South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir on Wednesday night issued a decree dismissing several judges who had been on strike over poor working conditions since May, a move that paralyzed the over-stretched judiciary leaving courts unable to hear cases across the country.
The decision comes after the failure of negotiations between judges and a committee set up by President Kiir to hear their grievances.
The Chairperson of the Judges and Justices Committee, Khalid Abdulla Mohamed, said he and several colleagues who went on strike and demanded higher wages and the resignation of the chief justice, Chan Reech Madut have been dismissed.
However, Khalid did not say whether the order was linked to their strike.
He further said a group of 14 judges from appeals and high courts who either took part in the nationwide strike or failed to comply with directives of the chief justice to resume work have been affected by the decision.
Charles Abyei Jok, President of the High Court in Wau, also confirmed that he was among the judges who have been dismissed by Kiir. Charles said he did not know the reason for their dismissal.
In May, the South Sudan Assembly of Judges and Justices declared a nationwide strike over administrative matters and poor working conditions.
The strike comes as the economic situation continues to deteriorate with prices soaring in the newest nation due to the ongoing civil war.