The Edition


Govt seeks to establish Interim Justice Commission

16 April 2019, MVT 10:44
Judges taking part in a ceremony held in Supreme Court. PHOTO: NISHAN ALI / MIHAARU
16 April 2019, MVT 10:44

The administration on Monday submitted a bill to create an Interim Justice Commission' with major investigative authorities, in order to secure justice for individuals that suffered from incidents that violated their human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Maafannu North MP Imthiyaz Fahmy of Maldivian Democratic Party presented the bill to the parliament on behalf of the administration, with the purpose of observing, investigating and seeking justice for citizens facing damages and losses due to any systemic violations of their rights orchestrated by institutions or their management. The commission will also have the power to dissolve such institutions and annul regulations that violates human rights.

According to the bill, the commission is to be tasked with investigating cases that occurred between January 1, 2012, and November 17, 2018.

The first hearing of the bill is slated for April 15.

A presidential decree is required to form the Interim Justice Commission upon the implementation of the bill. The commission will be comprised of five members, all including the chairman appointed by the president.

In addition to the authority granted to the members, the commission can attain cooperation from other institutions to summon individuals for questioning and to take statements in relation to investigations.

If an individual were to not respond to a summons, the commission would have the authority to attain a court order to detain them for its investigation. In cases where technical aid is needed, the commission possesses the power to bring in investigators from relevant international authorities.

Furthermore, the commission would be able to attain court orders to access documents and other relevant records for the investigation.

The commission would also be able to request court orders to withhold passports of suspects in cases where they have fled, and request for their arrests if necessary.

The commission is guaranteed all authority under the Criminal Procedure Code to carry out investigations. It can further take measures against individuals that refute commission's orders to governmental institutions.

According to the bill, an 'Interim Justice Ombudsman Office' will be established, to which the commission will submit documentation of investigations. The Ombudsman Office would have the authority to file criminal charge cases to the Prosecutor General’s Office, and civil charge cases to the Attorney General’s Office.

All three members appointed to the Ombudsman Office are required to possess the qualifications and requirements equivalent to that of Supreme Court Judges as stated in the bill. There are no restrictions in the bill barring foreigners from being appointed.

The bill further mandates that, upon a case being submitted to the Prosecutor General’s Office or the Attorney General’s Office, a decision regarding filing of charges must be made within 15 days. If a decision were made to proceed with the charges, the bill mandates that within 45 days it would have to be observed by the court and a verdict issued.