Consultative dialogue to enhance legal aid in South Sudan kicks off in Juba
Juba, 19 February 2014 – The Ministry of Justice, with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Access to Justice and Rule of Law Programme, is hosting a three-day legal aid consultative dialogue to strengthen the capacity of South Sudan’s rule of law institutions to deliver justice at the Asmara Hall, Juba Bridge hotel.
UNDP’s Access to Justice and Rule of Law Programme provides support to increase equitable access to justice, promote law and order, as well as accountable and transparent statutory and customary law institutions. The Programme’s support to the Ministry of Justice includes strengthening prosecutorial capacity and the establishment of a legal aid system in accordance with the Transitional Constitution of South Sudan.
UNDP country director Balazs Horvath stated in his opening remarks that the workshop “symbolizes the determination and resilience of the Government of South Sudan to forge ahead with state building, despite recent challenges. And, with the responsibility of the Government to provide legal aid for indigent persons enshrined in the Transitional Constitution, it shows South Sudan’s desire to translate its constitutional norms into reality.”
The objectives of the Consultative Dialogue include Identifying principles and time lines for drafting and enactment of the Legal Aid Act; validating draft Legal Aid Forms; determining options for remunerating private Advocates who provide legal aid services; and identifying eligibility and means-testing criteria. The ultimate aim is to institutionalize processes and procedures for the delivery of legal aid in South Sudan.
Speaking on behalf of the minister of justice, the Ministry’s Undersecretary, Honorable Jeremiah Swaka stressed that “Legal aid is the constitutional right of our citizens, and it is our duty as government to provide legal aid.”
The three-day workshop draws participants from the Judiciary of South Sudan, the South Sudan National Police Service, National Prisons Service of South Sudan, South Sudan Transitional Bar Association, members of civil society, and members of the international community including the United Nations Mission in South Sudan.
UNDP’s Access to Justice and Rule of Law Programme has previously supported the Ministry in developing a legal aid strategy which provides a framework for institutionalizing legal aid in South Sudan, in line with the Transitional Constitution of South Sudan.
Contact InformationTabani Joseph | Communications Analyst
UNDP Juba, South Sudan,