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Commonwealth seeks legal advisor to aid Maldives judicial reform

Mohamed Visham
25 August 2016, MVT 12:27
The offices of Judicial Service Commision and Department of Judicial Administration in the capital Male. MIHAARU FILE PHOTO/MOHAMED SHARUHAAN
Mohamed Visham
25 August 2016, MVT 12:27

Commonwealth is looking to appoint a legal advisor to assist the ongoing efforts in the Maldives to reform its judiciary laden with allegations of corruption and politicization.

In an announcement, Commonwealth said the senior legal advisor would undertake an assessment of the Maldives Judicial Service Commission (JSC) and its work and to make recommendations for its reform.

The advisor who would receive £48,400 (MVR98,800) per annum would also provide advice to the JSC in order to ensure that it upholds its constitutional and statutory obligations and functions as an independent institution, the announcement read.

Tasks and responsibilities:

Formulating proposals for the constitutional and any other reform of the commission;

Reviewing and making recommendations for the strengthening of the existing judicial conduct mechanism enforced by the JSC;

Reviewing and making recommendations for the strengthening of the system for the evaluation by the JSC of judicial performance;

Reviewing and making recommendations for the strengthening as necessary of the rule of procedure and working methods of the JSC with a view to enhancing the independence and impartiality of the judiciary;

Reviewing and making recommendations for the strengthening as necessary of the review mechanism of the People's Majlis of the JSC

The 53 member country bloc has made the promotion of rule of law by upholding both the separation of powers and the independence of the judiciary in the Maldives as its primary goal.

In July, the Commonwealth appointed a special envoy to aid in the process of constitutional and political transition.

Dr Willy Mutunga tasked with ending the ongoing political strife in the Maldives had concluded his first to the archipelago earlier this month.

Mutunga who retired as Kenya's chief justice in June is mandated to “consult with all relevant stakeholders to encourage the strengthening of a pluralist, multi-party democracy, steps towards credible and inclusive presidential elections in 2018 and the advancement of reforms to give full effect to the separation of powers,” according to the Commonwealth.

The Commonwealth has meanwhile threatened action if there is no progress on dialogue by September.

The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group, a watchdog body comprising of eight foreign ministers, laid out a six-point reform agenda in February, which includes the release of political prisoners and judicial reform.

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