Dec 16, 2009

Judgment Day

The judgment of the Supreme Court predictably provoked a veritable blizzard of media activity. The highest court in the land has declared the NRO null and void and decreed that all cases which were active at the time of the promulgation of the NRO may be reopened at the point at which they were closed. The government has been ordered to inform the Swiss courts that the request to drop the cases against the now-president was unconstitutional and that the cases may stand reopened. The court has also announced that it is setting up a process to monitor criminal cases affected by their judgment. The judgment may have been late but it is a worthy one. Constitutionally, some lawyers had argued, no criminal case could be instituted against the president, but today he must be looking over his shoulder and eyeing his foreign investment portfolio – not to mention future options as a place of domicile.

The judgment is truly a landmark. The SC has rid the nation of an ignominy that had tried its soul for long. The ordinance that it has set aside was never a law; for it to be a law, this country would have to be without any sense of decency, morality and character. We can proudly proclaim today that this is not the case, that for all the rampant corruption that has wreaked havoc on almost all aspects of social and political life in this country, we are morally alive. The judgment will open the gates of opportunity – a chance for accountability to finally strike at the very heart of the political and bureaucratic establishment. There is a chance that we may finally be beginning to repair the battered fabric of the body politic, to cleanse the corridors of power. It will not be quick or pretty and there will be casualties along the way. The Supreme Court has done much to restore the dignity of the judiciary and we expect the reaction by the general public to this landmark decision to be nothing other than positive. There will of course be those who are less than delighted with the decision, as well as those for whom the decision is a shot across the bows, a warning that the future is going to be a little different for those who traduce the offices of state. We the people hold our heads a little higher today – and anticipate a rolling of a few of those heads for whom it is long overdue.

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