Why the Chief Justice Chan Reech Madut must go now!

Posted: June 19, 2017 by PaanLuel Wël in Commentary, Contributing Writers, law, Opinion Articles, Opinion Writers

By Simon Manut Chan, Juba, South Sudan

opinion matters

June 19, 2017 (SSB) — On 20th April 2017, the legal fraternity led by the Justices and Judges Committee of the Judiciary of South Sudan held a dramatic press conference where they issued a press release outlining their grievances to the Government and the public at large.

  1. One of their chief demand topping the list was a called for the immediate resignation of the Chief Justice Chan Reech Madut which will be the subject of this piece of article.
  2. The Justices and Judges Committee joins several other individuals and institutions that have been calling for the Chief Justice to step down as part of the reforms of the judiciary over the years.
  3. Finally Justice Khalid Mohammed Abdalla, Chairperson of the Justices and Judges Committee says “the rationale behind our demands is in order to deliver good services to our people, address the backlog of cases and to strengthen the independence of the Judiciary of the Republic of South Sudan”.
  4. With the above conclusion, Justices and Judges Committee and all the staff of the Judiciary all want to work under a new judiciary that would be well regarded by society and that all South Sudanese should be accountable and equal before the law.

  1. No employee could serve the Judiciary with honesty, commitment and vitality in its current status.
  2. All the judicial workers are completely demoralized because of negative perceptions that had arisen as a result of numerous allegations of continued corruption within the institution of the Judiciary.
  3. The truth of the matter is judiciary can’t be respected as an institution if it refused to be scrutinized. Let The Chief Justice not behave like he is in a secret society by resisting checks and balances as demanded by his colleagues.
  4. Justice Chan Reech Madut had played his part and I believed it is time for him to take a back stage and allow comprehensive reforms in the judiciary.
  5. The people desire a judiciary that is not dented or justifiably perceived negatively by the general populace. And I feel this can only be salvage if the Chief Justice stepped down with out delay.
  6. Judicial reforms, accountability and transparency demanded by his colleagues are a must and the nation can only have meaningful reforms with a new face as head of the judiciary.
  7. There is no further denial that the judiciary is now finished beyond repairs in so far as public perception is concerned and the public thought lowly of it.
  8. The fact of the matter is that, the public views the judiciary as a high-handed or autocratic corrupt institution whose object is self-preservation driven by the Executive arm of the government’s interest.
  9. The Chief Justice was appointed to his current position on 15th August 2011 through Presidential Decree N0.25/2011 by the President of the Republic. His term of office should have expired on 15th August 2015 in accordance with the provisions of the Judiciary Act 2012.
  10. Under his tenure, the morale of lawyers in the country has been severely dented, and the country’s justice system reduced to a kangaroo court.
  11. This stubborn refusal of Chief Justice to quit office gracefully, despite demands by his learned colleagues is dragging the image of South Sudan down the gutter.
  12. His continues present in office during this constitutional crisis has brought the Office of Chief Justice into disrepute.
  13. The Chief Justice has usurped the independence of the Judiciary as stipulated in article 124 of the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan.
  14. The division of powers as outlined in the constitution has been ignored by the Chief Justice in so many instances and this is a reason enough to demand his resignation.
  15. Article 124 (2) of the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan reads “The budget of the Judiciary, after its approval by the National Judicial Service Commission and assent of the President, shall be charged on the consolidated fund and it shall have the financial independence in the management thereof”. One would wonder why the Judiciary should be at the mercy of the Office of the President to ask for donation of things like cars and office space when they have entitlement source of funding as enshrined in the constitution.
  16. Another interesting article of the constitution that deal with all the point raised in the press release of the Justices and Judges Committee stipulate that “The salaries, allowances, privileges, post-service benefits, tenure and other conditions and terms of service of judicial officers or other persons exercising judicial powers shall be regulated by law”. But despite that beautifully crafted line in the constitution, the Chief Justice has become the law himself by refusing to enact necessary legal protection for the judicial officers.
  17. The Chief Justice has also contravene section 132 of the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan that suppose to establish the National Judicial Service commission.
  18. The Chief Justice tactically frustrated efforts to put in place institutions of check and balance in the Judiciary in order to have unfitted access to the president without going through the Judicial Service Commission.
  19. Through his manipulative maneuvering, the Chief Justice contravened section 133 of the Constitution which read, “The President shall, upon the recommendation of the Judicial Service Commission, appoint the Deputy Chief Justice and Justices of the Supreme Court, Justices of the Courts of Appeal and the Judges of the High Courts and County Courts having regard to competence, integrity, credibility and impartiality in accordance with this Constitution and the law”. Instead, he is the one who recommend justices and Judges to the president for appointment and dismissals.
  20. His drinking habit has reached unprecedented proportion and therefore violated article 134 of the constitution which reads, “Justices and Judges may be removed by an order of the President for gross misconduct, incompetence and incapacity and upon the recommendation of the National Judicial Service Commission” and a violation of section 375 of the Penal Code Act 2008”. Since there is no Judicial Service Commission and Chan Reech Madut has made himself to be the institution, this fact can not be ignored as it has reach the legal definition of mental incapacitation for the Chief Justice to still remain in office because his sound mindedness can not be grantees.
  21. There has been too many complains from lawyers, legal practitioners and the general public about the number of years cases take before all courts in the country before being dispose off.
  22. Appeal cases are disposed off after the convicts have served their sentences and are released.
  23. This has resulted into backlog of cases in contravention of the principle that justice delayed is justice denied.
  24. The Chief continuous present in office is a threat to peace, public order and National Security interest of the country since his support with in the institution of the Judiciary is challenged by his learned colleagues at the highest level of the Judiciary (The Supreme Court).
  25. Justices and Judges of the Judiciary are the third arm of the government not Chan Reech Madut alone. It will disable vital services to the people and therefore peace will be at stake.
  26. Financial mismanagement was alleged to be rampant with the Office of the Chief Justice Chan Reech Madut. The argument of the Justices and Judges Committee in their press briefing that they don’t need a penny from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning is in place.
  27. Judiciary is a money generating institution and if those resources are use transparently, all the demands of the Justices and Judges Committee would be met without hindrance.
  28. In conclusion, the Judiciary is the final arbiter of last resort in South Sudan’s justice system.
  29. Any paralysis in the Judiciary must be address in the most critical way with the view of arriving at a long term solution.
  30. It will be inconceivable and counter productive for the President to willfully ignore and deny lawful demand for remedy to the aggrieved Justices and Judges, simply because they dare criticize the institution.
  31. Any heavy handy measures or approach from security organs or any other institution of the government against the judges demanding their fair share would be unconscionable, unreasonable, and a mark of incompetence on the part of the government.
  32. Henceforth, the Honorable Chief Justice Chan Reech Madut MUST step down, SUO MOTU, with immediate effect from his post!!

The author is a concern citizen who live in Juba and can be reach at: smanut.chan@gmail.com

The opinion expressed here is solely the view of the writer. The veracity of any claim made are the responsibility of the author, not PaanLuel Wël: South Sudanese Bloggers (SSB) website. If you want to submit an opinion article or news analysis, please email it to paanluel2011@gmail.com. SSB do reserve the right to edit material before publication. Please include your full name, email address and the country you are writing from.

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