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South Sudan: Independence and impartiality; Judicial integrity and accountability

Judicial independence is founded on public trust and, to maintain that trust, judges must uphold the highest standards of independence, impartiality and integrity, and must be accountable to those standards.

The guarantee of judicial decisions by independent tribunals means that judges must be free to “decide matters before them impartially, on the basis of the facts and in accordance with the law, without any restrictions, improper influences, inducements, pressures, threats or interferences, direct or indirect, from any quarter or for any reason”.[1] Thus, both state actors and non-state actors alike must respect the independence of the judiciary and refrain from action aimed at improperly influencing members of the judiciary, undermining their independence and impartiality. While respecting the hierarchy between the courts of first instance and higher courts international standards clarify that other judges, must also respect the independence of their colleagues within the scope of the exercise of judicial functions: “No one must give or attempt to give the judge orders or instructions of any kind, that may influence the judicial decisions of the judge, except, where applicable, the opinion in a particular case given on appeal by the higher courts.”[2]

In the course of the exercise of judicial functions, judges must be impartial, and be seen to be impartial. Judges “must not allow their judgment to be influenced by personal bias or prejudice, nor harbour preconceptions about the particular case before them, nor act in ways that improperly promote the interests of one of the parties to the detriment of the other.” Further, even where an individual judge might arguably in fact be able to ignore a personal relationship to one of the parties to a case, he or she should step aside from the case to protect against an apprehension of bias: “the tribunal must also appear to a reasonable observer to be impartial.”[3]

Judges must also ensure that their conduct is above reproach in the view of a reasonable observer. They must avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all their activities. Their behaviour must reinforce the people’s confidence in the integrity of the judiciary.[4]

A judicial code of conduct, drafted primarily by judges and members of the legal profession and consistent with international standards,[5] can help to safeguard judicial integrity and protect against conflicts of interest.[6] Pursuant to international standards, such a judicial code of conduct, which should be enshrined in the law, should serve as the basis for the determination of cases of alleged judicial misconduct within a fair disciplinary system.[7]

Complaints about judicial misconduct must be processed expeditiously and fairly under an appropriate procedure that is subject to independent review.[8] The judge in question has the right to a fair hearing[9] before an independent and impartial body. The body responsible for discipline of judges should be independent of the executive,[10] plural and composed mainly (if not solely) of judges and members of the legal profession.[11] The judge’s rights to a fair proceeding, including to notice of the accusations against him or her, to adequate time and facilities to prepare and present a defence including through counsel,[12] to challenge the evidence against him or her and present witnesses must be respected.Decisions must be based on established standards of judicial conduct, and sanctions must be proportionate. Decisions to suspend or remove a judge must be limited to cases in which the incapacity or behaviour of a judge renders the individual unfit to discharge his or her judicial duties. Decisions and sanctions in disciplinary proceedings should be subject to independent judicial review (although this may not apply to decisions of the highest court or the legislature in impeachment proceedings).[13]

In order to safeguard the independence of the judiciary, individual judges should also enjoy personal immunity from civil suits for monetary damages for improper acts or omissions in the exercise of their judicial functions.[14]


As set out above, the principle of independence and impartiality of the judiciary are affirmed in the Transitional Constitution,[15] but not yet respected in practice.

The ICJ was informed of a number of incidents of interference and harassment involving representatives of other State powers, in particular the Executive and the army.[16]

For example, the ICJ was told of an incident in a case that involved a general. Reportedly, once the case had been heard and while the judgment was pending, he was seen parking his vehicle full of armed military personnel outside the courthouse and intermittently knocked on the window of the judge’s office to ask when the judgment would be ready. The judgment was reportedly hurried and went in the general’s favour. From the information available to the ICJ, it appears that such incidents are common.

Judges in South Sudan are prohibited from engaging in trade or associating their office with any other employment or business incompatible with their duties or that could compromise the independence of the judiciary. A judicial code of conduct is to specify such incompatibilities.[17] However, as of December 2013 no such code of judicial ethics existed in the country.

