Interview with Afghan’s First Female Supreme Court Judge

Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani has made good on his election promise and appointed Anisa Rassouli to be his country’s first female Supreme Court judge.


Sabtu, 11 Jul 2015 08:00 WIB


Ghayor Waziri

Anisa Rassouli. (Photo: Ghayor Waziri)

Anisa Rassouli. (Photo: Ghayor Waziri)

Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani has made good on his election promise and appointed Anisa Rassouli to be his country’s first female Supreme Court judge.

At 8am Anisa Rassouli arrives at the Supreme Court dress for work. Two guards follow her everywhere she goes.

Her office is being cleared as she enters it.

I ask her if it’s a hard job being the only women on the bench.

“Women are no difference with men the only challenge is that we have to make hard and serious decisions and be careful about implementing the rule of law,” Anisa said.

She says one of her main goals is stamp out corruption in the judicial system.

She also wants to see more female judges and make good judgments in cases of violence against women.

“I can show that not only Afghanistan has educated women but we have female teachers, engineers, judges and doctors. In some neighboring countries their isn’t a female high court judge but in Afghanistan there is. If women are fearful and don’t fight back they will not achieve anything. If women are courageous they can do anything.”

Now 47 years old Anisa Rassouli graduated from the Kabul University in 1986 and began work as a lawyer 23 years ago.

During the civil war and Taliban rule she stopped work and had to move to Pakistan.

“During the civil war and the Taliban period I had to go to Parwan province and leave my job, but in Parwan I fought for women, I established a Girls School that hundreds of girls have now graduated from. Soon after I migrated to Peshawar, Pakistan and I taught in the Ariana high school there for two years,” she said.  

The Ulema Council of Afghanistan has opposed the nomination saying that Islam or Sharia does not allow a woman to occupy the position of a judge.

Members of an influential Islamic panel in Afghanistan have protested against her appointment.

But President Ghani maintains he has religious approval for the appointment.

“I appointed first woman to High Council Member of the Supreme Court, hopefully our sisters and brothers acknowledge her in parliament. A woman coming to the Supreme Court means is not changing all judicial system, I have our Ullema’s,” President said.  

Rassouli has been threatened many times by arm groups.

“They have threatened that they will kill me, they have even said they will do a suicide attack on me, but I never pay attention about threats because I believe in Allah, we came into the world one day and we leave the world one day. I have to live each moment at a time.”

Her appointment needs to be confirmation by the parliament and it’s likely to face opposition from conservative religious lawmakers.

However, the Afghan parliament's own future is in question, since its five-year mandate officially expires next week after elections for new lawmakers, due in April, were delayed indefinitely.


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