CJ Koome breaks silence after President Ruto’s attack on judiciary

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CJ Koome breaks silence after President Ruto’s attack on judiciary

Chief Justice Martha Koome has counseled Judges and Judicial Officers to uphold the independence and rule of law, responding to President William Ruto’s previous warning that his administration would forcefully suppress judicial activism and impunity hindering the government’s development agenda.

Koome, in a press release issued on Wednesday evening, expressed regret that Judges and Judicial Officers faced public criticism for issuing court orders perceived as contrary to State programs and policies.

As both the Chief Justice and the President of the Judicial Service Commission, Koome assured the public that any allegations or complaints of misconduct or corruption against a Judge or Judicial Officer would be promptly and decisively addressed in accordance with the Constitution.

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“The JSC has a proven record of taking action against any judicial officer found to have breached the Judicial Code of Conduct and Ethics or engaged in corrupt practices. The JSC therefore encourages anyone with information on any act that threatens the integrity of judicial processes and outcomes to report any such cases to the JSC for determinate action,” she said in a statement.

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Additionally, Koome has urged individuals dissatisfied with court decisions to pursue appeals in higher courts.

She strongly criticized the comments made by the Head of State, emphasizing that they pertain to ongoing court deliberations. Koome pointed out that such remarks could only serve to intimidate judges and influence their rulings in a particular direction.

“The Commission wishes to draw the attention of State and Public Officers to the fact that the Constitution places positive duties on the State to ensure respect for the law and adherence to the law by providing citizens with effective mechanisms for resolving disputes between themselves and between them and the State,” she said.

In her reaction, Chief Justice Koome expressed surprise at President William Ruto’s commitment to defy court orders that may not align with government projects. She highlighted that such a stance would establish an undesirable precedent for the rule of law in the country.

“Where a citizen obtains a court order against the State and that court order is deliberately ignored or disobeyed by State officials, the right of access to justice is undermined because it fatally attacks the effectiveness of the legal system on which ordinary citizens rely to have their rights and legal duties enforced,” stated the JSC boss.

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Addressing attendees at a burial service in Nyandarua, President Ruto expressed frustration with recent high court decisions that halted the implementation and enforcement of key legislations, including the Social Health Insurance Fund Act 2023, the Primary Health Care Act 2023, and the Digital Health Act 2023, pending the resolution of a legal challenge.

In response, the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) has announced plans for nationwide peaceful demonstrations next week to protest President William Ruto’s criticisms of the Judiciary. During these protests, advocates and legal practitioners will wear purple ribbons as a symbol of their support for the independence of the Judiciary and the rule of law.

LSK President Eric Theuri called on President Ruto to retract his statements and challenged him to present any evidence of corruption among judicial officers to the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) for appropriate action, rather than making unsupported allegations.

In Other News: LSK affiliated lawyers to hold countrywide protests over Ruto’s statement on disobedience of court orders

CJ Koome breaks silence after President Ruto’s attack on judiciary

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