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Supreme Court strikes back at parliament

Supreme Court strikes back at parliament

Jun 25, 2011 - 18:42

KABULinfo-icon (PANinfo-icon): The Supreme Court on Saturday said Parliament has no authority to remove the chief justice and other Supreme Court justices from office unless they are found guilty of professional misconduct.

The Wolesi Jirgainfo-icon, the lower house of Afghanistaninfo-icon’s parliament, on Saturday passed a vote of no confidence against six of the nine Supreme Court justices: Chief Justice Abdul Salam Azimi and justices Bahaudin Baha, Abdul Rashid Rashid, Zamin Ali Behsudi, Mohammad Omar Babrakzai and Maulviinfo-icon Abdul Aziz. The house also called for the formation of a special court to try them.

Of the 185 MPs present, 181 cast votes of no confidence against the judges. Wolesi Jirga speaker Abdul Rahauf Ibrahimi said the house had the authority under Article 127 of the constitution to make such a decision.

Abdul Malik Kamawi, deputy chairman of the Supreme Court, said the judges had not been involved in any professional misconduct or dereliction of duty and that the Wolesi Jirga's decision had no legal status.

"I can't understand under which law the house has taken this action," said Kamawi. He said the house did not even have the legal standing to summon the Chief Justice or others.

Last week, Parliament summoned the chief justice along with other Supreme Court judges and the Attorney General to appear before the house over their involvement in establishing the special court to investigate allegations of fraud in last year’s parliamentary elections. None of them appeared before Parliament, arguing that the legislature had no authority to summon them.

Created by the Supreme Court, the special election tribunal is a panel of five judges tasked with investigating thousands of complaints about irregularities in last year’s parliamentary election. Many members of Parliament maintain that the formation of the special election court was unconstitutional, and that the independent election commission has the sole authority to investigate fraud.

The special election court ordered a vote recount under Article 22 of Afghan election law and ruled on Thursday that fraud disqualified 62 of 249 parliamentarians. Two secretaries of the parliament and the former acting speaker were among those disqualified.


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