6 August 2007
The Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers of the Human Rights Council, Leandro Despouy, and the Special Representative of the Secretary General on the situation of human rights defenders, Hina Jilani, issued the following statement today:
“The Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers and the Special Representative of the Secretary General on the situation of human rights defenders welcome the reinstatement of the Chief Justice of Pakistan, Iftikhar Chaudhry, after a majority decision of the Supreme Court on 20 July 2007.
The Special Rapporteur and the Special Representative see this decision of the Supreme Court as a significant step towards restoring confidence in the rule of law, but still wish to stress the importance of keeping the independence of the judiciary.
In a press release issued on 21 March 2007, the Special Rapporteur and the Special Representative had expressed their concerns regarding the events that took place in Pakistan after 9 March 2007, when President Pervez Musharraf suspended the Chief Justice over unspecified allegations of ‘misuse of office’. The Special Rapporteur and the Special Representative called upon the Government of Pakistan, among others, to follow scrupulously the constitutional procedures for an inquiry related to the Chief Justice’s conduct and to do its utmost to ensure a continued functioning of the administration of justice in conformity with international standards. Furthermore, they called upon the Government to investigate thoroughly the reported cases of excessive force applied by law enforcement authorities against peaceful demonstrators”.
For use of the information media; not an official record