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South Sudan High Court retracts directive on cases

December 4, 2017 (JUBA) - The High Court in South Sudan has canceled a previous decision instructing advocates and judges to stop receiving cases effective 1 December, 2017.

The old order, dated 24 November, 2017 had directed courts not to receive civil law suits, criminal cases and other proceedings.

In the order, courts were also directed not to hear any case during the period, which extends from 1 December 2017 to 1 January next year.

The earlier notice was, however, cancelled on 29 November, 2017.

Duoth Kulang Bichiok, a High Court judge in Juba, signed the two directives.

The High Court had earlier instructed courts and advocates to not receive cases. The notification was to commence on 1 December until 1 January 2018.

"The General Public and the advocates are hereby notify that from 1st December, 2017, the courts has directed to not receive cases and will start from 1st January 2018,” read the 23 November, 2017 notice signed by High Court judge in Juba.

The public, in the notice, were also advised not to make petitions of the civil case (suits) and criminal case except remand persons.

The directive does not, however, provide any explanation and no explanatory statement was released by the judiciary to the public.

The notice comes barely two months after the country’s Supreme Court judge, Justice Marino Pitia resigned over “lack of judicial independence”.

Pitia, in a letter to the president, cited lack of independence of judges and justices, security of tenure of the office of the judges and justice, lack of financial independence of the judiciary and poor administration, among others.

According to the judge, independence of the judiciary in the young nation has become a “mockery” and “pasquinade” over the years and faulted the executive for “interfering” in the country’s judicial matters.

(ST)