Muscat: Sultan Qaboos Bin Saeed has reconstituted the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC), making the judicial system in the country independent from the executive branch.

“The recent changes to the Supreme Judicial Council will contribute in making the Omani judicial system more independent and impartial, especially in relationship to any potential interference by the executive branch,” Riyadh Al Beloushi, a legal expert, told Gulf News on Thursday.

The country’s leader issued a Royal Decree on Wednesday reconstituting the SJC with a major change of removing any role by the Justice Minister, who was until now the vice-president of the council and seen as an influence by the executive council on the judiciary.

The council will be chaired by the Sultan and decisions taken by the council in his absence will have to be ratified by the monarch.

Sultan Qaboos also reshuffled the cabinet, inducting three new faces while naming five new ministers. In the third restructuring the Council of Ministers in one year, the Sultan has dropped Hamad Bin Mohammad Al Rashdi, who was information minister for over a decade.

The three new ministers are Ahmad Bin Nasser Bin Hamad Al Mahrazi (tourism), Dr Abdul Munim Bin Saeed Bin Mansour Al Hasni (Information) and Mohammad Bin Sultan Bin Hamoud Al Bu Saidi ( Minister of State and Governor of Dhofar).