Primary responsibility for the discipline and removal of judges lies with the Chief Justice and the Judicial Service Council.[18] Disciplinary measures can be imposed when a judge “contravenes his or her duty, or the ethics of the profession, or conducts himself or herself in such a way as may degrade his or her judicial position or absents himself or herself from work without permission or acceptable reason, or is convicted in the court of law of any offence or commits an act of insubordination”.[19] The Judiciary Act sets out the procedure and recognizes the right of the judge to be heard and to present a defence, in person or through a lawyer of choice.[20] The Act however does not detail the constitution of the disciplinary body.[21] Disciplinary proceedings can lead to the imposition of one of five penalties by the Board of Discipline, ranging from a warning to dismissal.[22] The decision of the Board of Discipline may be confirmed by the Judicial Service Council in respect of Justices of the Supreme Court and of the Court of Appeal, and by the President of the Supreme Court for other judges. The JSC may, upon the recommendation of the President of the Supreme Court, on its own motion or upon the request of the judge who has been disciplined, dismiss, amend or confirm the findings of the Board of Discipline. This decision is final.[23]

A judge or justice can also be removed in case of gross misconduct, incompetence or incapacity, for which the President must approve a specific request from the Chief Justice.[24] The law is silent on the issues of complaints levied against the Chief Justice, creating the possibility of a constitutional crisis, should this situation arise.

On the basis of information available to the ICJ, it seems that as of September 2013 no South Sudanese judge had been disciplined or removed through these procedures.  Under those circumstances, it is difficult to assess their compliance with international standards.

 

 

 

Footnotes    (↵ returns to text)

  1. 1. UN Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary, Principle 2;

    The judiciary shall decide matters before them impartially, on the basis of facts and in accordance with the law, without any restrictions, improper influences, inducements, pressures, threats or interferences, direct or indirect, from any quarter or for any reason.

     Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Fair Trial and Legal Assistance in Africa, Adopted by the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, Article A.5(a).

    A judicial body shall base its decision only on objective evidence, arguments and facts
    presented before it. Judicial officers shall decide matters before them without any
    restrictions, improper influence, inducements, pressure, threats or interference, direct or
    indirect, from any quarter or for any reason.

    See UN Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary, Principles 1-7,

    1. The independence of the judiciary shall be guaranteed by the State and enshrined in the Constitution or the law of the country. It is the duty of all governmental and other institutions to respect and observe the independence of the judiciary.

    2. The judiciary shall decide matters before them impartially, on the basis of facts and in accordance with the law, without any restrictions, improper influences, inducements, pressures, threats or interferences, direct or indirect, from any quarter or for any reason.

    3. The judiciary shall have jurisdiction over all issues of a judicial nature and shall have exclusive authority to decide whether an issue submitted for its decision is within its competence as defined by law.

    4. There shall not be any inappropriate or unwarranted interference with the judicial process, nor shall judicial decisions by the courts be subject to revision. This principle is without prejudice to judicial review or to mitigation or commutation by competent authorities of sentences imposed by the judiciary, in accordance with the law.

    5. Everyone shall have the right to be tried by ordinary courts or tribunals using established legal procedures. Tribunals that do not use the duly established procedures of the legal process shall not be created to displace the jurisdiction belonging to the ordinary courts or judicial tribunals.

    6. The principle of the independence of the judiciary entitles and requires the judiciary to ensure that judicial proceedings are conducted fairly and that the rights of the parties are respected.

    7. It is the duty of each Member State to provide adequate resources to enable the judiciary to properly perform its functions.

     Draft Universal Declaration on the Independence of Justice (also known as the Singhvi Declaration), Articles 2-8;

    2. Judges individually shall be free, and it shall be their duty, to decide matters before them impartially in accordance with their assessment of the facts and their understanding of law without any restrictions, influences, inducements, pressures, threats or interferences, direct or indirect, from any quarter or for any reason.

    3. In the decision-making process, judges shall be independent vis à-vis their judicial colleagues and superiors. Any hierarchical organization of the judiciary and any difference in grade or rank shall, in no way, interfere with the right of the judge to pronounce his judgment freely. Judges, on their part, individually and collectively, shall exercise their functions with full responsibility of the discipline of law in their legal system.

