South Sudan Institutions Reactivate the Justice, Law and Order ForumNov 17, 2016
The Judiciary of South Sudan (JoSS), Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs (MoJ&CA), Ministry of Interior (MoI), including the South Sudan National Police Service (SSNPS) and National Prisons Service of South Sudan (NPSSS), reestablished its national coordination mechanism known as the Justice, Law and Order Forum (JLOF). The forum aims to join forces to prevent, combat and investigate crimes, maintain law and public order, protect the people and their properties and uphold and enforce the Transitional Constitution of South Sudan. This week the key government institutions empowered to protect, maintain and uphold the rule of law in South Sudan have reactivated the forum with a meeting including the Minister of Justice Hon. Paulino Unango Wanawilla, Minister of Gender Hon. Awut Deng Acuil, UNDP Country Director Kamil Kamaluddeen and Deputy Chief Justice Hon. John Gatwech Lul to highlight the importance of coordinating efforts to enforce the law in the country.
“We need to come together because the work we are doing in different institutions are inter-connected. Coordination is important for the smooth implementation of the rule of law. The judiciary, police, prison authorities, and Ministry of Justice; cannot work without each other. We need room for cooperation and we are committed to be part of this coordination mechanism to ensure the successful implementation of the rule of law,” said Deputy Chief Justice Hon. Lul.
“We are stronger when we work together. What is done in one rule of law institution can support the work in other institutions. It is hard to accomplish results without coordinated efforts. We can present stronger platforms together,” stated UNDP Country Director Kamil Kamaluddeen.
The objectives of the Justice, Law and Order Forum are to provide space for guided dialogue among the key stakeholders, coordinate activities and share information among members, decide on common approaches and messaging, and develop a database of activities undertaken by member institutions including capacity building.
“One of the main challenges to the implementation of the rule of law in South Sudan is related to capacity and illiteracy. Our staff need education. UNDP has been training some of our officers. We need more of these trainings. We have an important responsibility to convince the people who have guns to respect a supreme law. We have a constitution and penal laws. However, several members of the public prefer to apply the law according to their customs, which often conflicts with the law. This means that they have difficulties in appreciating the application of the rule of law as it applies in a modern state,” affirmed Minister of Justice Hon. Wanawilla.
“This is a forum to strengthen rule of law but also to strengthen leadership and commitment to justice, human rights and security,” explained UNDP Country Director Kamil Kamaluddeen.
Minister of Gender Hon. Acuil also highlighted the importance to support victims of sexual and gender based violence and to educate the general citizenry. “Those who seek justice need to understand what are the procedures to ask for help without confusion or duplication in different institutions. The citizens also need to know that there are rules that they have to respect,” she concluded.
The conference was attended by H.E. the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany Johannes Lehne, and representatives from the US and Netherlands embassies, IDLO and the UN.