Male: Judges and lawyers in the Maldives are not sufficiently independent from "external influence" and interferences, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers Gabriela Knaul has said.
Her remarks came amidst the controversy surrounding the trial of former president Mohamed Nasheed.
As part of a wider review of the Maldives justice system, Knaul said the Judicial Services Commission (JSC) - mandated with the appointment, transfer and removal of judges - was unable to perform its constitutional duty adequately in its current form.
"I have heard from numerous sources that the current composition of the JSC is inadequate and politicised. Because of this politicisation, the Commission has been subjected to all sorts of external influence and consequently has been unable to function properly," Knaul said.
Her comment was among a number of preliminary observations on the Maldives` judiciary and wider legal ecosystem, following an eight day fact-finding mission that concluded yesterday.
Knaul is an independent expert appointed to deliver recommendations on potential areas of reform to the Maldives` legal system, at the 23rd session of the UN Human Rights Council in May this year.
The JSC created the Hulhumale Magistrate Court in which former President Mohamed Nasheed is currently being tried, and appointed the three-member panel of judges overseeing the case.
JSC head Adam Mohamed - also a Supreme Court judge - cast the deciding vote in a Supreme Court ruling on the court`s legitimacy, Minivan News reported.
Questions have been asked of Nasheed`s trial over the legitimacy of the Hulhumale Court. However, the Supreme Court end of last year had declared the Hulhumale Court as a legitimate court.