    4. The Judiciary shall be independent of the Executive and Legislature.

    5. (a) The judiciary shall have jurisdiction, directly or by way of review, over all issues of a judicial nature, including issues of its own jurisdiction and competence.

    (b) No ad hoc tribunals shall be established to displace jurisdiction properly vested in the courts.

    (c) Everyone shall have the right to be tried with all due expedition and without undue delay by the ordinary courts or judicial tribunals under law subject to review by the courts.

    (d) Some derogations may be permitted in times of grave public emergency which threatens the life of the nation but only under conditions prescribed by law, only to the extent strictly consistent with internationally recognized minimum standards and subject to review by the courts.

    (e) In such times of emergency, the State shall endeavour to provide that civilians charged with criminal offences of any kind shall be tried by ordinary civilian courts, and, detention of persons administratively without charge shall be subject to review by courts or other independent authority by way of habeas corpus or similar procedures so as to ensure that the detention is lawful and to inquire into any allegations of ill-treatment.

    (f) The jurisdiction of military tribunals shall be confined to military offences. There shall always be a right of appeal from such tribunals to a legally qualified appellate court or tribunal or a remedy by way of an application for annulment.

    (g) No power shall be so exercised as to interfere with the judicial process.

    (h) The Executive shall not have control over the judicial functions of the courts in the administration of justice.

    (i) The Executive shall not have the power to close down or suspend the operation of the courts.

    (j) The Executive shall refrain from any act or omission which preempts the judicial resolution of a dispute or frustrates the proper execution of a court decision.

    6. No legislation or executive decree shall attempt retroactively to reverse specific court decisions or to change the composition of the court to affect its decisionmaking.

    7. Judges shall be entitled to take collective action to protect their judicial independence.

    8. Judges shall always conduct themselves in such a manner as to preserve the dignity and responsibilities of their office and the impartiality and independence of the judiciary. Subject to this principle, judges shall be entitled to freedom of thought, belief, speech, expression, professional association, assembly and movement.

     Bangalore Principles of Judicial Conduct, Adopted by the Judicial Group on Strengthening Judicial Integrity, as revised at the Round Table Meeting of Chief Justices held at the Peace Palace, The Hague, 25-26 November 2002, ”Value
    Judicial independence is a pre-requisite to the rule of law and a fundamental guarantee of a fair trial. A judge shall therefore uphold and exemplify judicial independence in both its individual and institutional aspects.

     Universal Charter of the Judge, Approved by the International Association of Judges on 17 November 1999, Article 1-4.

    Art.1
    Independence

    Judges shall in all their work ensure the rights of everyone to a fair trial. They shall promote the right of individuals to a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law, in the determination of their civil rights and obligations or of any criminal charge against them.

    The independence of the judge is indispensable to impartial justice under the law. It is indivisible. All institutions and authorities, whether national or international, must respect, protect and defend that independence.

    Art.2
    Status

    Judicial independence must be ensured by law creating and protecting judicial office that is genuinely and effectively independent from other state powers. The judge, as holder of judicial office, must be able to exercise judicial powers free from social, economic and political pressure, and independently from other judges and the administration of the judiciary.

    Art.3
    Submission to the law

    In the performance of the judicial duties the judge is subject only to the law and must consider only the law.

    Art.4
    Personal autonomy

    No one must give or attempt to give the judge orders or instructions of any kind, that may influence the judicial decisions of the judge, except, where applicable, the opinion in a particular case given on appeal by the higher courts.

  2. 2. Universal Charter of the Judge, Approved by the International Association of Judges on 17 November 1999, Article 4;

    No one must give or attempt to give the judge orders or instructions of any kind, that may influence the judicial decisions of the judge, except, where applicable, the opinion in a particular case given on appeal by the higher courts.

     Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Fair Trial and Legal Assistance in Africa, Adopted by the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, Article A.4(f),

    There shall not be any inappropriate or unwarranted interference with the judicial process nor shall decisions by judicial bodies be subject to revision except through judicial review, or the mitigation or commutation of sentence by competent authorities, in accordance with the law;

    which provides in part “… nor shall decisions by judicial bodies be subject to revision except through judicial review, or the mitigation or commutation of sentences by competent authorities, in accordance with the law”; Article A.5(e)

    A judicial official may not consult a higher official authority before rendering a decision in
    order to ensure that his or her decision will be upheld.

    states that “A judicial officer may not consult a higher judicial authority before rendering a decision in order to ensure that his or her decision will be upheld”.
  3. 3. Human Rights Committee, General Comment No. 32, Article 14: Right to equality before courts and tribunals and to a fair trial, UN Doc. CCPR/C/GC/32 (2007), ”para.

    The requirement of impartiality has two aspects. First, judges must not allow their judgement to be influenced by personal bias or prejudice, nor harbour preconceptions about the particular case before them, nor act in ways that improperly promote the interests of one of the parties to the detriment of the other. Second, the tribunal must also appear to a reasonable observer to be impartial. For instance, a trial substantially affected by the participation of a judge who, under domestic statutes, should have been disqualified cannot normally be considered to be impartial.

     UN Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary, ”Principle
    The judiciary shall decide matters before them impartially, on the basis of facts and in accordance with the law, without any restrictions, improper influences, inducements, pressures, threats or interferences, direct or indirect, from any quarter or for any reason.

     Draft Universal Declaration on the Independence of Justice (also known as the Singhvi Declaration), ”Article

    A judge shall not sit in a case where a reasonable apprehension of bias on his part or conflict of interest of incompatibility of functions may arise.

     Bangalore Principles of Judicial Conduct, Adopted by the Judicial Group on Strengthening Judicial Integrity, as revised at the Round Table Meeting of Chief Justices held at the Peace Palace, The Hague, 25-26 November 2002, Value 2

    Impartiality is essential to the proper discharge of the judicial office. It applies not only to the decision itself but also to the process by which the decision is made.

    and Value 4;

    Propriety, and the appearance of propriety, are essential to the performance of all of the activities of a judge.

     Universal Charter of the Judge, Approved by the International Association of Judges on 17 November 1999, ”Article

    Impartiality and restraint. In the performance of the judicial duties the judge must be impartial and must so be seen. The judge must perform his or her duties with restraint and attention to the dignity of the court and of all persons involved.

     The Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Fair Trial and Legal Assistance in Africa, Adopted by the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, Article A.5(d)

    The impartiality of a judicial body would be undermined when:

    1. a former public prosecutor or legal representative sits as a judicial officer in a case in which he or she prosecuted or represented a party;
    2. a judicial official secretly participated in the investigation of a case;
    3. a judicial official has some connection with the case or a party to the case;
    4. a judicial official sits as member of an appeal tribunal in a case which he or she decided or participated in a lower judicial body.

    In any of these circumstances, a judicial official would be under an obligation to step
    down.

    presents four concrete situations in which the impartiality of a judicial body would be undermined.
  4. 4. Bangalore Principles of Judicial Conduct, Adopted by the Judicial Group on Strengthening Judicial Integrity, as revised at the Round Table Meeting of Chief Justices held at the Peace Palace, The Hague, 25-26 November 2002, ”Value

    Integrity is essential to the proper discharge of the judicial office.

     and ”Value

    Propriety, and the appearance of propriety, are essential to the performance of all of the activities of a judge.

    Universal Charter of the Judge, Approved by the International Association of Judges on 17 November 1999, ”Article

    Art.5. Impartiality and restraint.

    In the performance of the judicial duties the judge must be impartial and must so be seen. The judge must perform his or her duties with restraint and attention to the dignity of the court and of all persons involved.

    Art.6. Efficiency.

    The judge must diligently and efficiently perform his or her duties without any undue delays.

    Art.7 Outside activity.

    The judge must not carry out any other function, whether public or private, paid or unpaid, that is not fully compatible with the duties and status of a judge. The judge must not be subject to outside appointments without his or her consent.

