MALAYSIA: The Anwar Appeal

Dear Friends

The Anwar Appeal

The oral judgments of the Court of Appeal dismissing Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim¡¯s and Sukma Darmawan¡¯s appeals against the decisions of High Court Judge Arifin Jaka¡¯s decision of August 8, 2000 come as no surprise. They once again reflect the state of the independence, impartiality and integrity of the Malaysian judiciary in politically sensitive cases.

Anwar has exhausted all his appellate avenues over his conviction and sentence in the first trial. He has another right of appeal to the Federal Court from the judgment of the Court of Appeal delivered today.

The three judges who heard this appeal are the most junior in the Court of Appeal. There are a few senior judges in that Court who could have been empanelled to hear this appeal. For reasons best known to whoever named the panel (it is not certain whether it was the former Chief Justice or the then President of the Court of Appeal who is now the Chief Justice, though by right it should be the President of the Court of Appeal) the seniors were excluded. Maybe the Chief Justice should explain this to the public. The public have a right to know.

What is more, the present Chief Justice of Malaysia will empanel the Bench to hear Anwar¡¯s final appeal to the Federal Court from the decision delivered today. He had previously, as judge of the Court of Appeal, sat with two others and dismissed Anwar¡¯s appeal to that Court from the judgment of Justice Augustine Paul in the first trial.

What hope has Anwar for justice in such circumstances?

So long as there are judges who are prepared to, and continue to, compromise the values and principles of their high office in such cases there is no hope for judicial independence and impartiality in the Malaysian justice system.

Dato¡¯ Param Cumaraswamy

UN Special Rapporteur on the

Independence of Judges and Lawyers

Thank you.

AHRC Urgent Appeals Programme

Asian Human Rights Commission

Document Type : Forwarded Urgent Appeal
Document ID : FA-06-2003
Countries : Malaysia,
Issues : Administration of justice,