Reform of Judiciary: Isn’t It Time for an Initiative [Archives:2001/22/Viewpoint]

May 28 2001

It is true that the new government brought hope with it for the people of Yemen. It is also true that the first steps by the government were somewhat courageous and promising. However, interestingly enough, not much has been said or done regarding the judicial system in Yemen.
The Ministry of Justice is not the body that regulates all aspects of the judiciary in Yemen. The steps to improve the justice system in Yemen need to be implemented as urgently as possible. To put it in another way, if the justice system is not efficient, and if the judges are not qualified and honest, then there is no use in all the modernization and development strategies that have been set forth. This is because justice is the corner stone which all other sectors depend on. There cannot be investments if there is corruption at the judicial level. There can also be no stability and security if judges are vulnerable to bribes, etc. Yemenis and foreigners alike cannot trust in the progress of the country until they see tangible change for the better in the judicial system of Yemen.
Right now is the time to raise the issue of the judicial reform. It is time to revive all efforts to reconstruct and implement radical reforms of the judicial system.
Corrupt judges need to be replaced by qualified young professional personnel who are clean and have no ‘special’ relationships with lawyers and others vested interests.
Justice must always be given priority. One look at the dirty courtrooms that have more than half of the furniture broken, makes us realize the extent our justice system has deteriorated. The security issue is also interrelated with the judiciary because the ones who commit crimes tend to rely on the corrupt judges to have them acquitted, especially if the criminals belong to influential tribes or families.
Only when the ordinary citizen who has little money and no one to rely on wins his case easily, will Yemen be able to progress and develop. In other words, if there is no justice, there can never be a bright future.
It is time for justice to prevail.
It is time for an initiative.