the parliament on September 9, 2010,” she continued.

“Why then was the chair of this committee, independent member of parliament Mohamed Nasheed seen among the opposition group on the streets looking for Judge Abdulla Mohamed in January last year? Until the case at the committee is properly investigated there is no Judge Abdulla. What I see is Abdulla Mohamed of Bahaaruge from the island of Hulhudhufaaru just passing himself off as chief judge of the Criminal Court.”

“If we are to refer to the ‘rule of law’ and ‘due process’ that Home Minister Mohamed Jameel Ahmed keeps referring to, then no judges were appointed during my time serving in the JSC,” Velezinee stated.

Parliamentary initiative

“I have been continuously saying that numerous criminal offences have been committed within the JSC. The allegations I make against them are not matters that can be taken lightly. Hence, it cannot be at all acceptable to let the JSC continue with their duties without the parliament’s Independent Oversight Committee investigating these claims,” stated the former JSC member.

“One action that can be taken by the parliament even immediately is to enforce transparency in JSC proceedings and make their sessions accessible to the public,” she said.

“If the JSC meetings are seen by the public, no one else will need to run around like I did with concerns about the commission. Citizens will witness proceedings themselves. This in turn would ensure they do not get any opportunities to do wrong in there,” Velezinee recommended.

JSC politicised and ineffective

“Many of the recommendations shared by Knaul are matters which the JSC, initially constituted after the ratification of the new constitution in 2008, was mandated to do. Incidentally, I was then a member of this commission,” Velezinee said.

Velezinee stated that she had put in a lot of effort during her time at the JSC to align the commission’s work to the mandate it was constitutionally given, but said she had failed to achieve her goal.

“The JSC failed to establish a free and independent judiciary as detailed in our constitution. You must have seen the oath taking ceremony held on 4th August 2010 of the existing judges who had not been screened as per the due process. As a result of this failure, we have been hearing since that day, in local media and in various international forums, comments about how there is no justice in the Maldives, how judges lack freedom, and how the judiciary is politicised,” Velezinee stated.

While Knaul recommended that the JSC be reconstituted to free it from the current political influences which inhibited it from fulfilling its constitutional duties, Velezinee said she felt the failure of the commission was more a result of the members’ refusal to abide by the disciplinary guidelines than the nature of their political backgrounds.

“They [JSC members] always say that the constitution provided us with two years to build up the judiciary. But that is an outright distortion of what really is in our laws,” Velezinee stated.

“The constitution gave us two years to lay the foundation. It, however, allows us a period of 15 years in which we are to build an independent judiciary to an internationally acceptable standard. Nevertheless, even this article has been discarded without fulfillment by the JSC.”

Stating that the International Committee of Jurists (ICJ) had made similar comments in 2010, Velezinee said that Knaul’s findings indicated that the problems which had existed then had continued to elevate.

Velezinee alleged that the public were left unaware of the seriousness of the problems in the judiciary due to the highly politicised dialogue around the issues in the judiciary that were being put forth by various politicians.

“Article 285 is the foundation on which the constitution of the Maldives is based on. I sincerely hope that the parliament members will take a step back and review the events that took place when this article was breached in 2010 – matters that no state body previously paid any attention to – and that the parliament will this time around ensure that the people of the Maldives is guaranteed an independent judiciary free from any form of influence, and a proper democratic system,” Velezinee continued.

Velezinee furthermore criticised local media’s coverage of Knaul’s remarks, stating that some articles had sought to make implied political statements by picking out a single concept that Knaul had referred to, instead of focusing on the main issues.

Asked for a response to Jumhooree Party MP, leader, presidential candidate and member of JSC Gasim Ibrahim’s remarks about Knaul’s findings being “lies, jokes”, the former member dismissed these remarks as irresponsible.

“A man of Gasim’s status should not be making comments like this. Being an MP, a JSC member and a presidential candidate, it could prove dangerous to him to make irresponsible comments of this nature,” she said.

Unlawfully appointed judges

“Since there are so many contentious issues around the appointment of judges, we must keep a keen eye on events that unfold in the next couple of months,” Velezinee stated.

“We are now in the midst of some very strong political battles. I, for one, suspect that the current judiciary may abuse its powers to orchestrate political plots planned to interfere in the independence and fairness of the approaching presidential elections, and use the Supreme Court to issue rulings in favour of a particular side,” Velezinee predicted.

Adding that many citizens held similar doubts about the judiciary, Velezinee called on political leaders to set aside differences, engage in dialogue with international experts to find a lawful means to carry on all proceedings related to the elections through a system other than the existing Supreme Court.

“We must find a way to have inclusive presidential elections here, one that will be widely accepted by all. Perhaps one way might be to consult with international experts and then set up a judicial bench. This bench can be tasked with presiding over all cases relevant to the elections,” Velezinee said.

“Yes, this is an extraordinary idea. Then again, no other country has seen anything like Article 285. No other country has had the need to completely overhaul a judiciary,” she stated.

Velezinee served as President’s Appointee to the JSC from April 2009 to May 2011. She has been vocal about the problems in the commission and the judiciary, and in early 2011, was stabbed three times in broad daylight.

