First visit to China by Saudi justice minister boosts legal ties

Saudi Justice Minister Walid Al-Samaani, center, speaks during a meeting with Zhang Jun, the Chinese justice minister, left, in Beijing on Tuesday. (SPA)
Updated 10 January 2018

First visit to China by Saudi justice minister boosts legal ties

JEDDAH: Zhang Jun, the Chinese justice minister, received on Tuesday in Beijing his counterpart Walid Al-Samaani, chairman of the Supreme Judicial Council — the first visit by a Saudi justice minister to China.
The meeting, in the presence of Turki Al-Madhi, the Saudi ambassador to China, was the start of a visit to develop relations and judicial cooperation between the two countries.
Jun welcomed the Saudi justice minister and his entourage, and stressed the development witnessed in Saudi Arabia. He praised discussions for the signing of an agreement for judicial cooperation between the two countries and a new era of collaboration.
Al-Samaani noted that China was one of the most popular countries among Saudi investors, and the trade exchange between the two countries was huge. He said that the judicial agreement was important for enhancing security and assurance in commercial transactions, and for exchanging judicial and legal expertise.
Recent visits by King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had encouraged a strategic agreement reviving the ancient Silk Road, a symbol of trade between China and the Arabian Peninsula through the ages. This intersected with Vision 2030, which aims to use the Kingdom’s strategic location for economic development and prosperity.
Al-Samaani presented an overview of the Saudi justice system and guarantees complying with internationally recognized fair trial standards.
He explained that adjudication of trade disputes had two tracks. The first track was settlement through the commercial judiciary represented by the Specialized Commercial Court, which was recently assigned in line with the Kingdom’s steps toward improving and expediting the commercial justice system to conform to Vision 2030 projects.
The second track was settlement through commercial arbitration, as the Kingdom had recently established the Saudi Center for Commercial Arbitration, which would enable swift dispute settlement and procedural flexibility and effectiveness.
Al-Samaani said that commercial judicial work was governed by many laws characterized by flexibility, efficiency and constant refining due to the speed and development required in commercial cases since time was important for traders.
“Regarding the enforcement of rulings, the Kingdom has established special courts to enforce various judicial rulings, commercial papers and documents recognized as execution writs under the enforcement code and its executive regulations,” he said. “These courts guarantee swift enforcement and restoration of rights via several methods they are empowered to adopt.”

Saudi films soar at Golden Falcon film awards

Updated 19 April 2018

Saudi films soar at Golden Falcon film awards

  • Winners of first Golden Falcon award will travel to the Netherlands to study filmmaking techniques
  • Film screenings have been revived in KSA as part of wide-ranging social and economic reforms encouraged by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman 

RIYADH: Saudi films have won awards at an international film festival organized by the Netherlands to coincide with the return of cinema to the Kingdom.

The first Golden Falcon Film Festival awards drew Saudi actors, filmmakers and cinema-lovers to the Netherlands embassy in Riyadh on Wednesday.

More than 30 shortlisted Saudi films were shown at the maiden festival on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Nine films were nominated, with three each in the best film, best script and best director categories. Overall winners were chosen by an international jury headed by Dutch filmmaker Hans Treffers.

Best movie award went to “Mazban.” The other two films nominated in the category were “Tongue” and “Building 20.”

“The Poetess,” “Matour” and “Atoor” were nominated in the best director category with “Atoor” bagging the award.

“Departures,” “Atoor” and “The Remaining” were nominated in the best script category with “Departures” winning the award.

Besides the Golden Falcon trophy, the winners will travel to the Netherlands to study filmmaking techniques.

Joost Reintjes, the Netherlands ambassador in Riyadh, told Arab News: “We are proud to organize the first Golden Falcon Film Festival here to promote filmmaking in the Kingdom and provide a platform for young Saudi filmmakers to show what they have to offer.”

Film screenings — banned in Saudi Arabia in the 1980s following religious changes in the Kingdom — have been revived as part of wide-ranging social and economic reforms encouraged by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. 

The return of cinema was heralded with a film screening on Wednesday at a newly built theater at the King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD) in Riyadh. 

Commenting on the lifting of the 35-year ban, Reintjes told Arab News: “That’s Vision 2030 — it is good sign to diversify and develop.

“Although the cinemas in the Kingdom have only been restarted now, Saudi filmmaking has already made a name for itself on the world stage.

“The Saudi film industry will grow very fast. The level of talent is high,” he said.

Mohammed Al-Qass, lead actor from “Departure,” said: “We have been working for this day for years. 

“Saudis with a thirst for cinema were traveling outside the country — now they can enjoy and share the experience in their homeland.” 

Mohammed Khawajah, a Saudi filmmaker and adviser for the film festival, told Arab News: “The idea for this festival came last year when the lifting of the cinema ban was being discussed.

“The Netherlands embassy had this idea about nine months ago; we sat together and planned the whole festival, which was carried out successfully, with hundreds of people enjoying Saudi films.

“We will improve with our next festival, which will have more fun and entertainment,” he said.