Gabonese judges protest on the street, demand independence

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President Ali Bongo of Gabon

President Ali Bongo of Gabon

The Gabon National Judges Union (SYNAMAG) on Tuesday organised street protests against political appointments which, according to them, erodes judicial independence.

“The promotion of the former public prosecutor Sidonie Flore Ouwe, a first grade judge, to the position of First President of the Court of Appeal, threatens our independence.

“The position is reserved for judges who have reached grade 5.

“This decision must be cancelled, we are ready to adopt other measures if our demand is not satisfactorily addressed,” the protesting judges stated.

SYNAMAG Secretary General Stanislas Koumba said judges are saying no to political interference and politicisation of the judiciary, and judges who are tainted by corruption.

On the same day, Gabon’s Justice Minister Seraphin Moundounga proceeded to swear into office Ouwe and her other colleagues whose appointment was equally contested by SYNAMAG.

During the judges’ protest, they equally denounced repeated violations of Gabon’s Constitution, especially with regards to the law touching on the Supreme Council of Judges.

They also denounced the law on the status of judges.

Meanwhile the judges’ union said it would issue a strike notice to the Justice ministry.

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Source:: PM Newspaper