Muhthaz: Purging the Supreme Court doesn’t constitute judicial reform

Former Prosecutor General Muhthaz Muhsin (L) and Dr. Ahmed Abdulla Didi (R), who was impeached from his position as Chief Justice on November 18, 2019. (File Photo/Sun/Fayaz Moosa)

Former Prosecutor General Muhthaz Muhsin, on Wednesday, warned that purging the local courts of sitting judges did not constitute judicial reform.

He made the remark in an appearance on CNM’s Ithuru Kaafu show.

The judicial system does not end with the Supreme Court, and therefore, changes directed solely at the Supreme Court will not result in reform of the entire system, stressed Muhthaz.

While Muhthaz acknowledged that the Maldivian judiciary had undergone certain changes, he stressed on the merit of employing approaches based on wisdom and thorough planning over rushed approaches.

“Changes in positions doesn’t mean judicial reform. We need to show the performance. And changing the Supreme Court [bench], also, does not mean reform in the criminal justice system,” said Muhthaz.

He pointed out that the criminal justice system was composed mainly of the Criminal Court and lower courts, and said that true judicial reform would not be possible unless sitting judges were trained and familiarized with recent legislatures.

Muhthaz, in his interview, also expressed approval for the current Prosecutor General Hussain Shameem. He said he found Shameem to be one of the most competent people for the job.

“He will make a difference. That is, if he is allowed the opportunity to do so,” said Muhthaz.

He highlighted on the interlinked nature of the work of investigative agencies, the State prosecution, and the courts in establishing justice, and warned that the status of the local criminal justice would remain unchanged for as long as effective reforms don’t take place within the judiciary.