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Illegally dismissed justices, judges asked to reapply

Author: Obaj Okuj | Published: Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Symbol of Justice.

The Minister of Justice has told the judges and justices who were dismissed in 2017 to reapply for the jobs with the judiciary.

The announcement comes after President Salva Kiir gave a directive to reinstate those who were relieved.

Three years ago, President Kiir dismissed the 13 judges and justices through a presidential decree when they laid down their tools demanding resignation of Chief Justice Chan Reec.

They accused the Chief Justice of failing to resolve their demands for allowances and better working conditions.

The justices and judges insisted that they would not resume work until their demands were met.

As a result, the President fired them after receiving a report from an investigation committee led by the then Minister of Justice, Paulino Wanawilla.

However, a justice of the Court of Appeal challenged the decision at the East African Court of Justice.

Justice Malek Mathiang Malek argued that the dismissal was undertaken without following disciplinary measures required under the Judicial Service Council Act, 2008.

He maintained that the President has no powers to remove judges until a Judicial Service Council decides on such matters.

In July, the East African Court of Justice ruled that President Salva Kiir violated South Sudan’s Constitution and the East African Community Treaty when he dismissed judiciary staffs.

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

In a short statement seen by Eye Radio, the Minister of Justice called on the dismissed justices and judges to apply to the judiciary and the Judicial Service Commission for reinstatement into their previous positions.

“[This is] based on the directives from the office of his excellency, the president, on the ruling on the application filed by Justice Malek Mathiang, before the East African Court of Justice, and in the matter of implementation of that ruling,” Minister Ruben Madol stated on Tuesday.

“Wrong decision”

In response, Justice Mathiang, who petitioned the East African Court of Justice, said those dismissed are not supposed to reapply.

He told Eye Radio on Wednesday that the call for reapplication “is wrong”, saying they should be reinstated as their sacking was illegal.

“The decision is wrong. The correct decision is that, those justices should automatically be reinstated. Reinstating does not need application,” he argued.

“Application means two things: acceptance or rejection that is the meaning of application, but reinstatement is for them to get the list. They know the list and it is with them.”

Independent lawyers have often accused the executive in South Sudan of interfering with the independence of the Judiciary which has hurt the administration of Justice.

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