“What we hope for is guidance from our political leaders when citizens engage in unconstitutional conduct and more awareness that we should always be law abiding,” stated Malou Yel, President of Warrap state’s High Court.
Mr. Yel was speaking at a three-day training for justice actors organized by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) in Kuajok.
“In case people are unhappy with legal decisions taken in customary or higher courts, they must understand that under the law they have the right to appeal,” he continued, adding that seeking justice by approaching relevant authorities may take time, but it is the only way to resolve disputes.
The first holistic training of its kind in Kuajok brought together more than 40 public prosecutors, justice actors, and law enforcers from the South Sudan National Police Service, the Corrections Service, the High Court, and local government actors.
Spread over three days, the workshop aimed to enhance technical skills, knowledge of the formal justice system, and promote partnerships between different rule of law actors.
“I think, for me, the most important aspect was the clarity I received on handling cases related to sexual or gender-based violence,” revealed Atem Wel, paramount chief, Twic county.
“Listening to the sessions, I have come to the realization that we have gaps and improper procedures in resolving such sensitive cases at our community levels,” said Atem Wel, a paramount chief from Twic County. “But now I am clear about my role as a community leader and, most importantly, I’m aware of my jurisdictional limitations as well as referral mechanisms to judicial courts. I will be passing on the knowledge I’ve gained here to members of my community,” he said with a smile.
Perhaps the most interactive session was the one facilitated by UNMISS Human Rights, on standards that must be observed during investigations, as it enabled participants serving in different roles within the criminal justice system to share experiences and advise.
Commenting on the camaraderie and productive partnerships Colonel William Ajang, the Acting Commissioner of Warrap, expressed his hope that such collaborations will continue to strengthen law and order across the state.
“I hope all participants can remain connected even after this workshop concludes and strengthen their cooperation after the workshop. Local government actors should closely collaborate with justice entities while as police, we must implement what we learned to ensure all reported cases are investigated according to procedure, as we are a key actor in the justice chain,” he averred.
Colonel Ajang’s words were echoed by William Deng Koor, Minister of Local Government, Warrap who also lauded the UN Peacekeeping mission for including customary authorities in the workshop. “I hope UNMISS can extend this valuable training to all counties across Warrap,” he stated.
For her part, Anastasie Nyirigira Mukangarambe, Head of the UNMISS Field Office in Kuajok, appealed to participants to always uphold the law and promote accountability.
“This training is happening at an important historical moment when South Sudan is making its democratic transition. The work all of you do will, the decisions you take, will pave the way towards a brighter, more prosperous future.”
The workshop was facilitated by the UN Peacekeeping mission’s Rule of Law section.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).