(AA) – South Sudanese Justice Minister Paulino Wanawila said that a new national security law – which has met with objections from the country’s opposition – had come into effect despite President Salva Kiir’s decision not to endorse it.
Under the country’s transitional constitution, Wanawila told The Anadolu Agency, any bill endorsed by parliament comes into effect after 30 days – even if the president doesn’t sign it.
The law was approved by parliament last October and referred to the president for endorsement, Wanawila told AA.
The president made some observations about the law before referring it back to parliament for amendment, he added.
Yet a parliamentary recess hindered the process and the law came into effect in accordance with the transitional charter, he said.
“The law was referred back to parliament 33 days after being passed by the legislature, which means it comes into effect under the constitution,” he added.
The bill, which gives the authorities the power to arrest without first obtaining judicial warrants, was decried by the opposition, which said it threatened to infringe on human rights.
The bill states: “Any person who is found committing any one of the offences against the State as provided under Section 5 of this bill, or who is reasonably suspected of having committed – or of having attempted to commit or of being about to commit – such an offense may be arrested without warrant by any officer and detained.”
Offences mentioned in Section 5 of the bill include activities related to espionage, sabotage, terrorism, subversion, or an intention to engage in any such activity directed against or considered detrimental to the national interest.
It also includes among the offences any activity aimed at undermining or overthrowing South Sudan’s constitutionally established government.