  5. 5. Bangalore Principles of Judicial Conduct; International Bar Association, Minimum Standards of Judicial Independence, para. 35-42.
  6. 6. Bangalore Principles of Judicial Conduct, Preamble and ‘Implementation’.
  7. 7. UN Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary, ”Principle

    All disciplinary, suspension or removal proceedings shall be determined in accordance with established standards of judicial conduct.

  8. 8. UN Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary, ”Principle

    A charge or complaint made against a judge in his-her judicial and professional capacity shall be processed expeditiously and fairly under an appropriate procedure. The judge shall have the right to a fair hearing. The examination of the matter at its initial stage shall be kept confidential, unless otherwise requested by the judge.

    and ”Principle

    Decisions in disciplinary, suspension or removal proceedings should be subject to an independent review. This principle may not apply to the decisions of the highest court and those of the legislature in impeachment or similar proceedings.

     Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Fair Trial and Legal Assistance in Africa, Adopted by the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, Article A.4(r);

    The procedures for complaints against and discipline of judicial officials shall be prescribed by law. Complaints against judicial officers shall be processed promptly, expeditiously and fairly.

     Draft Universal Declaration on the Independence of Justice (also known as the Singhvi Declaration), ”Article

    The proceedings for discipline of judges shall ensure fairness to the judge and the opportunity of a full hearing.

  9. 9. Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Fair Trial and Legal Assistance in Africa, Adopted by the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, Article A.4(q).

    Judicial officials facing disciplinary, suspension or removal proceedings shall be entitled to guarantees of a fair hearing including the right to be represented by a legal representative of their choice and to an independent review of decisions of disciplinary, suspension or removal proceedings.

  10. 10. Human Rights Committee, Concluding Observations on Azerbaijan, UN Doc. CCPR/C/AZE/CO/3 (2009), ”para.

    The Committee remains concerned that, despite the reforms undertaken and the progress made during the reporting period, through, inter alia, the amendments in the Judges Act, the adoption of the Judicial Council Act, the establishment of the statute of the Judges’ Selection Committee, the Code of Ethics for Judges, the State party’s judiciary does not appear to be fully independent from the executive branch or from political pressure. The Committee is also concerned about reports that corruption within the judiciary remains a problem (art. 14).

    The State party should strengthen its efforts to ensure a fully independent judiciary. Given the important prerogatives of the Judicial Council, in particular regarding selection, promotion, and disciplining of members of the judiciary, the State party should ensure that the Judicial Council, in its composition and work, is fully independent from the executive so as to create conditions ensuring full independence of the judiciary. The State party should increase efforts to combat corruption, in particular within its judiciary, by investigating promptly and thoroughly all incidents of suspected corruption. If corruption is established, the officials concerned should face criminal and not only disciplinary sanctions.

     Human Rights Committee, Concluding Observations on Honduras, UN Doc. CCPR/C/HND/CO/1 (2006), ”para.

    The Committee notes the State party’s implementation of selection procedures for judges in accordance with the Judicial Council Act. It is concerned, however, at the failure to establish an independent body to safeguard the independence of the judiciary and to supervise the appointment, promotion and regulation of the profession (article 14 of the Covenant).

    The State party should take effective action to safeguard the independence of the judiciary, including the prompt establishment of an independent body to safeguard the independence of the judiciary and to supervise the appointment, promotion and regulation of the profession.

    Human Rights Committee, Concluding Observations on Kosovo (Serbia), UN Doc. CCPR/C/UNK/CO/1 (2006), ”para.

    The Committee is concerned about the absence of adequate guarantees for the independence of international judges and prosecutors. It is concerned about the low remuneration of local judges and prosecutors, the low representation of ethnic minorities in the judiciary, the excessive length of civil court proceedings and court backlogs and the frequent failure to enforce judgements (art. 14).

    UNMIK, in cooperation with PISG as required, should establish independent procedures for the recruitment, appointment and discipline of international judges and prosecutors, ensure adequate terms and conditions for local judges and prosecutors whereby they are shielded from corruption, increase the representation of ethnic minorities in the judiciary, assign additional judges to courts with case backlogs and ensure enforcement of judgements without delay.

