30th September 2023
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MP Mathok violated the constitution – says law professor

Author: Obaj Okuj | Published: Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Dr. Geri Raimondo, the former Justice of the Court of Appeal and assistance Professor at University of Juba - Courtesy

A law professional and former judge has condemned parliamentarian Salva Mathok for burning a place of worship in Warrap State.

Dr. Geri Raimondo, the former Justice of the Court of Appeal, and the assistant law professor at the University of Juba said lawmaker Mathok violated the constitution and the rule of law.

“A lawmaker who is putting a law into his hand means he has violated our constitution because he is the one who makes the laws, the constitutional and up to normal one,” Raimondo said.

Citing the Panel Code Act 2008, Dr. Geri Raimondo says Salva Mathok’s action amounts to what he calls a mischief.

“And therefore, burning of a church is a crime, number one is trespass like under section 229 of the Panel Court Act 2008 laws of South Sudan, and also burning is considered to be mischief and mischief is provided in section 315 of our Panel Court Act 2008, and 329 under the title house-trespass.”

“This is a serious case, and if you allowed any person to burn the church, now people will burn any church according to his own will and this is not good.”

“It’s not a matter of according to your own mean and desire if you are aggrieved somebody encroaches into your right to the court of law, or the public prosecutor or the police these are all the avenues not just to use your own.”

According to the interim constitution, no criminal proceedings shall be initiated against a member of the National Legislative Assembly or the Council of States.

It adds if a lawmaker is caught committing an offense, the police may arrest them without a warrant.

The interim constitution also stipulates that in case a member is charged with a serious crime, the appropriate house may waive the immunity of the member concerned.

Dr. Geri Raimondo says the matter is a serious offense that is punishable in the court of justice.

On Sunday a religious leader affiliated with the church denomination said unknown firebugs set the house of worship ablaze on October 28.

The following day, Salva Mathok, a member of the national parliament admitted that he burnt down the Seven-Days Adventist church in Gogrial East County, Warrap State.

In a similar reaction, the Executive Director of the Center for Peace and Advocacy, Ter Manyang Gatwech, condemned lawmaker Salva Mathok for “taking law into his own hands” rather than opting for dialogue or a legal process.


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