South Sudan’s former Minister of Justice and recent Minister of South Sudan’s Eastern Affairs, John Luk Joak(Photo supplied)
June 3, 2020(Nyamilepedia) — I met John Luk Jok in the mid 1970’s when he was working in Yirol as Range three Local government administrator and I was a student at Juba Commercial Senior Secondary School. We had a very good social and community relationship as John Luk Jok was fluent in thok-reel; a language akin to thok Naath. He was not the only Nuer that I had an opportunity to have a social and community relationship with. There was Samuel Gai Tut and Banek Riek Dong known as “Kuaclieth”, the son of the former Paramount chief Riek Dong of Dok. Both Gai and Banek also worked in Yirol as Local Goverment Inspectors. In the early 1980’s we met again with John Luk Jok in London. He was doing his Masters Degree; LLM as I was doing my LLB. We forged a political, family and social relationship which grew over the years.
When I was appointed as Presidential advisor on legal affairs and John Luk Jok as the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, I deputized him as the chair of the South Sudan Constitutional Review Committee. We had an intimate professional relationship and always coordinated on matters of legal concerns. As lawyers, we had legal differences and it was exemplified by one case; South Sudan Government Vs James Yuang Anyieth where I was of the view for Stay of Proceedings while John Luk Jok took the opposite side, but at the end we amicably resolved the matter.
It is also important to note when the constitutional review commision was formed, it was constituted of about fifty people from different political parties and civil societies. The draft constitution was then presented to the council of ministers which also made some additional and deletions to the draft before presentation to the Assembly and thereafter as the constitution requires, It was then taken to The Transitional National Legislative Assembly and it went through all the law making processes as dictated by the constitution.
Therefore John Luk Jok should not be blamed at all for any misgivings in the and shortcomings in the amended constitution of 2011. If there is a body or institution to blame we should direct our blame to Transitional National Legislative Assembly and not John Luk Jok. I will be adversed to the notion of blaming him in his resting place on this matter.
However John Luk was a brilliant legal mind, articulate and courageous. We have lost a great man as a nation and his death is a huge blow to the legal fraternity and the Nation at large. My heartfelt condolences to his immediate family, friends and the entire Lou Nuer Community.
May His soul rest in peace.
Hon. Telar Ring is a South Sudanese politician who is currently loyal to Dr. Riek Machar’s SPLM/A faction, the SPLM/A in Opposition.
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