Chief Justice: Five judges assigned to deal with IS, security cases

Arifin said that of the five, four are judges from the criminal division in Kuala Lumpur and one in Sabah to handle such cases at the high courts. — Picture by Choo Choy May
Arifin said that of the five, four are judges from the criminal division in Kuala Lumpur and one in Sabah to handle such cases at the high courts. — Picture by Choo Choy May

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 16 — Five judges have been assigned to hear cases involving the IS militants and security matters, said Chief Justice Tun Arifin Zakaria.

Arifin said they consisted of four judges from the criminal division in Kuala Lumpur and one in Sabah to handle such cases at the high courts.

"It is not any judge, they are trained in a particular area of law as it has certain restrictions, since it involves security. Otherwise security matters will be exposed to the public," he told the media after attending the oath-taking ceremony of 10 Judicial Commissioners at the Palace of Justice here.

He was asked to comment on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak's calls for the setting up of the special court to hear such cases.

"We have dedicated judges to hear IS matters as the government think it is a serious threat to the country. In Sabah, we have one judge who hear security cases for over a year," he said.

Arifin explained that the delay of trials might be because of the huge number of witnesses involved.

Asked whether the court would conduct night proceedings to hear such cases, Arifin said the court could proceed at night but it would involve the security of witnesses.

Meanwhile, Arifin in his speech, advised judges to conduct researches on issues which were disputed in cases in court if they had doubts on the grounds of judgement to be given.

He said this was to ensure that judges could reach a fair and just decision based on the principles of law.

The wisdom, efficiency and skills of judges in understanding legal problems could be stated via the grounds of judgement, he said.

"The practice of the legal system in many countries around the world shows that the indicator to determine the effectiveness and quality of the judiciary in practise is measured by the judgment and court decisions," he said.

Arifin said in the present era of a world without border, the work or judgement of a judge was more opened to criticism whether from academicians, members of the public, journalists or politicians, local and abroad.

He said that at the same time the judge is limited by judicial ethics to defend the judgment being criticised.

Arifin said good criticism would give a positive perception to the judge, bad criticism would result in society looking askance at the judiciary.

"I wish to stress here, so long as the decision is produced in accordance with the law and justice, you need not fear such perceptions. The barometer is your own conscience.If your conscience is clear then you have nothing to fear," he said.

Arifin said a judge is also a normal person who is not free from making mistakes and excellent judges had order or politeness.

He also reminded the judiciary to foster good ties with the media so that the public could get the correct information on cases, responsibility and function of the body.

"Communicate clearly in highlighting legal issues and making decision in every case," he said.

At the oath-taking ceremony, 10 people were appointed as Judicial Commissioners effective today.

They were ex-Federal Court Chief Registrar Datuk Roslan Abu Bakar, 54, Attorney-General's Chamber former Prosecution Division chief Datuk Abdul Wahab Mohamed, 55, and Kuala Lumpur Court former Director Al-Baishah Abd Manan, 56.

Seven others were Sessions Court judges, namely, Datin Siti Mariam Othman, 54, Hassan Abdul Ghani,56, Chan Jit Li, 55, Muhammad Jamil Hussin, 56 and Hayatul Akmal Abdul Aziz, 53, former Deputy Home Minister Datuk Wan Ahmad Farid Wan Salleh, 53, and former lawyer Datuk Mohamad Shariff Abu Samah, 53. — Bernama