  11. 11. Leandro Despouy, Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, Report to the Human Rights Council, UN Doc. A/HRC/11/41 (2009), ”para.

    28. The composition of this body matters greatly to judicial independence as it is required to act in an objective, fair and independent manner when selecting judges. While a genuinely plural composition of this body is recommended with legislators, lawyers, academicians and other interested parties being represented in a balanced way, in many cases it is important that judges constitute the majority of the body so as to avoid any political or other external interference. In the Special Rapporteur’s view, if the body is composed primarily of political representatives there is always a risk that these “independent bodies” might become merely formal or legal rubber-stamping organs behind which the Government exerts its influence indirectly.

    29. In order to ensure that such a body is apt to select judges in an objective, fair and independent manner, the judiciary and other parties directly linked with the justice system must have a substantial say with respect to selecting and appointing the members of such a body. According to some regional standards, members of the independent body should be selected by the judiciary.

  12. 12. Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Fair Trial and Legal Assistance in Africa, Adopted by the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, Article A.4(q).

    Judicial officials facing disciplinary, suspension or removal proceedings shall be entitled to guarantees of a fair hearing including the right to be represented by a legal representative of their choice and to an independent review of decisions of disciplinary, suspension or removal proceedings.

  13. 13. UN Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary, ”Principle

    17. A charge or complaint made against a judge in his/her judicial and professional capacity shall be processed expeditiously and fairly under an appropriate procedure. The judge shall have the right to a fair hearing. The examination of the matter at its initial stage shall be kept confidential, unless otherwise requested by the judge.

    18. Judges shall be subject to suspension or removal only for reasons of incapacity or behaviour that renders them unfit to discharge their duties.

    19. All disciplinary, suspension or removal proceedings shall be determined in accordance with established standards of judicial conduct.

    20. Decisions in disciplinary, suspension or removal proceedings should be subject to an independent review. This principle may not apply to the decisions of the highest court and those of the legislature in impeachment or similar proceedings.

     Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Fair Trial and Legal Assistance in Africa, Adopted by the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, Article A.4(p)-(q);

    (p) Judicial officials may only be removed or suspended from office for gross misconduct
    incompatible with judicial office, or for physical or mental incapacity that prevents them from undertaking their judicial duties.

    (q) Judicial officials facing disciplinary, suspension or removal proceedings shall be entitled to guarantees of a fair hearing including the right to be represented by a legal representative of their choice and to an independent review of decisions of disciplinary, suspension or removal proceedings.

     Draft Universal Declaration on the Independence of Justice (also known as the Singhvi Declaration), Article 26-31; Universal Charter of the Judge, Approved by the International Association of Judges on 17 November 1999, ”Article

    Security of office. 

    A judge cannot be transferred, suspended or removed from office unless it is provided for by law and then only by decision in the proper disciplinary procedure. A judge must be appointed for life or for such other period and conditions, that the judicial independence is not endangered. Any change to the judicial obligatory retirement age must not have retroactive effect.

     and ”Article

    Administration and disciplinary action. 

    The administration of the judiciary and disciplinary action towards judges must be organized in such a way, that it does not compromise the judges genuine independence, and that attention is only paid to considerations both objective and relevant. Where this is not ensured in other ways that are rooted in established and proven tradition, judicial administration and disciplinary action should be carried out by independent bodies, that include substantial judicial representation. Disciplinary action against a judge can only be taken when provided for by pre-existing law and in compliance with predetermined rules of procedure.

  14. 14. UN Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary, ”Principle

    Without prejudice to any disciplinary procedure or to any right of appeal or to compensation from the State, in accordance with national law, judges should enjoy personal immunity from civil suits for monetary damages for improper acts or omissions in the exercise of their judicial functions

     Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Fair Trial and Legal Assistance in Africa, Adopted by the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, Article A.4(n)(1);

    Judicial officers shall not be:
    1. liable in civil or criminal proceedings for improper acts or omissions in the exercise of
    their judicial functions;

     Draft Universal Declaration on the Independence of Justice (also known as the Singhvi Declaration), ”Article

    Judges shall be protected from the harassment of personal litigation against them in respect of their judicial functions and shall not be sued or prosecuted except under an authorization of an appropriate judicial authority

     Universal Charter of the Judge Approved by the International Association of Judges on 17 November 1999, ”Article

    Civil and penal responsibility. 

