The President of the Equatoria Circuit, Justice Simon Benjwinga recently toured the newly established Special Court for Gender-based Violence and Juvenile Cases in Juba accompanied by the visiting Director General for International Cooperation of the Netherlands, Reina Buijs and the Ambassador of the Netherlands to South Sudan H.E. Janet Alberda. Also present during the tour was the visiting UNDP’s Crisis Bureau Director Asako Okai.
Speaking on behalf of the Chief Justice, Justice Simon Benjwinga assured that the Judiciary remains committed to ensuring justice for victims and survivors of Gender-based violence (GBV) including SGBV and assured that the judiciary will continue to partner with UNDP in support of access to justice, security and the rule of law.
H.E. Reina Buijs urged the Judiciary of South Sudan to accelerate the inauguration process of the court to address the needs of Gender-based violence GBV and juvenile cases to enable survivors to obtain redress and fair remedies for their grievances.
Meanwhile, Asako Okai praised UNDP’s support for the establishment of the special court which aims at ensuring that Gender-based violence - GBV cases including SGBV cases are given special consideration by the justice system including provision of timely and effective justice services for both the victims/survivors and perpetrators.
Strategic Advisor of UNDP’s Rule of Law Project, Dr Rowland Cole stated: “UNDP remains committed to supporting effective mechanisms to respond to the huge backlog in GBV and juvenile cases as a means of protecting and promoting the rights of victims/survivors and ensuring justice and accountability for crimes committed.” The court forms part of UNDP’s support to GBV which include the development of referral pathways for survivors, the development of a training manual on the investigation and prosecution of GBV related cases, and the training of judges, prosecutors, investigators and social working on handling GBV cases, initiatives undertaken in coordination with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan.
The court was established with funding from the Government of the Netherlands. The new court got a makeover after the reconstruction of the old building. It has two specialized court halls for GBV cases and a dedicated court hall for juvenile cases and is fully equipped and furnished.