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EA Court faults Kiir for ‘illegal’ dismissal of judges

Author: Jale Richard | Published: Saturday, July 25, 2020

President Salva Kiir speaks at a past function | Credit | Eye Radio

The East African Court of Justice has ruled that President Salva Kiir contravened South Sudan’s Transitional Constitution of 2011, and the East African Community Treaty, when he dismissed 13 judges and justices in 2017.

Kiir sacked the judges and justices through a presidential decree when they laid down their tools demanding the resignation of Chief Justice Chan Reec Madut, whom they said had failed to manage the Judiciary.

After their dismissal, Justice Malek Mathiang Malek, who was a Justice of the Court of Appeal filed a case at the East African Court of Justice, challenging president Kiir’s decision.

Justice Malek claimed such dismissal was undertaken without following disciplinary measures required under the Judicial Service Council Act, 2008.

Further, he argued that the President has no powers to remove Judges, saying his role in the disciplinary process only comes at the stage of enforcement of a penalty and confirmation of a decision by a board of discipline, Judicial Service Council, and the Supreme Court’s President.

Malek also reasoned that the removal of Judges by the President breached the Constitution of South Sudan and the EAC Treaty.

This, he said amounted to an abuse of power and interference with the independence of the Judiciary which has had an adverse effect on the administration of Justice.

After three years, the East African Court of Justice delivered its ruling through a video conference on Friday.

Presided by Justice Monica K Mugenyi, the Court ruled that President Kiir violated the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan when he dismissed the judges.

“The act of the President of the Republic of South Sudan of removing the applicant from the position of Justice of Court of Appeal vide Republican Decree no. 100/2017 for the removal of some judges and justices in the Judiciary of the Republic of South Sudan, dated 12th July 2017, is in violation of the Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan and a violation of articles 6(d) and 7(2) of the Treaty for Establishment of the East African Community,” a copy of the ruling obtained by Eye Radio read.

The Court awarded costs to the complainant to be paid by the government of South Sudan.

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