[JURIST] The parliament of Afghanistan [JURIST news archive; official website] on Monday confirmed Abdul Salam Hazami as chief justice of the Afghan Supreme Court [Wikipedia backgrounder] after rejecting an earlier nominee put forward by President Hamid Karzai [BBC profile]. Hazami's new nomination was approved by a vote of 158-16, with five abstentions. Hazami, who graduated from Kabul University and Al-Azhar University in Egypt, left Afghanistan after the Soviet Union invasion in 1979. He did postgraduate work in the US and returned to Afghanistan after US-led forces ousted the Taliban from power in late 2001. Hazami told AP in an interview he would fight judicial corruption and protect judicial independence.
Karzai originally renominated Fazel Hadi Shinwari for the position. Shinwari had served as chief justice since soon after the Taliban fell, but he was rejected by parliament [JURIST report] in May because of concerns about his positions on human rights and freedom of speech. The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) [advocacy website] praised Hazami and other judicial appointees, saying that they "believe in an independent judiciary." AP has more.