The Brittle Judiciary of South Sudan and the Fate of the Four Suspected Detainees on Treason Charges

By: David M. Abotmatiop

March 22, 2014 (SSNA) — Following the fighting that erupted on the 15th of December- 2013 in Juba, and continues throughout the 16, 18, 19, 20—- until 2014 up to date, and escalated to Jonglei, Upper Nile and Unity States has almost fractional brought the new Republic of South Sudan to the insignia of a total collapse, an episode the Government of the Republic of South Sudan described as “A failed Coup Attempt by Dr. Riek Machar – Former South Sudan Vice President, and his disgruntled Group that alleged to be the senior members of the SPLM”.

The incident that happened pinched the red-line for the G4 {Cdr. Pagan Amum Okiech – Former SPLM Secretary General, Gen. Oyai Deng Ajak – Former National Security Minister, Gen. Dr. Majak D’ Agoot Atem – Former Deputy Minister of Defence, and Amb. Ezekiel Lul Gatkuoth- Former South Sudan Ambassador to Washington DC} and the other Seven SPLM members who were released on bond by the Government of Kenya, as an appeal by the Kenyan President, H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta to his South Sudanese counterpart President H.E. Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit, based on the request made by the seven released detainees that their safety in Juba was not warranty after the Ministry of Justice categorized the accused coup attempted Politicians into three group, of which the seven SPLM members were put to group B, and the G4 members were put to group A {Charged with Treason}, plus the other three members that the Government termed to be at large {Dr. Riek Machar, Taban Deng Gai and Alfred Lado Gore}.

Based on the Ministry of Justice’s committee report, the G4 were apprehended to face a court trial on the treason charges inflicted against them, thus a special court comprised of five judges was instituted by Justice Moulana Chan Reech – the Chief Justice for the Judiciary of the Republic of South Sudan. The members were ; Moulana James Alala- the Presiding Head Judge, Moulana George Angar, Moulana Bol Lul Wang, and the other two senior judges.

The above Judges are fully gazed by the general public to be the most enormous people with prominent integrity and competency in their long serving professionalism, hence putting a remarkable credential to the leadership of Justice Chan Reech and the entire administration of the Judiciary of South Sudan.

However, this case dole out to be a litmus test for the Brittle Judiciary of South Sudan and the Fate of the four suspected Detainees on Treason Charges, therefore challenging the capacity of the judicial system in South Sudan on how the Special Trial Court is going to execute the ruling either politically motivated or constitutionally based on the sufficient true findings and evidences that fully convinced the court judgments on the legal framework of this Nation. Moreover, there is a great need for the Government to protect the torn-image of South Sudan which had been prophecies for elongated period before the Independent with the intention by the adversary groups and other non-allies that South Sudanese cannot rule themselves due to the following;

I. Lack of Democratic Good Governance
II. Lack of Rule of Law and weak Institutions that implement and executed laws.
III. Poor Diplomatic core and weedy Relations with the World International bodies such as; the UN, USA, EU, and others.
IV. Corruptions and it elements

This is just to mention a few; furthermore, the prevailing trauma among the people and the tribes of South Sudan as a result of the long civil war had continued to fracture down peaceful coexistence and relations of the citizens in this Country. For that reason, making a firm legitimate court ruling on this elevated profile case that involves a Dinka, a Nuer and a Shilluk will certainly be unbreakable benchmark in the history of this country, and will definitely subsist as an innovative beginning for a total change and reforms agenda in the entire Republic of South Sudan. By handling this trial case efficiently within the mandate of the Constitution, it will amend the existing relinquished and vandalized ragged relations with the International community, and will also superimpose discoveries of the new tribe among the citizens, a tribe  called the Republic of South Sudan, a tribe of all inclusivity, a tribe without marks, a tribe without corruptions, a tribe without minority, a tribe without racism, a tribe without regions, a tribe without gender discrimination, a tribe without power abuses, a tribe that we all believed to be our mother and father, a tribe that God gave all of us {The Great Land of South Sudanese}.

While the G4 endured currently in front of the trial, it is always assumed that, a suspect is innocent before the court of law until proven guilty. Unfortunately there are deprived statements coming from the Hon. Minister of Justice, Paulino Wanawilla on the 19th of March 2014 {Gurtong Trust Website} saying that, and I quote, “The 11 suspects including seven released earlier on police bond were to appear in the Supreme Court on Wednesday, but the trial has since been postponed to Thursday. They will face either death punishment {penalty} or 20- years’ imprisonment” said the minister. Citing to this remarks by the learned Honorable Minister of Justice, this is very regrettable statement from the most privilege head of the Country’s Constitution to recklessly announce to the general public on the media his illicit intention of undermining the Roles and the Terms of Reference specified to the established Special Court. This is a premature unconstitutional prediction of the judgments, and this might resulted to panel members being panic without completing their work within the outline of serene atmosphere exclusive of external pressure and fears, this is a strong violation of the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan 2011. Awkwardly, the minister is acting out of mind, he is like an examiner that set the examination, and again leak the answer sheet to the students, if am told this was the concealed target. Nonetheless, the public and the world are by now aware of this intention.

Supplementary to the aforementioned adage by the minister, Part One, 3 {1} of the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan talk about the Supremacy of the Constitution, and I quote, “This Constitution derives its authority from the will of the people and shall be the Supreme Law of the land. It shall have a binding force on all persons, Institutions, Organs and Agencies of Government throughout the Country.” Therefore, the accused G4 suspects charged with treason much be guaranteed fair and equal opportunity before their Constitution, so as to defend themselves in the court of law until later proven innocent or guilty. Any impulsive phraseology upshot and sabotaged the true out-coming of the Special Court Ruling.

Furthermore, according to Part Seven, 125 {1} of the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan, and I quote, “The Judiciary shall be Independent of the Executive and the Legislature”, accordingly, it was an infringement for the minister of Justice to obstructed with the exertion of the Judiciary by alluding to irresponsible avowal.

As the trial case persists to be smooth and proficient, the Government has so far named a shackle of witnesses comprising of more than 13 people, of which most of them are Army and Police Generals, none of these witnesses are civilians. Consequently to the Legitimacy of the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan, Part Ten, 151 {2} talks about the status and duties of the armed forces, and I quote, “The Sudan People’s Liberation Army shall be transformed into the South Sudan Armed forces, and shall be non-partisan, national in character, patriotic, regular, professional, disciplined, productive and subordinate to the civilian authority as established under this Constitution and the Law”. Citing to this clause, it is total out of the law to name a person in uniform to witness a case before the court of law. It is totally without a doubt unlawful to witness a case that you in person investigated.

Nevertheless, the competency that I have personally seen during the second day of the court hearing attributed to the five Judges that are handling the case. I bestow them my high profile respect on their professional background and vast affluent experience.

I end this article by giving all my readers a home work to find out, which Country on this world where a Police investigated a case, and witness the same case? {100 Marks}

The writer is a concern South Sudanese. He can be reached at [email protected].

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