The absence of law, dependence of judiciary, and the feebleness of religious restraint are the main reasons behind the widespread phenomenon of revenge killings which claim thousands in Yemen, said participants at a popular gathering on the issue. The judiciary is not independent because of intervention from the executive and threats and extortion against the judges, according to a study on revenge discussed in the weekly forum held at the home of Shaikh Abdullah Al Ahmar, the most influential tribal chief, parliament speaker, and chairman of the largest Islamic opposition party (Islah). The study showed that the dominance of poor customs and traditions leads to the feebleness of religious restraints, causing people to ignore doctrines which call for fairness and justice. Al Ahmar invites to his weekly forum tribal shaikhs, religious leaders, politicians from across the political spectrum, civil society representatives, journalists and academicians. "The reason why the judiciary is corrupt is that those administrating it are members of the executive power," Dr Abdul Malek Al Mutawakel, who attended the form, said. "All of us complain about the corruption of the judiciary ... all of us complain, but I don't know why the reform of the judiciary is not taken seriously." Abdul Hakeem Al Usair said: "We must confess that we are passing through a real constitutional crisis as long as we speak about a state of law and order while we don't have an independent judiciary." Yahya Al Shamee, another participant at the forum, said: "The state wants to maintain security without the rule of law and this is wrong. Today's revenge killings are not only to retaliate, but also because of very trivial things ... and these happen because there's no proper law." Abdullah Al Maktari, who was a participant, said: "We want the state to give 50 per cent of the resources allocated for combating terrorism for combating ven-geance." Although the government formed a committee made up senior officials and tribal and religious leaders to tackle the issue, nothing has been achieved since the committee was formed two years ago. "The committee has not achieved anything until now, it does not pay any attention to the civil society organisations that can coordinate with it," chairman of Dar Al Salam organisation for combating revenge, Abdul Rahman Al Marwani, told Gulf News. "The members of the committee are extremely busy with their own business, they have no time for revenge issues ... There is absolutely no seriousness in dealing with these issues," said Al Marwani.