Supreme Court Justice Mujthaz Fahmy
10 May 2010. The Judicial Service Commission’s (JSC) decision yesterday to reappoint all sitting judges unless they have been convicted of either a crime with a punishment prescribed in the Qur’an, criminal breach of trust or bribery was “nothing less than treason to rob the people of an honest judiciary”, claims Aishath Velezinee, the president’s member on the commission.
The decision was approved with five votes in favour, two against and one abstention.
Writing in her personal blog, Velezinee warns that the new standard for judges’ conduct could give tenure to 19 judges with either prior convictions or allegations of gross misconduct.
If the decision is validated, she writes, the country “stands to inherit” seven judges found guilty of criminal breach of trust by the relevant authorities but not convicted in court; five judges with allegations of criminal breach of trust; two judges who face prosecution for criminal breach of trust; one judge on trial for sexual misconduct; two judges found guilty of sexual misconduct but not tried at court; one judge guilty of a crime with a punishment prescribed in the Quran; and one judge guilty of sexual misconduct and accused of criminal breach of trust.
While Velezinee said Mujthaz Fahmy was among the 19 judges with prior records, Suood accused Fahmy of holding up the promotion of rival judges for “personal reasons”.
Attorney General Husnu Suood and Velezinee said the judges on the commission were “not cooperating” with the task of reappointing judges.
However, Judge Fahmy has denied the allegations: “Velezinee is lying if she really said that. That’s incorrect information.”
“I wouldn’t say that judges have an undue influence in the commission as we don’t have a majority,” he said. “There are three judges on the ten-member commission”.
“The assumption is that judges will have a higher than average standard of conduct,” he said. “Judges should be exemplary figures.