March 13, 2013 (JUBA) - A high ranking South Sudanese judge, John Clement Kuc, has resigned, accusing Chief Justice, Chan Reec Madut, of nepotism and the judiciary as a whole of lacking transparency and incompetency.
- South Sudan Chief Justice Chan Reec Madut (hirondelle)
In his resignation letter to President Salva Kiir Mayardit, Kuc said Madut’s leadership lacked clear direction, strategic guidance and policies, resulting into confusion.
He said he was also resigning due to a hostile working environment created by interference with the court by the executive branch of government, which he said hinders the court from operating independently and impartially.
“I want to inform the president and the public through the media that I have resigned. I have submitted a letter of resignation to the president through [the] chief justice. There are a lot of reasons in the letter. One of the reasons is that there has been undue influence and interference with the operation of the court by some elements which is ethnically unacceptable. Some people do not show a respect to judges. They make intentional, malicious, and slanderous statements about judges in order to frustrate their efforts”, Kuc told reporters on Wednesday.
In his letter, Kuc insisted that South Sudan’s Transitional Constitution gives judges clear and well defined authority and power to make rules for the administration of the court’s business, but the environment makes this impossible.
"There are employees with criminal records who are employed and allowed to serve. This creates an environment in which it is difficult to trust courtroom personnel. As a judge, I have no desire to continue in a position where I cannot be trusted to make independent and credible ruling. I do not want to continue in a position where operation of the court is hindered by directives by persons within the executive branch of government using the judiciary as a rubber stamp institution”, he explained.
He said that the people of South Sudan wanted an “independent, competent, trusted and accountable judiciary that administers justice for all” and the core function of the judiciary according to the constitution is the administration of justice through resolving disputes between the individuals and between the states and individuals, interpret the constitution and the laws of South Sudan.
However in the current situation, Kuc said, the "rule of law has been replaced with [the] rule of tyranny".
He expressed thanks and appreciation for period he served the people of South Sudan dating back to when he served in the former rebel controlled areas, during the over two decades of civil war between the north and South which ended with the signing of the 2005 peace accord.
“I am thankful for having had the opportunity to have served this country at the time when my service was greatly valued and showed respect. I know we are in difficult period which I hope will be overcome with patience but it is unacceptable to take advantage of the situation. It is therefore my since hope that these issues will be addressed and corrected so that those who are not qualified to service in their current positions by incompetence or those with criminal records, should not be allowed to continue working in position of trust," he explained.
Kuc added, "Doing so erodes public trust in the judiciary. It is also my desire that whoever is appointed to the position of judge should be allowed to operate independently, without interference from another branch of government.