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Courts, Law, Justice, and Criminal Trials in Saudi Arabia

NCJ Number
International Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice Volume: 11 Issue: 1 Dated: (Spring 1987) Pages: 61-67
R H Moore
Date Published
7 pages
Criminal Justice in Saudi Arabia cannot be separated from Islam. The general and particular rules of Islamic corpus juris form the Sharia which is the law.
Crimes fall into three categories: Hudud, Taxir, and Qisas. The courts established in 1928 are divided into three levels -- Ordinary Courts, High Courts of Sharia Law, and Court of Causation or Appeals. The trial courts have one or more judges depending on the seriousness of the offense. They hear cases and sentence offenders. Appeals are limited to the more serious cases. Saudi trial procedure is very informal when compared to that in the West. In some cases, the legal action must be brought by the victim; in others, any person may bring the action. Often it is brought by the police. Legal representation is discouraged. The defendant is expected to defend himself. Some punishments appear to be harsh by Western standards. Lashings and flogging are common. Amputation and death sentences are limited. In considering Saudi criminal justice, one must always keep in mind the relationship of the state of the concept of justice in Islam. The Sharia is not just a code of law but a code of behavior and ethics, a combination of law and morality, one and inseparable. (Publisher abstract)


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