South Sudan will start implementing a new law on cybercrime by setting up a special court, the presidency has announced.
The order by the Presidency on Tuesday said the Cybercrime and Computer Misuse Bill will be initiated by the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs which will create a special court to adjudicate cases related to crimes of computer misuse.
These include unauthorised data transmission, human and drug trafficking, computer hacking, espionage, economic sabotage, cyber terrorism, and sexual offense communication.
Other crimes are publication of false information and indecent content, impersonation and other identity-related offenses, as well as disclosure of passwords.
The sentences for the crimes range from four to twenty years of imprisonment.
Many South Sudanese social media users and activists have faulted the move, saying the process was not inclusive and transparent, and that the order does not favour all.
Reacting to the move, renowned activist Wani Michael described the move as unconstitutional, illegal, null and void.“Article 55 (3) of the constitution clearly indicates that the ministry has no constitutional jurisdiction or authority to enact any law as it is the sole responsibility of parliament to legislate and enact laws in South Sudan. Any purported law passed by the Ministry of Justice without the parliamentary enactment is unconstitutional and illegal.
“Courts are created by the constitution or a law passed by parliament under article 124 of the constitution. In any case, the chief justice has a constitutional mandate under article 127 (1) (b) of the constitution to create special courts but not the ministry of justice.
“Let parliament first enact the cybersecurity law before creating unnecessary courts without any constitutional jurisdiction. In the law, the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs acted ultra vires and very sad for the administration of justice in South Sudan,” said Wani.
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