Rule of Law and Justice

The Ombudspersons Office for Transitional Justice was established following the ratification of the Transitional Justice Act (Law No: 28/2020) on 17th December 2020. The establishment of the Ombudspersons Office for Transitional Justice (OTJ) is mandated under section 4A of the Transitional Justice Act, 2020. The OTJ will function as an autonomous legal identity vested with powers to communicate, file a lawsuit or receive court charges under the Transitional Justice Act, 2020.

The key features laid out in the Transitional Justice Act, 2020 include to end the culture of impunity and solidify the rule of law, in order to strengthen overall democratic governance.

The Ombudspersons office for Transitional Justice is mandated to investigate past wrongdoings by state authorities, heads of agencies, or individuals in power, which resulted in human rights violations. Cases eligible for investigation under the Act ran from January 1, 1953 to November 17, 2018. Furthermore, Ombudsperson’s office for Transitional Justice has the power to look into criminal matters in relation to their findings and the cases they investigate. 

Based on the findings of its investigations, the Ombudsperson’s Office for Transitional Justice can seek criminal charges or civil litigation respectively through the Prosecutor General’s office of Maldives and Attorney General’s Office.  Prior to sending the cases for prosecution or litigation, OTJ shall ensure to resolve cases through mediation and other means

Reparation for harm suffered

Adequate, effective and prompt reparation is intended under the Transitional Justice Act 2020, to promote human rights and human dignity by redressing gross violations of human rights by state institutions and heads of agencies or individuals in power. Reparation should be proportional to the gravity of the violations and the harm suffered, the Ombudsperson’s Office for Transitional Justice (OTJ), shall provide reparation to victims for acts which can be attributed to the State and constitute violations of human rights. In cases where an individual in power or state institution is found liable for reparation to a victim, OTJ should facilitate the provision of reparation to the victim or compensation based on the findings of its investigation.   

In accordance with Transitional Justice Act 2020, and taking account of individual circumstances, victims of violations of human rights, should be provided with full and effective reparation, as laid out in Transitional Justice Act, section 39 to 45 which include the following forms;

  1. Restitution,
  2. Compensation
  3. Rehabilitation 
  4. Judicial sanctions against persons liable for the violations
  5. Commemorations and tributes to the victims
  6. Public hearings: Ombudsperson’s Office for Transitional Justice (OTJ), aims to conduct series of public hearings by giving victims a chance to share their story/stories before a public audience, particularly where the hearings are aired on the television or the radio, allowing victims the chance to be heard. OTJ believes that these public hearings would help to engage the public as an audience, encouraging press coverage of the issues over a longer period and stimulating a national discussion about the past. These public hearing will focus on listening to the victims as well as provide a sense of relief in general. 

Truth and Memory

Truth-seeking processes through Ombudspersons Office for Transitional Justice’s (OTJ) investigations assist to investigate past human rights violations from 1953 to 2018. The main activities include collecting statements from victims and witnesses, conducting thematic research, and analysis of violations of human rights, including their causes and consequences, organizing public hearings and other awareness programs, and publishing a final report outlining findings and recommendations. The Ombudspersons office for Transitional Justice seeks to unravel the truth behind allegations of past human rights abuses. Mapping and documenting serious violations of human rights abuses is an important step in realizing the right to the truth. 

Furthermore, the Reparations programs by the Ombudspersons Office for Transitional Justice seek to redress systemic violations of human rights by providing a range of material and symbolic benefits to victims, including, building museums and memorials, through their findings and recommendations

Institutional reforms

The key features laid out in the Transitional Justice Act, 2020 include to end the culture of impunity and solidify the rule of law, in order to strengthen overall democratic governance.

Furthermore, the Act seeks to improve accountability mechanisms, provide a framework for redress and also reparations for victims of human rights violations and abuse of power, by outlining measures to avoid such violations of authority in the future.

The recommendations of the Ombudsperson’s office for Transitional Justice are ultimately intended to advance whatever reforms may be necessary, to change the institutions that allowed or carried out abuses in the past. These recommendations may include legislative, legal reforms. 

Mediation

Engaging with victims and perpetrators is probably one of the most sensitive and complex issues for the development and peace building in relation to the responsibilities of Ombudspersons Office for Transitional Justice.  It starts with identifying certain groups as victims or perpetrators in a highly complex and politicized environment and finding suitable and agreeable compensation packages for the victims of violations of human rights by state institutions and individuals in power.

Victim Support

Victims should be treated with humanity and respect for their dignity and human rights, and appropriate measures should be taken to ensure their safety, physical and psychological well-being and privacy, as well as those of their families. The Ombudsperson’s Office for Transitional Justice ensures that a victim who has suffered violence or trauma related to gross violation of human rights, should benefit from special consideration and care to avoid his or her re-traumatization in the course of legal and administrative procedures designed to provide justice and reparation.