United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay issued a statement on Thursday, 30 October, accusing the Maldives Supreme Court of ‘subverting the democratic process‘. A few hours later, Chief Justice Ahmed Faiz responded in Dhivehi. The following is an unofficial translation of his response:
“Chief Justice of the Maldives
UN Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay’s statement today that the Maldives Supreme Court is repeatedly intervening in the presidential election and damaging the democratic process were made with no efforts to establish the truth of the matter, is irresponsible, and, instead of encouraging efforts to establish democracy and rule of law in the Maldives, creates a negative image of the country’s apex court among the Maldivian people and international actors. I am, therefore, deeply concerned, and state that these remarks are unacceptable.
The Maldives Supreme Court bears no enmity towards anyone. Regardless of who submits a case to the Supreme Court, the Court will deliberate on the matter according to the Constitution, laws and regulations of the country, in a manner that would protect everyone’s rights. Supreme Court carries out this responsibility to uphold the Constitution and rule of law, and to establish justice.
The Maldives is a free and independent State. It is a sovereign country with self-rule. The UN is an organisation established with the purpose of protecting the rights of small nations as well as big ones and, as under the principle of sovereign equality, every member nation has the same status and rights as the other, and, as the UN Charter assures protection of a State’s sovereign authority over its own jurisdiction, it cannot be accepted or believed, even under the UN Charter, that a person under a UN mandate should speak in a way that deprives Maldives of the said rights.
Statements made with no efforts to verify the reality of how the Maldives Supreme Court is carrying out its duties do not assist or help efforts to develop democracy in the Maldives or to establish justice in the country. Nor do they encourage efforts to promote and protect democracy, rule of law and human rights.
Therefore, I strongly condemn UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay’s remarks about the Supreme Court’s efforts to carry out its constitutional duties and responsibilities. I would also like to say that I do not believe she has any status whatsoever to make such remarks in such a manner.
30 October 2013”