The East African Court of Justice has ordered South Sudanese President Salva Kiir to reinstate the appellate justices he sacked three years ago, saying the dismissal violated the country’s supreme law.
Thirteen judges of the Court of Appeal were fired on July 12, 2017 but the court said the President lacked powers to remove them without due process.
Presiding Judge Monica Mugenyi noted thatPresident Kiir’s 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.
“The act of the President … 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,” she said.
The court further said Mr Kiir violated the Transitional Constitution.
It awarded costs to the complainant to be paid by the government of South Sudan.
President Kiir dismissed the judges 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, of the Court of Appeal, filed a case at the East African Court of Justice, challenging the President’s decision.
Justice Malek claimed the dismissal was undertaken without following disciplinary measures required under the Judicial Service Council Act, 2008.
He also cited breach of South Sudan’s Constitution and the EAC Treaty.
This, he said, amounted to abuse of power and interference with the independence of the Judiciary, hence an adverse effect on the administration of justice.