The Judicial System, First [Archives:2000/31/Viewpoint]

July 31 2000

Most of the foreign investors I met so far, complain of the absence of a strong unbiased, decisive, and efficient judicial system. Today, as we are reforming our economy, encouraging investment, and as quoted in a statement for President Ali Abdullah Saleh “starting to build the state of law and order”, we should concentrate on the judicial system and how to reform it.
“If there is no justice, there is no freedom.” This is what is mostly thought of among the Yemeni population, as if they are pointing out the significance of a strong judicial system, and complaining about the miseries and injustice they face when being in courtrooms and under the mercy of corrupt judges.
Islam is a religion that concentrates on justice and enforcing it. However, it is quite a surprise to find that an Islamic country like Yemen, with a 100% Moslems, and a strict Islamic conservative society is away from what Islam called for, and seems rather obsessed with continuing corruption in the judicial system.
It is quite common to notice that (some) judges demand bribes from their clients in an open matter and relaxed manner as if it is a normal thing. The salary raise that the government implemented for judges in an attempt to prevent corruption among judges was not enough, as one prominent lawyer says, “A YR 100,000 monthly salary would never prevent judges from bribing people, as judges spend 5 to 10 thousand rials a day on qat. I do want them to realize that they should implement strong measures against such judges rather than increasing their salaries.”
If a country lives without justice, without any doubt, it is destined to failure in providing the people with the utmost service equally and without any shortcomings. President Saleh should be the first person who starts a campaign to see how people stay in courts for years and decades in trivial cases, simply because the judges and lawyers are corrupt. He should begin strong measures against corruption in the courts where transparency and justice should always prevail.
At least, for the sake of the Yemeni economy, important steps should be taken to stop a bunch of judges from ruining the national economy because of delaying cases and making decisions that are not based on law and order, but rather on their own interests. Walid Al-Saqqaf