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11 Comments on "Former JSC Member calls on Parliament to review JSC’s 2010 appointment of judges"

  1. choco on Mon, 4th Mar 2013 2:53 PM 

    We must keep in mind that biggest critic of the former presidents political appointee to the judicial service Commission Aishath Velezinee was the member appointed by the Maldives Parliament Honorable member of parliament Dr. Afrasheem Ali, after his constant criticism against Aishath Velezinee, Honorable member of Parliament Dr. Afrasheem Ali was brutally murdered by thugs affiliated to the Kuda Henveyru Organized Crime Unit – which is openly affiliated with MDP.

    Though all international reports have been highly critical of the judicial service commission being composed of political members such as Aishath Velezinee, Speaker of Parliament Shahid, the Attorney General and members of parliament, it is shameful that the former political appointee has failed to seek public forgiveness for her and other politicians inappropriate influence on the judicial service commission.

    In order for the judicial service commission to be effective, it must be independent from power struggle between MDP and PPM political members.
    Which has already caused the death of one PPM parliament member, a member of the judicial service commission, it is understood that critics of Aishath Velezinee and judicial service commission members who are opposed to her views are now under police protection after the biggest critic was silenced.

  2. Shanaa on Mon, 4th Mar 2013 4:56 PM 

    @Choco you do realize Velezinee was stabbed for speaking out like this before. And you do realize that security forces are with the coup government and they are the one who are going around beating people who demonstrate most of whom are MDP members.

    As for Dr Afrasheems murder do you realize that he publicly apologized to everyone during a religious programme the night of the murder incase he had lead anyone astray with his views? Did you know he was getting death threats from the radicals for his moderate views on religion a fact confirmed by his family and from the numerous videos on youtube of Dr Afrasheem where they label him ibises.

    Did you also know he had been attacked a few times in the past again by religious radicals and they were calling him to repent? So please don’t try to make Dr Afrasheem’s issue part of political football when it seems more an issue of religious differences.

    And Velezinee is right, if we had listened to her at the beginning on the issue of appointment of judges the country would be in a better situation today.

    She was the only one who saw the comming danger we were all too busy being beyfulhu and commenting on how unbeyfulhu like she was when she was screaming and begging the judges to stop taking oaths unlawfully.

  3. Kuribee on Mon, 4th Mar 2013 5:09 PM 

    Dr Afrasheem had applogize in many occasions and was not the first time his life he apologize to public ?

    We have seen how this lady had tried to influence the commission and the way she had behaved when the event was love on TVs.

    It was shame on Nasheed and MDP the way this alcohol addicted lady was acting inside the commission.

  4. photoshop on Mon, 4th Mar 2013 5:50 PM 

    Is the smile and the teeth photo shopped?

    So unlike that vile judiciary bashing fish wife type woman we are accustomed to..

  5. Ilyas Ahmed on Mon, 4th Mar 2013 6:18 PM 

    Only a few days ago, we heard from a UN expert, that the fundamental problem with our JSC is that it is not free from political influence – the kind of political influence wielded by Velezinee (an MDP political activist) and other such political appointees from different political groups within JSC.

    What we have seen in the JSC is that in the beginning Nasheed was trying to dominate and influence the appointment of judges while other political parties were competing with him to appoint their favorites to the bench.

    Valezinee was very much part of the problem and in the center of such political influence. It makes us laugh when someone like her tries to lecture the public as if she is an authority on the subject.

  6. Hathim on Mon, 4th Mar 2013 9:34 PM 

    Well to start with we could not have Gasim a presidential candidate sitting in JSC. A position from which he could influence what happens to another presidential candidate. All said and done judiciary is nowhere near independence or even qualified enough to dispense justice.

  7. Hathim on Mon, 4th Mar 2013 9:36 PM 

    @ kuribee this was the first time dr Afrasheem apologised to the public like that, lets not play with facts even to score points.

  8. Moonlight on Mon, 4th Mar 2013 10:36 PM 

    Kuribee Maumoon Abdull Gayoom, Kaley me hurihaa kameh ge adeega huree.Kalay beer Iraa lahvaa ebass kuruvi gothat ebas kuruvi dhaane.

  9. Mohamed Naseem on Mon, 4th Mar 2013 11:20 PM 

    No cant because Gasim Ibram is been caught bribing the Parliament and been taken to custody he must show that has got all the power in the county he could by the Vice President Dr.Bajee Waheed and tippoff the Police for a bleed coup in the Nation.

    Meantime time he could take the Parliament chair at JSC and bring president Naseet in front of Justice to show some Chines Inverters to Villa that he man and he can

  10. D on Mon, 4th Mar 2013 11:51 PM 

    Speaking of Velezinee, she was one of our lecturers at our college in 2000 something. We had 10 minutes break after each period and within that time she would go to a near by restaurant, had 2 or 3 cigarettes quickly and come back!We did not learn anything from her except politics and MDP and i was thinking, is this what we learn in Sociology of …?

    Then in the middle of the semester, she disappeared! we somehow knew she went to campaign for Anni! She just made it for the exams.As she did not teach us anything,she made a deal! i do not want to tell what deal she made but i was thinking, a person like this, how can she appear truthful to the public with her balony!!tsk tsk

  11. Ibrahim Mohamed Shoppe on Tue, 5th Mar 2013 12:30 AM 

    For all so called sisters and brothers from Maldives, just one single example out of too many :
    Fake judge Ablo convicted a 12 yo gang-raped to be flogged, because “she did not scream”.
    It’s too bad but still : @choco, if you really are that dumb, or mean, I wish it happens to you, if that is the only way to make clear how sick and insane or judiciary is. You would deserve, not them.


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