Judiciary in Ramadan [Archives:2006/989/Reportage]

October 12 2006

Taiz Bureau
“In Ramadan, we only receive emergency cases the procedures of which go fast,” said Judge Abdulkarim Al-Nu'mani, the chief judge of Taiz Prosecution. “Judges must not rule while they are angry or hungry and there have been 5779 cases ruled on during the year and the remaining cases number 586.”

In the governorate of Taiz, locals complain of the justice system during the holy month of Ramadan.

The judicial leave is one of the rights accrued to judges and therefore the law set such a leave at two months a year, one of them is Ramadan and the other month is to be specified by the Ministry of Justice.

“Courts open during the holy month to receive only emergency cases, which can not be delayed any longer and only one judge is appointed to receive such cases in each court,” said Al-Nu'mani.

It's only the judges who are guaranteed longer leave over the year.

“Other judiciary workers occupying administrative offices have only one month a year and are treated like other Civil Service employees in conformity with the Civil Service Law,” Nu'man added.

Court cases must continue to move along though, even in Ramadan

“The Law of Appeals and Civil Execution stipulated one week time for the convicted to accept the sentence optionally. Otherwise, the court resort to obligatory execution of the verdict, and there is no a specific period of time for the second case since each case has its own conditions,” explains Al-Nu'mani.

Judge must not rule while he is hungry

This notion is supported by a penal court judge Abdullah Mohamed Al-Hedabi, who said: “Judge's leave in Ramadan is specified by the Judiciary Law. The annual leave for judges was set at two ( Islamic Calendar) months and Dhu Al-Hajja is one of the two while July was approved as a summer leave for judges.”

“Ramadan is the month of fasting and Prophet Mohamed said 'The judge must nor rule while he is angry or hungry.' Courts open during Ramadan for emergency cases with completed evidence,” Al-Hedabi affirmed.

Conciliating between people

Al-Hedabi added that prosecution pay field visits to prisons to examine the conditions of inmates, their cases and the remaining jail term they are sentenced to serve.

With regard to prolonging case procedures, Al-Hedabi said judges often delay issuing verdicts to give both litigants more chance to conciliate with each other, however, prolonging case procedures may enrage the plaintiff or the person who feels himself/herself oppressed.

Around the year

Saleh Rajeh Abu Hatem, Chief Judge of Taiz Prosecution, said, “Prosecution doesn't close its doors in Ramadan, rather we continue working around the year. What happens is we distribute work to the prosecution staff members to be implemented in rotation. While distributing work, we consider how the work progresses.”

Abdu Hatem said people prefer staying at home during Ramadan and spend much of their time on worshiping. There are no court hearings except for emergency cases and all people know that Ramadan is an official leave for judges.

Respecting religious rituals

Abdu Mohamed Muqbel, Deputy Attorney-General of Taiz East Prosecution, said: “Most of the courts close in Ramadan as a respect for religious rituals. In Ramadan, people cannot tolerate pursuing case procedures in courts and prosecutions.”

About the prosecution's attitude toward penniless inmates, Muqbel noted that President and the Republic and the Ministry of Justice authorize committees to pay field visits to prisons and see whether there are penniless inmates who cannot pay blood money or any other fines. In case the committees find penniless inmates, the state undertakes to pay any blood money or fines on those inmates and release them.

Muqbel said judiciary has improved over time and there are many distinctive courts and prosecutions that pay more attention to judges and administrative staff and those working in judicial institutions receive all the rights accrued to them.

Suspects informed of their rights

With respect to spreading awareness of suspects about their rights

“We brief suspects on their rights to appoint defense-advocates and confess to charges without any pressure,” said Muqbel.

“Sometimes, lawyers play with cases of clients or deceive them. So, the situation of judiciary goes from bad to worse. It doesn't improve and most of the cases are found to be placed in drawers,” said Aziza Mohamed Al-Shehri, a lawyer. “Judiciary institutions don't have adequate facilities and claimants in pursuit of cases, who don't have enough money to pay bribes, cannot attain their rights or what they seek.