Home | News    Tuesday 5 November 2013

Lakes state chief sacked amid dispute over special court

November 4, 2013 (RUMBEK) - The commissioner of Yirol West county in South Sudan’s Lakes state has sacked the area’s long-serving traditional leader on Sunday after a row over the formation of a special court to settle dispute in criminal cases including cattle raiding.

Commissioner Majak Ruei Angong sacked prominent regional court chief Malak Along Malak on Sunday after he objected to the formation of the new special court. Chief Majak accused the county commissioner of forming the special court without the approval of South Sudan’s chief justice, which is required under South Sudan’s interim constitution.

An official from Lakes state’s ministry of local government, law enforcement agency, who requested anonymity, said that chief Malak had served as the regional court president for Apaar, Acook and Buok sections of the Apaak branch of the Atuot people of Yirol West county.

The controversial new special consists of five members, including the chairperson Jokroor Malou and his deputy Makuet Mayor.

The official backed the chief’s claims that the special court is illegal as "all special courts are set up countrywide by South Sudan chief justice and not by commissioner power to set up special court.”

He noted that commissioner Angong accused the chief of opposing the formation of special courts in the Aluak-luak and Geer districts because they would be used to "to try cases of youths fattening", which has been prohibited by the commissioner.

The traditional practice involves groups of young men overfeeding themselves to demonstrate social prestige. One of reasons commissioner Angong gave for banning "fattening" was that it encouraged theft in order to acquire enough food.

In a meeting conducted at Aluak-Luak payam [district] headquarters on Sunday after the commissioner announced Malak’s dismissal, the seven chiefs of Geer and Aluak-luak expressed their disappointment and condemned the decision. They said the commissioner had not followed proper procedures and demanded that chief Malak be reinstated.

The seven chiefs asked that Lakes state’s caretaker military governor Maj-Gen Matur Chut Dhuol remove the commissioner.

Sudan Tribune made several attempts to contact Commissioner Majak for comment on Monday but his phones were not reachable.

However, a close relative of the commissioner told Sudan Tribune that Majak was attending a meeting with the governor but as of Monday evening there has been no public statement about what was discussed.

(ST)