Kurdistan needs an independent judiciary

Kuvan Bamarny

By Kuvan Bamarny:

Today, in democratic states, the judiciary system plays the most important role in ensuring the rule of people by people, in wresting people’s rights from the power-holders, in informing the law, in supporting civic life and in consolidating and upholding justice and liberty. In fact, people only find protection in the law and the judiciary, which lends them a hand to fend off aggressors. However, a strong judiciary only guarantees judicial justice, whereas distributive justice is needed as well and this depends on a strong parliament.

As a democratic pluralist society, we Kurds hold free elections and we send representatives to the parliament as legislature and the executive. However, as soon as we decide to hold free elections, we feel confident that oppression will be defeated and that the return of tyranny will be made impossible. We have paid a high price in order to have an honorable government, parliament, representative deputies, useful and just laws – and yet we do not ask ourselves whether we would need to also have an effective judiciary and strong, independent judges?

Today the weakest branch of power in the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) is the judiciary. If strength needs applying somewhere for the consolidation of the law and rule by the people, it is in the judiciary. It is impossible for rule by the people to be effective if the judiciary is weak and ineffective. The role of the judiciary and the law in Kurdistan today is so weak that no one would even dare to take a government official to court. If we had judicial officials who would punish offenders and their wrongdoings, and who would side with the victim and uphold justice, we would not have had so many political problems and our people would not have been left without an active government.

If our people are determined to have a government that is based on a rejection of arbitrary rule and on respect for the people’s rights, they need to also insist on the election of the judiciary’s top officials and include an article to this effect in the Constitution. In this way you will ensure that you have knowledgeable, just and honest judicial officials who are not appointed by, and subservient to, any political party and who, with the backing of the people, will stand up to any state officials who break the law.

Rule by the people needs both fair laws and the implementation of the law, and the judiciary is only responsible for dealing with disputes and punishing offenders. Without a strong and just judiciary, the fairest of distributive laws will not produce any benefits and will only be subverted by certain elements within the nation. Furthermore, we must allow the rule of the people into every sector and think of ways of tackling any kind of discrimination or hostilities. This will prevent dictatorship and the disappointment of those who have longed for and struggled for justice

When the judiciary becomes the sole arbiter, no political party, religious or non-religious arbiter will take it upon itself to sanction the shedding of human blood under this or that excuse. The judiciary, which is supposed to be the people’s refuge, is today such a subservient, corrupt organ that the charms of power-holders have rendered judges totally ineffective. Ordinary people have remained helpless as to where and who should they take their claims and complaints to.

Political differences need to be put aside and the focus should be on forming an independent judiciary system and a strong parliament so that the rule of law is guaranteed and ensured in society. All political parties, religious and non-religious, should work together to achieve this noble goal.

Meanwhile, Kurdish religious parties who view liberalism and secularism as a monster should know better for their part that judicial independence is one of the firm, self-evident principles of the precepts of religion. As the holy book Quran mentions:

” O you who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to God, even as against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, and whether it be against rich or poor: for God can best protect both. Follow not the lusts of your hearts, lest ye swerve, and if ye distort justice or decline to do justice, verily God is well-acquainted with all that ye do” ( Nisa 4:135 ).

The conclusion from this verse of Quran proves that justice is a universal concept that has nothing to do with the West, liberalism and secularism. Religious politicians need to stop trying to find the answer to every question in religion. Instead they should to be open to answers that are produced by independent, rational thinking. In turn, however, non-religious politicians need to stop attacking religion in the name of terrorism and extremism. They should not oppress believers and their sanctities. They must embrace dialogue and respect others if they wish to be respected. Kurdistan is both a secular and a religious society that needs a strong judiciary and strong laws in order to ensure equality and happiness for all citizens: minorities and majorities, believers and non-believers.

Copyright © 2011 Kurdistantribune.com

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