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Judges dismissal not procedural, says S. Sudanese lawyer Jada

A South Sudanese lawyer has urged President Salva Kiir to revoke the decree he issued for the dismissal of judges and justices in July this year and reinstate all those dismissed.

South Sudanese judges and justices have been on a longtime strike, the first in the history of the young nation due to unpaid wages and what they called lack of improved working condition.

They also demanded for the removal of the Chief Justice Chan Rech Madut whom they said was impeding the work of the judiciary.

Following their continued strikes, President Salva Kiir issued a decree dismissing twelve of the striking judges including the former chairperson of the justices and judges committee.

A new committee was constituted and Justice Bol Lul Wang was elected its chairman. He promised to continue with the strike until their demands were met, including the reinstatement of their colleagues who were sacked.

However, early this month the striking judges called off their strike saying it was their voluntary decision to resume work. The judges and justices said they were placing the matter in the hands of the authorities to resolve them.

In an interview with Juba Monitor, Wani Santino Jada said the presidential decree for dismissal of judges and justices was according to his statement “unprocedural” and was “interference” into the work of the judiciary which he said is supposed to be “independent.”

“The presidential decree was something like a mockery to rule of law and imprudent. The president should resolve the issues of the judges and justices immediately, going for work with empty stock, couldn’t afford to pay medical bill and requiring one to go for work months without payment is a modern slavery,” Wani said.

Jada defended the judges and the Justices and called for reforms saying calling for reforms in the Judiciary is a “marvelous” and a “brilliant idea” that every nation on earth should uphold as a sign of respect for the rule of law.

He said the decree inhibited the work of the Judiciary, in the sense that it encourages corruption. “The continuing few judges and justices will compromise the outcome of their work in favour of a party that has money. Therefore, it’s a setback to the rule of law that says ‘everyone is equal before the law’ of the land,” Mr. Jada added.

He argued from legal point of view saying that article 19 (4) of the transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan says no one will be detained for more than 24 hours. He further called on the parliament or the President himself to revoke the decree and reinstate all those interested to continue as judges or justices.

“Failure to acknowledge this call, we shall be left with no option but to file a lawsuit against the Government of South Sudan,” Jada cautioned.

Mr. Jada said in accordance with Article 136(1) and (2) of the Transitional Constitution of South Sudan and the provisions of the Judiciary Act, 2008; judicial service council Act 2008 section 7 (d), the dismissal of judges and justice is vested on the recommendation from the Judiciary service Council.

“The President has no authority to dismiss any justices or judges. The dismissal will be with recommendation from the disciplinary board after being heard, the President in accordance with the constitution and the law, but once the judiciary has been established or constituted, the president’s hands are tied,” he explained.

He added that Article 101(c) of the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan, states that the President has the authority to appoint constitutional and judicial post holders, but has no authority or powers to dismiss any of the judges or justices without recommendations from the judicial services commission once the judiciary has been established.

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