Nasheed: Replacing judges isn’t enough to reform the judiciary

Speaker of Parliament, former President Mohamed Nasheed. (Photo/People's Majlis)

Speaker of Parliament, former President Mohamed Nasheed says he found it hard to believe that replacing sitting judges would be enough to reform the local judiciary.

The Parliament has made several key decisions which has effectively changed the composition of the bench of the Supreme Court. It impeached the Chief Justice Dr. Ahmed Abdulla Didi and Supreme Court Justice Adam Mohamed Abdulla on November 18, and impeached Supreme Court Justice Abdulla Didi on August 28. It is set to take a no-confidence vote on Supreme Court Justice Abdul Ghani Mohamed on Wednesday.

Referring to the upcoming no-confidence vote during this Tuesday’s parliamentary sitting, Nasheed said that Ghani, if impeached, would mean the replacement of the entire bench of the Supreme Court.

He said that replacing sitting judges alone wasn’t enough to reform the judiciary.

“I certainly find it hard to believe replacing judges is enough to reform the judicial system,” said Nasheed.

He said that a complete overhaul of the judiciary required reform of all its mechanisms, training of judges and other court staff, and close monitoring of all issues faced by judges and all affairs of the judges.

Judicial reform and establishment of justice had been one of the current administration’s key electoral pledges.

Nasheed noted that the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) had yet to present amendments to the Judges Act and the Judicature Act despite promising it on its legislative agenda.

He said that the Parliament’s Judiciary Committee, which had been charged with drafting the legislatures, had failed initiate the work, and that the work must be completed even if it required assigning the task to another parliamentary committee.

With the Parliament having impeached three Supreme Court justices including the Chief Justice, about to impeach a fourth justice, and the retirement of Justice Abdulla Areef, Justice Dr. Azmiralda Zahir has been appointed the acting head of the Supreme Court.

Applications are open for three vacancies at the court.