Saturday, December 15, 2007

Maldives Attorney General Azima, made it clear that she is not fit for the job. How?

The hard truth is that the government secretly gave up 35 miles of the EEZ in 1993- and it cannot be won back! This concession was made by Attorney-General Azima Shukoor on live TV and radio, seen and heard in Colombo. There is joy today in Sri Lanka as the Maldives concedes that Sri Lankan fisherman can freely enter and travel through Maldivian waters.

The hard truth is that the government secretly gave up 35 miles of the EEZ in 1993- and it cannot be won back! This concession was made by Attorney-General Azima Shukoor on live TV and radio, seen and heard in Colombo. There is joy today in Sri Lanka as the Maldives concedes that Sri Lankan fisherman can freely enter and travel through Maldivian waters.

Our jurisdiction over the EEZ arises from the Law of the Sea. We had no right to claim 200-mile EEZ before we ratified the Law of Sea Treaty in 2000," said Azima, in explaining why the Maldives did not object to UKs' declaration in October 1991 of sovereignty over some 70 miles of Maldivian EEZ south of Addu.

"How can we claim 200 miles for us before we ratified Law of the Sea? We ratified the Law of the Sea only in 2000," said Azima.

Azima may not have known the minefield that she was entering. President Gayoom had asked her to go on TV and bash Dr Hassan Saeed. But Azima ended up bashing the Maldivian fishing community and Maldivian sovereignty; and in the process proving to the rest of the country that she has no clue about international law.

What did Hassan Saeed actually say?
On Friday night, former Attorney-General, Dr Hassan Saeed said that President Gayoom did not take national interests seriously and cited refusal to hire an international expert to contest UK's claim over 70 miles of Maldivian Exclusive Economic Zone south of Addu Atoll Gan. Hassan warned that if the government did not act fast enough, it risked losing sovereignty over the waters forever.

This allegation immediately set the midnight oil burning in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Fisheries, the Attorney-General's Office and the President's Office. Teams of lawyers sifted through reams of paper in stacks of boxed files to refute the allegation. A press conference was called for the following Sunday. The mission of this endeavour was not to protect national sovereignty or to inform the truth to the people, but to lambast Dr Hassan Saeed, and if possible, his associate the former Foreign Minister and if possible Hassan's new found political ally and predecessor, Dr Munavvar.

Enter Janet Reno
The stage was set, and the lights went out, and in marched Janet Reno and her team at Dharubaaruge. The intention was to accuse all three of neglect. But what happened was quite the opposite.

Azima ended up confirming that, yes, part of the EEZ was being claimed by UK and that the Maldives has so far not forwarded a counter claim. She also confirmed Hassan's allegation that his request for government funds to hire an expert was refused by Government in November 2005 and that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was asked to find a donor who can provide an expert.

While conceding this, Azima used the platform to say that the President had fired 8 letters to the Attorney-General and the Foreign Minister between 1998 and 2007, as if to say that the President was on the ball on this subject. She lied about government already having surrendered a 35 mile area to the UK in 1993- even 100 letters from the President's Office to the AG since 1998 cannot erase the previous crime committed in 1993.

Azima's incompetence?
But Azima conceded much more than the accuracy of Hassan's allegations. Azima in fact made it clear that she was not suited for the job. How?

A reporter asked her why the government had not protested to UK's claim over part of Maldivian EEZ, ever since the UK advanced the claim on 1 October 1991. Her response was shocking: "You see, we could not advance a claim to 200 miles before we ratified the Law of the Sea Convention. We ratified the Convention in 2000."

That was a shocker! How can the Attorney-General say that we had no legal right to a 200-mile EEZ before we ratified Law of the Sea Convention? Is she not aware that the Law of the Sea Convention codified what was already widespread State practice? Is she not aware that our own current maritime law, dating from 1998, in fact claims 200-mile EEZ? Is she not aware that even before that time, we had been claiming 200-mile EEZ?

This point would not be worth noting if it was only to point out Azima's incompetence. Any person who claims to be a lawyer without reading for a basic law degree will definitely be incompetent. But there is more to this. The fisheries ministry in Sri Lanka has at last got the government of Maldives where it wants. For years, they have been trying to force the Maldives to concede that it will abide by the Law of the Sea provisions and allow right of innocent passage to Sri Lankan fishing vessels. Now they have got it straight from the horse’s mouth – our very own Attorney General.

What Azima did not know!
Azima's answer was clearly wrong. The Maldives right to 200 mile EEZ does not emerge from the Law of the Sea Treaty. Being the Attorney-General of Maldives, her ignorance of international law is nothing short of a catastrophe! International law is not just based on conventions and treaties. In fact, the traditional source of international law is customary law. The 200 mile EEZ has long been claimed by most states of the world, apart from maritime powers like the US who advocate freedom of the seas for their warships. What Law of the Sea Convention did was to codify existing State Practice. Thus, the Maldives claim to 200 mile EEZ arises from our own Act of Parliament. The current Act dates from 1998. According to Azima, that Act was meaningless until we ratified Law of the Sea Treaty in 2000! What rubbish! In actual fact, long before the 1998, the Maldives has been claiming 200 mile EEZ and arresting trespassing fishing vessels. It was our customary practice.

Azima went on to contradict herself in every department. The UK ratified the Law of the Sea on 25 July 1997. In that case, how come the UK could claim 200 miles for Chagos in 1991?

Government Failure
Clearly, the government failed to protest to the UK in 1991. Clearly it should have done so when the UK claimed 200 miles of EEZ. However, one of the most serious failures of this government was in 1993, when the government agreed with the UK on dividing the waters equally between the UK and Maldives, with each getting some 165 mile EEZ.

The million dollar question is did anyone take bribes for agreeing to that? Why is that document kept confidential? Why did Azima lie about what is in that document? Has the Maldives ever told the UK that we do not agree to give up part of our EEZ? The government also failed to protest to the UK in 1997 when UK lodged a claim for part of our EEZ at the UN. Why? The government also failed to protest to the UK in 2003 when it declared an EPPZ over part of our EEZ. Why? The government failed to give the money Dr Hassan Saeed to hire an expert to protest to the UK and take UK to the Court. Why? The truth is, in 1993, we had given up 35 miles of our EEZ to the UK!

Source: by Badruddeen Naseem Live-Pr

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Interesting article. Sad thing is the issue is being used for political reasons and nothing else...dirty politics as always

Károly Domonyi said...

Hi,

Your site is one of my favorites seen around blog explosion. Keep up the good work.
I enjoy reading your blog. It is great to find someone who can find the fun things in life!

I wish you all the best in all years.

Please take a look at my websites as well. I look forward to developing a friendship and networking with you. Let me know if there is something I can do to assist you with your business.

With Regards,

Karoly Domonyi
http://www.Aries.hu
http://www.ariestrade.com
http://www.AddProductFree.com
http://www.AddWebSiteFree.com