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Juba City - 29 May 2023

High Court suspends order to compensate Pieri plane crash victims' families

The Kator High Court in South Sudan’s capital, Juba, has issued an order suspending a decision by Malakia County Court ordering South Supreme Airlines to compensate the families of the eight victims of the plane crash which happened in Pieri town in Uror County in Jonglei State in 2021.

In February this year, Malakia County Court ordered South Supreme Airlines to pay USD 170, 000 as compensation to the family of each victim after it found the company culpable of negligence under Article 17 of the Montreal Protocol.

However, in a 23 May stay of the execution order, Nicola Makuach Bol, a Kator High Court judge, asked the Malakia Court to halt its decision until an appeal by the defendant is heard.  

Monyluak Alor Kuol, an advocate representing the plaintiffs, confirmed to Radio Tamazuj over the weekend that South Supreme Airlines appealed the ruling of the lower court.

“Those people (South Supreme Airlines) have appealed to the High Court in Kator and before the appeal session, there is something that the court may do if it feels so, and that is the stay of execution order,” he explained. “This means that the Court of Malakia should wait without implementing the decision until the High Court comes out with a decision on the appeal made to it. That is what happened and that does not mean cancellation of our victory.”

Monyluak urged his clients to be patient as the law takes its course.

“This is a normal process sometimes if a court feels that it serves justice better,” he said. “We are telling our clients that nothing has changed and while the Kator Court is considering the decision, we are presenting an argument requesting the High Court to approve the decision of the Malakia Court.”

On his part, Makuei Puok Bai, a representative of the victim’s families, said they feel justice is denied and that there could be foul play in the High Court’s decision.

“We were in the process of compensation by the time this decision came. Court ruled in our favor in February but nothing had happened. As the victim’s families, we are not happy about the suspension of execution and believe that there is foul play.”

On March 2, 2021, the South Supreme Airline Let 19 aircraft with registration number HK-4274 crashed shortly after takeoff in Pieri killing all 10 people on board including two crew members.