Employment, News

Dep CJ threatens striking judges with “administrative actions”

The Deputy Chief Justice, John Gatwech, has warned the striking justices and judges to return to work immediately

or face “administrative actions”.

The warning comes a day after President Salva Kiir dismissed 13 justices and judges who allegedly spearheaded the strike for better working conditions and pay rise.

The justices and judges said they would not return to work until the President sacks the Chief Justice, Chan Reech Madut, who they accused of failing to resolve their grievances.

But he said the striking legal practitioners “have now crippled the country”. “We need justice to be administered,” Justice Gatwech told Eye Radio Thursday evening.

“We are not threatening them but we are advising them that, if they continue, we will take administrative actions against [them],” he warned.

“What we need is that everybody comes back to work, and we are going see that the demands which are reasonable are met.”

The call to resume work does not apply to those who were relieved through the Presidential decree on Wednesday.

Justice Gatwech has also called on the sacked judges and justices to hand over all office items to the judiciary. He said they will be paid their salaries for April.

One of the judges who spoke to Eye Radio yesterday confirmed the sackings, saying they had resolved not to speak to the media about the matter.

In the early days of the strike, the President formed a committee headed by the Minister of Justice, Paulino Wanawila to investigate the grievances.

By then, the Minister of Information, Michael Makuei Lueth, who is a member of the committee, said the President wanted the judges and justices to give him more time to resolve their grievances.

Last month, the committee said it had submitted its report to the President, but it did not discuss its findings and recommendations.

In a statement issued this morning, in response to the sackings, the civil society group, Screen of Rights, said the decision “is a clear violation against and a creation of constitutional crisis in jeopardy with the Independence of the Judiciary”.

“No disregard to the president, but it is very unfortunate that professionals looking only for a better environment for delivery of justice are sacked in a vacuum of legislation and the supreme law of the land, a reminder of recalling our long and heroic struggle for justice, freedom, equality, and dignity in South Sudan is seemingly compromised,” said Reech Malual, Executive Director.

Article 124 of the constitution stipulates that the Judiciary shall be independent of the executive and the legislature.

Below is a list of some of the sacked judges and justices:

1. Justice Khalid Mohammed Abdallah
2. Justice Malek Mathiang Malek
3. Justice Geri Raimando Legge
4. Justice George Angier Ring
5. Justice Charles Abyei
6. Judge Nyok Monyrach Akuei
7. Judge Awour Moyak Deng
8. Judge Thou Andrew Makur
9. Judge Geri Leon Laku
10. Judge David Oriko Kat
11. Judge George Philip Laku
12. Judge Maker Thon Kiir
13. Judge Bullen Isaiah Kulang
14. Judge Paulino Dak Wayo