Rule of Law

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Rule of law is essential for security, economic growth and the provision of social services in South Sudan. It provides mechanisms for peaceful resolutions of conflicts, the certainty that allows the private sector to develop and  flourish, and the access to justice that ensures respect for the human rights of every individual, including women and marginalized groups.

UNDP has embedded Rule of Law Officers and Law Enforcement Advisors across the states to  support Government counterparts  to improve access to justice and rule of law by:

  • Building capacity in the rule of law sector, including the Judiciary, Ministry of Justice, police and corrections;
  • Advising on harmonization of customary law with statutory law and protection of human rights;
  • Delivering frontline policing services; and
  • Professionalizing the Prison service.


The core objective of UNDP’s rule of law portfolio is to promote forms of governance in which all persons, institutions and entities, public and private, including the State itself, are accountable to laws that are publicly enacted, equally enforced and independently adjudicated, and which are consistent with international human rights norms and standards. 

The programme also aims to promote justice as an ideal of accountability and fairness in the protection and vindication of rights as well as the prevention of and responsibility for wrongs.

Current Challenges

The prolonged conflict severely eroded the core institutions of the State including rule of law infrastructure. There is a lack of fully trained and experienced judges, lawyers, police and prison staff. Much of the population has little confidence in these institutions, and they have little information about the formal legal framework. They rely instead on customary mechanisms, however, their authority was damaged by the social upheaval during the war, and their fairness is not assured.

Key Achievements

  • Facilitated 15 Rule of Law forums in 7 states coordinating criminal justice agencies
  • Opened National Customary Law Centre and completed Ascertainment Study of Customary Law in 14 Communities in South Sudan
  • Established six Justice and Confidence Centres to increase citizens’ access to justice
  • Began construction of University of Juba, College of Law
  • 95% of police personnel and 27% of prisons personnel have been registered through a Personnel Registration Database for Police and Prisons –
  • Established 11 Police Community Relationship Committees in eight states
  • Completed three dormitories for 240 female recruits at the Police Training Complex in Rajaf