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Amum’s lawyer says Supreme court ruling “slap” on rule of law


October 31, 2013 (JUBA) – A lawyer representing the ex-secretary general of South Sudan ruling party (SPLM) has said the Supreme Court’s rejection of a petition in a case against the country’s president was the “final slap” on the rule of law and democracy.

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SPLM FDs leader and former SPLM secretary general Pagan Amum (AFP/Getty)

The Supreme Court of South Sudan on Monday rejected a petition filed in the judiciary organ against the president and chairman of SPLM by Pagan Amum, saying the latter has not exhausted all other avenues in search of justice.

But Samuel Dong Luak, one Amum’s lawyers told Sudan Tribune that the court ruling undermined the independence of the judiciary.

“This [Supreme Court] decision undermines the independence of the judiciary is a final slap to the rule of law and democracy in South Sudan [and] this has exposed the judiciary beyond reasonable doubt that is subordinate of the executive”, Luak said from Nairobi, Kenya.


Amum, on 7 August, filed a petition in the Supreme Court, accusing the ruling party chairman, Salva Kiir, of violating the country and party’s constitutions when he suspended him and curtailed his freedom of movement and expression in reaction to his criticisms on how the president was handling national issues.

Kiir also formed a committee under the chairmanship of the former speaker of the national parliament, James Wani Igga, who is currently the new vice-president of the republic, to probe into Amum’s conduct.

Amum criticized the formation of the committee, explaining that the decision on his conduct should have been made institutionally in the party’s political bureau or in the national liberation council in accordance with the party constitution and sought justice in the Supreme Court.

However, after two months of scrutiny, the Supreme Court 28 October, declared its ruling in rejection of Amum’s petition on the ground that "the petitioner hasn’t exhausted all the remedies available to him."

Amum’s defence lawyers, who presented the petition to the Supreme Court in August, said they predicted that the court would rule in favour of the president out of fear, explaining that the behaviour of the court’s president, Chan Reec Madut towards them upon receiving their petition was manifesting.

“The Supreme Court set a very bad precedent by violating the Constitution, because of fear of being dismissed by the executive”, said Luak, citing Article 126(3) of the Transitional Constitution.

According to the Article, “The Supreme Court shall sit in panels of three Justices each on all matters; except that when sitting as a Constitutional Panel it shall consist of not less than nine members of the Supreme Court and be chaired by the Chief Justice,”.


The lawyer, who fled to Nairobi allegedly after threats from unknown people over Amum’s case, said the country was in “danger, if the highest court in the land can act like that”.

“The members of the Supreme Court couldn’t even do some research and understand that any rule or doctrine has some exception, civil rights under the Bill of Rights in the Constitution are upheld, not the Political Parties Act 2012 or the SPLM basic rules,” he said, stressing that the constitution was the mother of all laws.

“How can a citizen who is denied freedom of speech and movement by the president exhaust all remedies available to him?” Luak asked.

Through God, or what, if not the Supreme Court, he added

Meanwhile, Biel Buotros Biel, a lawyer and human rights activists said the Supreme Court, when hearing such a case, sits as a Constitutional Court whose main function is to ensure that constitutional rights of the people are protected.

“The ruling is a clear confirmation of the death of rule of law and Constitutional in South Sudan. First the President acted towards the Amum in a manner being unconstitutional. Pagan is the secretary general of a ruling party SPLM, and not of government,” Biel said.

“With such a ruling, the attack on the Constitution by the head of executive the president has been blessed by the Supreme [Court]. What is that to be exhausted? Has the Supreme Court of South Sudan become African Court on Human and People’s Rights where before a case is referred to, would say, local remedies would be exhausted?” he asked.

Biel, in an email to Sudan Tribune, further said the latest ruling from the Supreme Court showed that both the legislature and judiciary were “toothless” and easily succumbs to pressure from the executive.

“For how long will South Sudan continue to be under [the] rule of man captivity? We still call upon the judiciary to ensure that it renders justice to all without fear or favour. South Sudan was bought through bullet, blood and ballot and cannot be left to be dismantled by a small few in power”, he said from Washington, DC.

“It is in the best interest of the Judiciary to preserve the rights and aspirations of the South Sudanese people, stressed the lawyer.


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  • 1 November 2013 07:02, by Paul Chadrack

    the times of talking are gone,remain action and for how long will south sudanese fear this corrupt kiir government?, action is needed urgently.

    repondre message

    • 1 November 2013 07:08, by Chol A.

      Pagan has to remain hopeless like Dr.R greedy because being ignorant to you leader will led to just that.

      repondre message

  • 1 November 2013 07:12, by Akol Liai Mager

    It was good for Ustaz Pagan Amum to test the impartiality of the country’s law. If I were Amum, I will focus now on my free-politics life, cooperate with any investigation and move on. Because he is still young, own a bank of talent, charisma, ideas, i am sure there will be time that SPLM and South Sudan will need him again.

    repondre message

    • 1 November 2013 07:22, by dude

      It Seemed like the Illitrate President Salva Kiir Mayardit is king everybody ass even those with higher education.
      Those who have masters and PHDs are getting their asses kicked by an Illitrate President. What a country

      repondre message

  • 1 November 2013 07:50, by George Bol

    To be honest, i hate the way CDR Pagan Amum is treated eventually by the government of S. Sudan. Pagan has done a lot of work and services on behalf of S. Sudan but the way he was dismissed is sad. For me, he should be reinstated to his position since he knows how to deal with Khartoum. Rules of law must be respected

    repondre message

    • 1 November 2013 08:23, by Mayom County Boy

      guys do pagan Amun realy respecting goverment of south sudan laws ?
      Am saying like that because there is no good respect
      between Pagan Amun and Mr President .

      repondre message

  • 1 November 2013 09:52, by Marco Bul

    Most of the commentators are still traditional.You have trace where the "disrepect" arised.Pagan is for SERVICES delivery while Kiir is for SELF delivery.Get the differences.What is your take as learnt people,or you think you are??
    Eating in silence is not respect.

    repondre message

  • 1 November 2013 17:39, by Agutthon

    Point of order; for those who are for Pagan reinstatement or just defending him, be reminded that a kingdom against itself cannot stand they must not reconcile with the President. Second, chickens are coming home to roost for Pagan, Kiir and the SPLM, the mother of all confusion.

    repondre message

  • 1 November 2013 20:42, by Mabor

    Amum, It’s very impossible to kick a stone since is not like football, i know u have been misled by Anyaagaaat Riak to lose your leadership like that, patience can pay under our wise leader comrade Salva, he is a man who can understand people more that any leader in this world. anyway if u insist not to apologize to him then u will never get chance to rule this nation.

    repondre message

  • 2 November 2013 09:23, by Rami Tot

    foodlovers are always traitors and liquidators
    who denied theirs comrade who fought with them in front line pagan has been denied already by Kiir, by the way those Dinkas are like Arab they give you job and still they r not ur friend, pls mr louis lobang take note u will not enjoy ur personalty with those criminal urs will be short term if u got little like Pagan. u know y be/se they thnk born 2 r

    repondre message

  • 2 November 2013 19:14, by kimo

    i wrote to pagan amum at the time he was fiercely talking about the ncp an the north in large,i told him that he would be one of the first victims of spla aggression,because his ethnic support is not that strong, and the only popularity he had come from the arrogance he showed in spla disputes with ncp..southerners love to hear their leaders talking harshly with their historical opponents the nort

    repondre message

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