Public hearings will be set for Transitional Justice cases: Ombudsperson

The newly appointed chief ombudsperson Abdul Salaam Arif | photo: Sun

Malé, Maldives – The Office of Ombudsperson has decided to hold public hearings for Transitional Justice cases.

The office is open to take new Transitional Justice cases from 13 June to 30 June 2021 and some of these cases will be held publicly.

The Office of Ombudsperson was established following the ratification of the Transitional Justice Act (Act number:28/2020). The establishment of the Office of Ombudsperson for Transitional Justice is mandated under section 4A of this Act. The Act sanctions investigations into past wrongdoings by state authorities, heads of agencies, or individuals in power, which resulted in human rights violations.

The Office is to complete cases lodged within 2 years of the date of filing.

Speaking at a press conference held yesterday, Ombudsperson Jihadha Anees said that regardless of whether the crime committed was due to a person or policy, it will be rectified and the victims compensated.

Most important is to provide corrective changes to institutions based on investigations

Ombudsperson Jihadha Anees

The public hearing system is to be set in place to aid this process, in order to reach a higher percentage of the population and expose the problems in the system while conveying the victim’s stories.

The protocols are set in place for public hearings, with priority given to older cases and cases with crimes against humanity. The plaintiff may also request a public hearing.

Don’t treat the law [Transitional Justice Act] as an opportunity for revenge. It is not so in the law itself. The aim is to find the underlying issues and ensuring that law prevails.

Chief Ombudsperson Abdul Salaam Arif

While Ombudsperson Maryam Laiza said that other than providing justice, the most important goal of the office is to provide lessons for future generations. Laiza said that they aim to create generations that will respect human rights.

Meanwhile Chief Ombudsperson Abdul Salaam Arif added that the government will provide full support for the investigation.

The Transitional Justice Act strengthens accountability mechanisms, provides a framework for redress and reparations for victims of the abuse of power, and outlines measures to avoid such abuses of authority in the future. The eligibility timeframe for cases that may be investigated according to this Act runs from 1st January 1953 to 17th November 2018.