South Sudan Justice Ministry Denies Delaying Criminal Cases

This article was last updated on May 25, 2022

The officials were responding to a question on what happens with some criminal cases of great public concern which seemingly die out once they reach the prosecution stage.

One case in point involves Ministry of Finance officials where finance forms were stolen and believed to have been used to extort hundreds or millions of pounds from the public without the notice of the Ministry.

Some government officials were arrested and detained three months ago for theft of financial forms but their prosecution seems slow.

“Not everything in a case is done by the ministry of justice. The police investigate and we lead the prosecution but sometimes we are given cases with shoddy investigation which makes a case drag on for long,” John Luk Jok, the Minister of Justice told the press on Monday.

The minister admitted the concerns about people being arrested and being released shortly but attributed it to the perception of the people that every person arrested is guilty.

“People complain that we get suspects and release them. That is a lay persons understanding of justice. The presumption of innocence is for all. Everyone is innocent until the guilt is proven beyond reasonable doubts,” he said.

According to the Minister who is also a lawyer, sometimes criminal cases drag for long in the courts because they seek concrete evidence that is sufficient enough to convict a suspect which the public may see as killing of cases.

The durra scandal is another case that has dragged on for so long a period but the Prosecutor General Filberto Mayuot Mareng said it is still being investigated.

Mayout appealed to the public to collaborate with the judiciary if cases are to be handled faster but with due fairness. “Investigating cases is not the job of the ministry alone. The public has to be involved in terms of reporting, helping in tracking down suspects or perpetrators in cases like of robbery and embezzlement,” he said.

He argued these cases of embezzlement by public figures require the public because it is the public that knows that people have acquired which property over what period of time and they see what the officials do and own.

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