judicial independence

Court stalls moves by Kenya's President putting judiciary under executive control

The Law Society of Kenya has succeeded in putting at least a temporary brake on the government’s plan to transfer the judiciary and a number of independent bodies to the direct control of the executive. In May President Uhuru Kenyatta signed Executive Order No 1/2020, making these changes, and the law society responded by filing a petition shortly afterwards.

Sacking of 14 judges by South Sudan President unconstitutional: East African Court of Justice

When a government removes one judge from office in a way that flouts the constitution and judicial independence it would be bad enough. But a case brought to the East African Court of Justice (EACJ) by Justice Malek Mathiang Malek against South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir for dismissing him, was just the tip of the iceberg. In fact, Justice Malek was one of more than a dozen judges dismissed by the government in 2017. But Justice Malek, who has had more than 20 years’ experience on the bench, decided he was not simply going to accept the situation.

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In its latest decision, the East African Court of Justice has come out strongly against unconstitutional government action to dismiss members of the judiciary. The case involved a senior member of the judicial bench in South Sudan, appeal court judge Malek Mathiang Malek, who challenged his 2017 dismissal by President Salva Kiir.

Concern about CJ's instruction that heads of court should 'see and approve' all judgments before delivery

A storm broke over the head of Zimbabwe's Chief Justice Luke Malaba when he issued a memo to heads of court on 16 July, 2020. Among others, the memo instructed that before a judgment was delivered by any judge, 'it should be seen and approved by the head of court'. The instruction led to a major furore, with critics at home and abroad saying it infringed judicial independence. They asked what would happen if a head of court disagreed with and declined to 'approve' a judgment that a member of the judiciary was about to deliver.

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