Row over Juba EALS mem­ber­ship

The East African - - NEWS - By BRIAN OCHARO

A GROUP of lawyers from South Su­dan have protested the ad­mis­sion of the coun­try’s um­brella body for lawyers, the South Su­dan Bar As­so­ci­a­tion (SSBA) into the East Africa Law So­ci­ety (EALS), say­ing its mem­bers were planted by the gov­ern­ment and do not nec­es­sar­ily rep­re­sent the coun­try's bar.

SSBA joined the re­gional so­ci­ety on De­cem­ber 1, dur­ing its an­nual gen­eral meet­ing held in Mom­basa, Kenya. The other mem­bers are the Law So­ci­ety of Kenya, Uganda Law So­ci­ety, Tan­ganyika Law So­ci­ety, Rwanda Bar As­so­ci­a­tion, Bu­rundi Bar As­so­ci­a­tion and the Zanz­ibar Law So­ci­ety.

Mem­bers of the Le­git­i­mate South Su­dan Bar As­so­ci­a­tion, said they are con­sid­er­ing chal­leng­ing EALS’S ac­tion in the re­gional court. LSSBA vice-pres­i­dent Kiir Chol Deng termed SSBA “a pri­vate Bar” es­tab­lished by the coun­try’s rul­ing party in vi­o­la­tion to the Con­sti­tu­tion of South Su­dan.

EALS chief ex­ec­u­tive Han­ning­tone Amol said the so­ci­ety ad­mit­ted SSBA since it was the only statu­tory body ac­knowl­edged by Juba.

“We have ad­mit­ted SSBA af­ter we vis­ited the coun­try for a fact-find­ing mis­sion and held a con­sul­ta­tive meet­ing with gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials and lawyers. It was the only op­tion we had since it was the only statu­tory body ac­knowl­edged by gov­ern­ment,” he said.

But Mr Deng said the EALS did not con­duct due dili­gence on the SSBA.

“It is our fear that ad­mit­ting a pri­vate Bar will not only un­der­mine the rule of law in the coun­try but also en­cour­age, pro­mote, fa­cil­i­tate and im­pose il­le­gal­i­ties on the le­gal fra­ter­nity of South Su­dan,” he said.

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