President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih on Friday appointed ombudspersons to the Office for Transitional Justice, which was established under the recently ratified Transitional Justice Act.
The president appointed Abdul Samad Arif of Maafaru, Noonu Atoll, as the Chief Ombudsperson, and Jihada Anees from Kanduhulhudhoo, Gaafu Alif Atoll, and Mariyam Laiza from Male', as ombudspersons.
According to the President's Office, Abdul Samad Arif holds a Master’s Degree in Comparative Laws from the International Islamic University of Malaysia. He was formerly the vice president at the Tax Appeal Tribunal.
Jihada Anees holds a Master's of Law, majoring in International Maritime Law at the International Maritime Law Institute (IMLI), Malta. She previously served as the Assistant State Attorney at the Attorney General’s Office.
Mariyam Laiza has a Master’s Degree in Human Rights and Democratisation from Mahidol University, Thailand. Prior to her appointment, she was a lecturer at the Maldives National University (MNU).
President Solih ratified the Transitional Justice Act on December 17, 2020, after the parliament approve the legislation on November 29.
Key goals laid out in the Transitional Justice Act include to end the culture of impunity and solidify the rule of law, in order to strengthen overall democratic governance.
It sanctions investigations into past wrongdoings by state authorities, heads of agencies, or individuals in power, which resulted in human rights violations. Cases eligible for investigation under this Act runs from January 1, 1953 to November 17, 2018.
Furthermore, the Act seeks to improve accountability mechanisms, provide a framework for redress and also reparations for victims of the abuse of power, by outlining measures to avoid such abuses of authority in the future.
In addition to being tasked with overseeing various mechanisms of transitional justice, the Ombudsperson's Office is required to function as an autonomous legal identity, with the powers to communicate, file a lawsuit or receive court charges.
The Transitional Justice Act specifies powers and functions delegated to the Ombudsperson's Office, including a provision that states the office's function must be carried out in complete autonomy under the purposes stipulated in the law “without any prejudice or influence”.