    Civil action, in countries where this is permissible, and criminal action, including arrest, against a judge must only be allowed under circumstances ensuring that his or her independence cannot be influenced.

  15. 15. Transitional Constitution, S. 128.

    (1) The Judiciary of Southern Sudan shall be independent of the executive and the legislature. Its budget shall be charged on the consolidated fund and it shall have the necessary financial independence in the management thereof.

    (2) The Judiciary of Southern Sudan shall be subject to this Constitution and the law which the Judges must apply impartially and without political interference, fear or favour.

    (3) The executive and legislative organs at all levels of government in Southern Sudan shall respect and protect the independence of the Judiciary.

  16. 16. International Commission of Jurists, South Sudan: An Independent Judiciary in an Independent State? (December 2013), p. 28-29.
  17. 17. Judiciary Act, S. 28.

    (1) Justices and Judges shall not engage in trade or associate their judicial office with any other employment or business incompatible with their duties and which compromise the independence of Judiciary.

    (2) The Judicial Code of Conduct shall specify the businesses and activities which are incompatible with the judicial office and which compromise the independence of Judiciary.

  18. 18. Transitional Constitution, S. 136(1)

    (1) Discipline of Justices and Judges shall be exercised by the President of the Supreme Court of Southern Sudan in accordance with the law.

    and Judicial Service Council Act, S. 8(1)(c)-(d).

    The Council shall have the power to—

    (c) make recommendations to the President with respect to disciplinary measures regarding the President of the Supreme Court or the Deputy President;

    (d) confirm, dismiss, amend or return the findings of Boards of Discipline pertaining to Justices and Judges;

  19. 19. Judiciary Act, S. 50.

    Every Justice or Judge who contravenes his or her duty, or the ethics of the profession, or conducts himself or herself either by an act or omission in such a way as may degrade his or her judicial position or absents himself or herself from work without permission or acceptable reason, or is convicted in the Court of law for any offence or commits an act of insubordination, may be subject to disciplinary measures.

  20. 20. Judiciary Act, S. 53(3)-(4).

    (3) The Board of Discipline shall avail the Justice or Judge being disciplined, the opportunity of being heard and to defend himself or herself.

    (4) The Justice or Judge may present his or her defense by himself or herself, or through a counsel of his or her own choice.

  21. 21. Judiciary Act, S. 49.

    There shall be constituted by the President of the Supreme Court, a Board of Discipline when necessary, for the discipline of Justices and Judges.

  22. 22. Judiciary Act, S. 54.

    The Board of Discipline may impose any of the following penalties—

    (a) warning;

    (b) reprimand;

    (c) deprivation of increment or promotion, for a period, not exceeding one year;

    (d) cut of pay for a period of one month’s salary; or

    (e) dismissal.

  23. 23. Judiciary Act, S. 55;

    (1) The decision of a Board of Discipline may be confirmed by the Council in respect to Justices of the Supreme Court and of the Court of Appeal, and by the President of the Supreme Court, in respect of the Judges of the High Court, County and Payam Courts; provided that, if the decision is for removal of a Justice of the Supreme Court, shall be as provided for under Article 136(2) of the ICSS.

    (2) The Council, upon the recommendation of the President of the Supreme Court on his or her own motion, or upon the request of the Justice or Judge who has been disciplined, may dismiss, amend or confirm the findings and conviction, and its decision shall be final.

    (3) The Council, on the recommendation of the President of the Supreme Court, may review its decision once.

     International Commission of Jurists, South Sudan: An Independent Judiciary in an Independent State? (December 2013), p. 37.
  24. 24. Transitional Constitution, S. 136(2)

    Justices of the Supreme Court may only be removed by an order of the President of the Government of Southern Sudan for gross misconduct, incompetence and incapacity and upon the recommendation of the President of the Supreme Court in accordance with the law and subject to approval by a majority of two-thirds of all members of Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly.

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