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Karzai wants special court verdict enforced

Karzai wants special court verdict enforced

Aug 10, 2011 - 13:59

KABULinfo-icon(PANinfo-icon): President Hamid Karzai on Wednesday ordered the Independent Election Commission (IECinfo-icon) to enforce the special tribunal's verdict.

The five-judge court, set up in late December 2010 by the Supreme Court following a series of protests by unsuccessful candidates to investigate alleged fraud and irregularities in the Sept. 18 ballot, announced its judgment on June 23, 2011.

It ruled 62 of the 249 sitting parliamentarians were not entitled to retain their seats, based on the result of a vote recount ordered under Article 22 of the Electoral Law.

However, the verdict was rejected by the election commission and the legislature. Later, a group of lawmakers met President Karzai about the decision. The president told them the election commission had prepared a six-article resolution to resolve the crisis.

Karzai told the legislators he would take necessary steps to resolve all issues in the supreme national interest and would not let the country slip into crisis, he said. "We should try to find a solution and should not allow foreigners to manipulate us," Ibrahimi quoted the president as saying.

There was a dispute over the court among the three state pillars. The president could end the crisis by dissolving the tribunal, some MPs suggested.

The Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistaninfo-icon (FEFA)  had also said the special court for electoral complaints had exceeded its mandate and issued an illegal verdict.

FEFA initially welcomed the special court when it appeared that its members were operating within the legal framework of pursuing electoral fraud and criminal charges. But FEFA Executive Director Jan Dad Spinghar told Pajhwok Afghan News in an exclusive interview that the special court had overreached its legal powers.

"The performances and evaluations which have been done by the special court for electoral complaints were illegal,” he said. “As a consequence, the tribunal itself is also illegal."

The lower house also passed a vote of no-confidence against six Supreme Court justices -- Chief Justice Abdul Salam Azimi and Justices Bahauddin Baha, Abdul Rashid Rashid, Zamin Ali Behsudi, Mohammad Omar Babrakzai and Maulviinfo-icon Abdul Aziz. It also refused to give Attorney General Mohammad Ishaq a trust vote.

Karzai issued the order to resolve the dispute between key state pillars, a statement from the Presidential Palace said.

The three-article decree was issued on Wednesday by the Presidential Palace following an appellant court's verdict numbered 22 and dated August 4, 2011.

The IEC was directed to determine the legality of the verdict as soon as possible under Articles 33, 86 and 156 of the Constitution, Articles 62, 63 and 64 of the Electoral Law.

Article 2 of the decree says investigation of election-related issues by different state organs except IEC stood finalised.

The decree illustrates criminal issues, excluding election irregularities as prescribed in Article 63 of the Electoral Law, are not covered by this decree.

The statement quoted Karzai as saying the decree was effective as of its endorsement and relevant organisations were obliged to implement it.


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