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The Killid Group
Women want place in the Supreme CourtWritten by Maryam
Saturday, 23 April 2011 10:35
Time is over for the existing members of the Supreme Court's high council and MPs have called on the president to introduce new nominees to them for approval. While Mr. Karzai weighs potential candidates to run the country's top judicial institution, some MPs in the Wolesi Jirga have already demanded one reform: include women among the top judges.
"A major problem facing Afghan women is lack of access to justice and a fair judicial system," says Fawzia Kofi, an outspoken female MP from the northeastern Badakhshan Province. In Kofi's view, President Karzai should include at least one female among the nine judges that he would need to nominate for parliamentary approval.
Noor Jahan Yosufzai, a law lecturer at the Kabul University, says a female judge in the Supreme Court's high council will not only help reduce gender related concerns in the judiciary but would also demonstrate the government's genuine commitment to gender equity.
Human rights organization and civil society actors have also hailed the recommendation. "This is a serious need and it should be considered by the president," said Ahmad Zia Mubalegh, a civil society activist in Kabul.
Despite its ostensible popularity, the recommendation is expected to face opposition from some religious groups. While the constitution does not restrict women from running the judiciary or any other post in the government including the presidency, some religious hardliners say that cannot be appointed as supreme judges.
"Among the Islamic scholars who have drawn up the Islamic laws, Imam Azam has confirmed that women can be appointed as judges in issues related to women," said Mohammad Ayaz Niazi, a lecturer of Islamic law at the Kabul University. Women can also be appointed as advisors to the Chief Justice on all judicial issues, according to Niazi.
While the debate has proponents and opponents and legal and religious interpretations vary significantly, the final decision rests with President Hamid Karzai on appointing women in the Supreme Court's high council.