Lord Hope to head Global Court based in Abu Dhabi GULF STATES accused of human rights violations including public lashings, stoning, torture, forced disappearances & impositions of censorship and prohibition of a free press – are turning to retired Scottish judges in an effort to corner global legal business.
In an appointment announced earlier this week, Lord Hope of Craighead, the retired Scots law lord, has been appointed as Chief Justice of Abu Dhabi Global Market Courts ("ADGM"), to help establish the undemocratic Gulf state where elections are banned - as a leading international financial centre.
Lord Hope, who retired as Deputy President of the UK Supreme Court in 2013, will be responsible for presiding over ADGM’s legal framework through ADGM Courts of the First Instance and of Appeal.
Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) has appointed a chief justice to head up the legal structure at the new financial free zone in the UAE capital.
The courts represent one of the three independent authorities within ADGM and will have jurisdiction over civil and commercial disputes on Al Maryah Island, the jurisdiction of ADGM.
Commenting on the appointment, His Excellency Ahmed Ali Al Sayegh, chairman of ADGM, said: “We are delighted and privileged to have Lord Hope join us as Chief Justice for our courts. Lord Hope is one of the most respected and experienced senior judges in the UK. His appointment is a testament to our resolve and commitment to delivering a truly world class international financial centre. Lord Hope will be instrumental in ensuring that our member institutions will be fully supported by ADGM’s robust and reliable international legal system when we become fully operational later this year.”
Lord Hope responded: “It is a very real personal honour for me to have been appointed to lead the setting up of Abu Dhabi Global Market Courts as their Chief Justice. Our aim is to establish an independent and first class judicial system, equipped with world class judges of unrivalled experience and integrity, to serve the needs of Abu Dhabi Global Market as a business-friendly and well regulated centre for global commerce.”
He added: “We will be working with the legal community and others locally, regionally and internationally, to ensure that our courts are as up to date, efficient and accessible as possible. We will be guided at all times by the ADGM’s core values of respect, trust, performance and responsibility. I look forward very much to meeting the challenges that lie ahead and making the best use of our opportunities in this exciting new environment.”
According to human rights organizations, the UAE is violating a number of fundamental practices. For example, the UAE does not have democratically-elected institutions and citizens do not have the right to change their government or to form political parties. There are reports of forced disappearances in the UAE, many foreign nationals and Emirati citizens have been abducted by the UAE government and illegally detained in undisclosed locations.In numerous instances, the UAE government has tortured people in custody and has denied their citizens the right to a speedy trial and access to counsel during official investigations.
Flogging and stoning are legal forms of judicial punishment in the UAE due to Sharia courts. The government restricts freedom of speech and freedom of the press, and the local media is censored in order to avoid criticizing the government, government officials or royal families. Freedom of association and freedom of religion are also curtailed.
Despite being elected to the UN Council, the UAE has not signed most international human-rights and labor-rights treaties, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, and the Convention against Torture. Journalists from overseas frequently record and document human rights abuses that occur within the UAE.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) continued in 2014 to arbitrarily detain individuals it perceives as posing a threat to national security, and its security forces continued to face allegations that they torture detainees in pretrial detention. UAE courts invoked repressive laws to prosecute government critics, and a new counterterrorism law poses a further threat to government critics and rights activists. Migrant construction workers on one of the country’s most high-profile projects continued to face serious exploitation, and female domestic workers were still excluded from regulations that apply to workers in other sectors.
Arbitrary Detention, Torture and Fair Trial in the land of new Global Market Court:
In January 2014, 20 Egyptians and 10 Emiratis received five-year jail sentences on charges that they set up a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood in the country. They alleged that UAE authorities subjected them to torture in detention and denied them access to legal assistance for many months.
In August, authorities detained 10 Libyan businessmen, at least 2 of whom forcibly disappeared. In September, UAE authorities detained six Emiratis with suspected links to local Islamist groups. At time of writing, authorities have not charged any of the men, and their whereabouts remain unknown.
Two British nationals alleged that they endured torture in pretrial detention. Hasnan Ali, whom a court acquitted of drug charges in April 2014, alleged that police in Dubai beat and threatened to shoot and sexually assault him. Ahmed Zeidan, who received a nine-year sentence for drug possession in May 2014, alleged that police in Dubai held him in solitary confinement for eight days and threatened him with sexual assault. Both men claim they signed legal statements in Arabic, a language neither can read.
In February 2014, the UN special rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers criticized the lack of judicial independence in the UAE, arguing that the executive branch exerts de facto control over the judiciary. She also expressed concern over reports of the use of secret detention facilities and the ill-treatment and torture of individuals held in incommunicado detention.