Opinion

Committee should quickly resolve judges’ strike

Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) are demanding a public statement from the committee tasked by President Kiir early this month to resolve the strike of the judges and justices in the country.

Speaking to Juba Monitor on phone yesterday, the Executive Director of Foundation for Democracy and Accountable Governance (FODAG) Jame David Kolok said the requirements of the judges are pertinent to effective justice in the judiciary.

The Judges and Justices of South Sudan reiterated their open strike in the country in a letter seen by Juba Monitor demanding provision of cars to enable the movement of judges to resolve cases, stationery, identity cards for judges and other judiciary staff, increment of salaries for judges as directed by the Council of Ministers resolution No.14/2016 on 03rd February, 2016 among other demands.

Kolok said if the grievances of the judges and justices are not resolved, it would compromise the justice system of the country.

“We believe that these are fundamental issues that need to be addressed because if you don’t address them, then judges can easily be compromised,” he said.

“The judiciary is the last place for us to encourage corruption, for us to encourage compromise and for us to encourage miscarriage of justice,” Kolok stressed. “So it is very important that these judges are given the necessary facilities for their work,” he added.

He appealed to the committee tasked to resolve the grievances of the judges and justices to expedite its work as there are hundreds of cases pending court hearing in the country.

“Right now, there are hundreds of cases that are put on halt because the judges are not there. There are people looking for their land titles to be finalized and those looking for contracts not only in Juba but also across the country. These are things that are very serious that should be addressed as soon as possible,” he said.

He said the long strike of the judges and justices would deprive the rights of prisoners to fair trial and court hearing in the country.

He added that delay of justice might result in people taking the law into their hands.

“The absence of the Judiciary functioning as an institution of justice would promote people committing crimes with impunity in the country,” he said. “I think we are providing a platform for impunity. We are giving opportunity for people to do things because they think there is no strong arm following them,” the Executive Director of FODAG said.

He said the long strike of the judges and justices has crippled the Judiciary as the third arm of the government which according to him means it is now functioning without one of its arms.

“So as civil society organizations we are wondering how this government is operating without one of its arms functioning,” he wondered.

On his part, the Executive Director of Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO) Edmund Yakani said appealed to the committee tasked to resolve the demands of the judges and justices to resolve the matter immediately to avoid some offended people to take the law into their own hands.

“As you know most South Sudanese are easily angered, for example if there is any rape issue somewhere that is not attended to immediately, some people may be compelled to take the law into their own  hands and that will be very dangerous,” he said.

By Sworo Charles Elisha

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