Tragedy of an honest Yemeni judge [Archives:2005/899/Viewpoint]

December 1 2005

One of the main reasons for Yemen being an underdeveloped country is the judiciary system, or rather the corrupt judiciary system. It is the implementation of order and rule of law that sustains a civilised nation. Without that, Yemen turns into the jungle it is today.

The judiciary system in Yemen is one of the most corrupt in the world. In fact Yemen in the transparency index is ranked 132 and considered a corrupt Country. Ironically as a government Yemen jumps to ratifying any international convention there is just to be considered a democratic and progressive country. And when it comes to stances within the international community, the Yemeni government demands justice from the world. High official representatives of Yemen speak loudly in international conferences about the double standards of the world's supreme powers and about the urgent need for reforming the UN's Security Council. But when it comes to endorsing democracy and human rights within the nation, it becomes an internal affair and the government barks loudly at any approaching shadow.

Recently I came across a very interesting phenomena, an almost extinct one. I met an honest Yemeni judge. He's always in office on time, and always doing his homework before attending court sessions. He actually reads the cases and studies them before ruling. He does not take bribes and he tries to enforce order in his office. The catch here is that he tries to enforce order. Frustrated he mumbles about how no one listens to his orders, how all ignore their responsibility and duty and how other judges overrule his statements on no grounds. “I feel that the whole system is against me” he said. And that is quite true. The judiciary system in Yemen is not an independent one. It is manipulated politically and one could easily get away with daylight murder just because he has some big shot as a cousin.

Understanding this, most activists and human right advocates demand two things over and over again: independence of media and that of the judiciary system. Media plays a vital role in educating people, and the judiciary system imposes order and justice. The Yemeni people's heads are manipulated with corrupt media and their fates are manipulated with corrupt judiciary. There are very few people like the judge I just mentioned and I hope that he survives the evil flood for this nation to survive.