Book Launch: ‘Casebook on Constitutional Litigation to Advance the Rule of Law in South Sudan’

Dec 12, 2018

Members of the SSBA, legal practitioners, legal aid providers, representatives from UNMISS and UNDP in a group photo outside Regency Hotel in Juba

12 December 2018, Juba—“Very soon we are going to have a constitutional court in South Sudan, and work is in progress to incorporate the signed peace agreement into the constitution. This is one of the demands in the peace agreement that there should be a separate and independent constitutional court established in South Sudan,” said noted scholar and teacher of law Professor Deng Awur while presiding over the launch of a new publication, Casebook on Constitutional Litigation.

The manual was developed with support from UNDP and is intended to be used as reference material to aid legal practitioners in engaging in constitutional litigation. The publication contains practical and straightforward guidance for law practitioners based on an exhaustive review and collection of jurisprudence from various countries, including South Sudan. It has been produced to improve the quality of legal casework involving constitutional issues in South Sudan.

Professor Awur, while noting the importance of a constitutional court, observed that today’s law practitioners in South Sudan operate in a highly challenging environment and should be supported with appropriate legal resources for the betterment of the rule of law in the country. He commended UNDP’s Access to Justice and Rule of Law Project in supporting law enforcement institutions and practitioners in South Sudan.

The casebook contains seven chapters and comes with a range of resources that can help legal practitioners in engaging in constitutional litigation.

Meanwhile, the President of the South Sudan Bar Association (SSBA), Hon. James El Taib remarked that the launch of the casebook was timely given the plans to establish a constitutional court in South Sudan.

“Frankly, in a young nation like South Sudan, it is of importance that the constitutional court stands alone and separately, not like at the moment where constitutional cases are heard  within the Supreme Court. In such circumstances, the judges who are assigned to look into constitutional cases give less importance to constitutional cases,” said Hon. El Taib.

He urged legal practitioners across the country to use the book to improve their knowledge and skills, and thanked UNDP for supporting the development of the casebook and the training of members of the bar association and other legal practitioners.

Speaking on behalf of UNMISS Rule of Law, Mccall Carter stated that the publication of the casebook is significant and “will be a valuable resource to students and practitioners alike, particularly in advancing the rule of law in South Sudan.”

UNDP’s Chief Technical Advisor of the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs and the Judiciary of South Sudan Dr. Rowland Cole, stated that  the publication of the casebook comes against the backdrop of enriching jurisprudence in South Sudan. He clarified: “This is not a prescriptive document, but is intended to  stimulate litigation or ideas to develop  South Sudanese jurisprudence.” Jurisprudence is the theory or philosophy of law and legal theory.

Through the Access to Justice and Rule of Law Project, funded by the governments of Netherlands and Japan, UNDP provides legal support to South Sudan including working with the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs to provide legal aid services, providing support for legislative reforms, and partnering with  civil society to promote human rights awareness.

The launch of the casebook was followed by the beginning of a five-day in-depth training for legal practitioners, including members of the SSBA and legal aid providers on constitutional litigation.

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