Between 23-25 September 2023 Judges from various tiers of the justice system have attended the first “Training of Trainers” on “Applying a Human Rights-Based Approach to Judicial Decision-making”.
The Training was organised by the Max Planck Foundation with the support of the Department of Judicial Administration and the Judicial Academy and gathered eight Judges from the Drug, Civil, Criminal and Magistrate Courts and four Justices from the High Court and the Supreme Court of Justice of the Maldives.
The Training was launched with opening remarks from the Foundation’s Research Fellows as well as brief introductions from the participants, reflecting and sharing insights on the role of the judiciary in ensuring the advancement of human rights domestically.
The first day invited participating Judges to explore the foundations for applying a human rights-based approach in sources of international law, domestic provisions within the Constitution of the Maldives and comparative analyses of incorporating such an approach in regional and international jurisprudence. Additionally, the concept and elements of judicial reasoning were discussed to further contextualise the obligations that judges must abide by and corresponding opportunities for consideration of human rights in their judicial practices.
The second day delved deeper into the topic by looking at domestic provisions and redress available for fundamental rights violations with the view of identifying tools that would equip judges to consider and successfully apply a human rights-based approach when hearing fundamental rights claims. The second part of day two invited participants to jointly analyse various pieces of legislation (2013 Anti-Human Trafficking Act, 2020 Drugs Act, select provisions pertaining to migrant workers) through the lens of human rights with the view of identifying avenues through which judges can incorporate procedural, interpretative and reasoning methods in dispensing justice that would advance the human rights of marginalised groups.
The third day was a practical day, where all participants were asked to give a brief presentation on a chosen law, rule of procedure or case law that would highlight the application of a human rights based-approach in the Maldivian context. The presentations were followed by lively debates among the Judges and Justices where the legal opportunities and statutory limitations set out by the Constitution of the Maldives were discussed and considered.
The Training concluded with Justice Aisha Shujune Muhammad of the Supreme Court of the Maldives and Chief Judicial Administrator Aishath Rizna giving closing remarks and emphasising the importance of human rights consideration in judicial decision-making.
This “Training of Trainers” is the first in the series, with another training planned for November 2023 and three roll-out workshops planned for 2024, that the trained judges will deliver in three select atolls.
The Training was part of the Foundation’s project in the Maldives titled ‘At the Crossroad Between Progressive Reforms and Democratic Backsliding: Supporting the Stabilisation of the Maldives‘, supported by the German Federal Foreign Office.