The National Minister of Information has raised concerns about a trend in which South Sudanese are bypassing the national justice system and opting to settle legal cases in the East Africa Court of Justice.
Michael Makuei said several cases from South Sudan are being tried in the EAC tribunal without the knowledge of the country’s judiciary.
“These days, we have several cases being handled by the East Africa Community without passing through our courts,” he told the Judicial Reform Committee, who had invited him to give his insight on the lawmaking process.
The government spokesperson calls for a special consideration into the situation, which he says undermines the powers of EAC member states in discharging their judicial duties.
“This is one of the major issues we need to harmonize between the judiciary and other regional and international courts. We need to know what this is. Because there were several cases that were ruled by the East African court without passing by the South Sudan judiciary.”
Makuei called for better working relations with the East African Court of Justice to enable member states to exercise their duties effectively.
In recent years, a number of South Sudanese have opted to have their legal disputes settled in the regional court in what analysts perceive as a distrust in the country’s judiciary system.
In 2020, the East African Court of Justice ruled against what it called unconstitutional government action to dismiss 14 members of the judiciary in 2017, after the judges sued the government.
Also in July 2022, some religious leaders sued the national government at the East African Court of Justice for confiscating church land.
In July 2023, South Sudan Member of Parliament, Juol Nhomngek, took legal action against the assembly at the EAC Court after being suspended and denied access to the house premises.
The East African Court of Justice was established in November 2001 in Arusha Tanzania, to ensure the adherence to law in compliance with the EAC Treaty.
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