The office of President Mohamed Nasheed expresses concern regarding the decision of the Maldives’ Supreme Court to dismiss his request for the deferment of his trial. In their dismissal, the Supreme Court cited that the case submitted by President Nasheed contained no issue that needed to be decided by the Court.
The Supreme Court’s decision is of special concern, in light of their recent encroachment of Parliamentary prerogative. Last week’s Supreme Court rulings included overturning decisions taken by elected Members of Parliament to dismiss the former President of the Civil Service Commission, Mohamed Fahmy over allegations of sexual harassment, and an amendment to the Parliamentary rules of Procedure allowing secret balloting in no confidence motions.
In their deliberations, which clearly violated the separation of powers guaranteed by the Constitution, the Supreme Court ruled that both the dismissal of Fahmy and the amendment to allow secret balloting were unconstitutional. The Supreme Court has also issued an injunction on the Elections Commission’s implementation of the recently ratified legislation governing the registration of Political Parties. The legislation stipulates for the removal from the registry, of all Political Parties, which do not have 10,000 members.
President Nasheed’s spokesperson, Mariya Didi said, ‘the Supreme Court’s decisions appear to be highly politicised and only result in the further loss of confidence in the Maldivian judiciary. President Nasheed’s trial and the question of his candidacy are integral to the future consolidation of democracy in the Maldives, a sentiment which has been expressed by all international stakeholders. It is thus, disturbing for the Supreme Court to disregard an issue of this magnitude as something which is of no concern to them.’
The European Union, in a declaration on 14 March stated, ‘it would be difficult to consider them credible and inclusive if Mr Nasheed and his party were to be prevented from standing or campaigning.’
The United Nation’s Special Rapporteur on Independence of Judges and Lawyers, Gabriella Knaul on a visit to the Maldives this year stated, “All branches of the State are equally important and none should be above the other,”. She also criticised the judiciary stating, “The requirement of independence and impartiality does not aim at benefiting the judges themselves, but rather the court users, as part of their inalienable right to a fair trial,”.