- The Seychelles Constitutional Appointments Authority (CAA) is recommending the appointment of a Sri Lankan citizen, Mohan Nitanyit Burhan, as one of the country's new judges. This follows the appointment last week of a Tanzanian magistrate.
Seychelles remains one of the few countries worldwide where the majority of its judges are foreign nationals. The recently appointed Chief Justice is also of Sri Lankan nationality, who took up Seychellois citizenship once in position in Seychelles. The current Attorney General is also from Sri Lanka and he among the many that recently have replaced a long list of Seychellois nationals in the judiciary.
The deepening dependence of foreign judges is frustrating many Seychellois, who claim that the country should be able to recruit more nationals for its judiciary. The Indian Ocean archipelago was said to have had an adequate number of "home grown" local legal practitioners and past chief justices until the Seychelles gained independence from Great Britain in 1976.
However, over the last decade, the number of Seychellois judges has steadily grown smaller, with recruitments being made in other Commonwealth countries with similar legal systems.
While it is argued that not enough legal competence is found on the archipelago, thus necessitating recruitment abroad, critics hold that government avoids recruiting competent nationals. Critics in particular noted that, while Mr Burhan of Sri Lanka was recommended as new judge, at the same time Seychellois national Nicole Tirant-Gherardi saw her application for a position as a Seychelles judge being turned down.
The many appointments of foreign nationals with limited knowledge of the Seychelles legal practice has created concerns the country's judiciary may become remote from local culture and traditions. Also, concerns are raised that the new appointees will prove too dependent on government, contrasting more independently thinking Seychellois candidates.
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