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ZA ex-justice warns of plan to dismiss judges: Supreme Court

Shahudha Mohamed
02 June 2019, MVT 21:29
Former South African Justice Johann Kriegler (R) and Attorney General Ibrahim Riffath. PHOTO: ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE / TWITTER
Shahudha Mohamed
02 June 2019, MVT 21:29

Supreme Court on Sunday stated that South Africa's retired Justice Johann Kriegler, appointed by Attorney General (AG)'s Office last week to conduct an independent assessment of the Maldivian Judiciary, issued a warning that there was a plan to dismiss judges from courts.

According to a statement issued by the Supreme Court, the key discussion points of the meeting held between Kriegler and the court's judges on Saturday night were the current situation of the judiciary, the challenges faces by the justice system and details on how to solve these issues.

However, instead of contributing to the discussion, Kriegler spoke of a plan to dismiss judges and suggested it would be better for them to resign before they were sacked in a demeaning way, Supreme Court's statement read.

The top court further claimed that Kriegler reiterated the judiciary will be reformed even if it required amending the constitution and stated that there was a feud between political powers and the judiciary, which the judiciary will lose.

As per the statement, Kriegler also declared that he will recommend the judges to be dismissed in the report to be prepared after reviewing the judiciary.

Supreme Court stated that the role of an international consultant was to give counsel in a professional and independent manner, and criticised Kriegler's statements as being driven otherwise.

Kriegler met with Supreme Court's judges without any discussions with the Maldivian judiciary or determining the reality of the situation, the court further said.

Moreover, the court declared that Kriegler's statements indicate that he pre-planned a course of action without proper research into the justice system, adding that Kriegler's warnings were disrespectful to the authority of the state.

The apex court went on to state that losing the independence of the judiciary and introducing a culture of the strongest powers influencing the courts would be a huge obstacle for upholding the law and delivering independent results.

The court also asserted that the AG Office began their study into judicial reform after the Supreme Court had initiated action to solve the issues regarding the justice system.

Reforming the judiciary is one of the most anticipated pledges President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih made after being sworn into office. Ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), which secured 65 seats in parliament, assured on various occasions that the justice system will be reformed.

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