“Efficient Judiciary is most important in the creation of a state governed by rule of law”
16 June, Juba—A five-week long training for 40 judges of the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, High Court and County Courts kicked off in Juba today. Funded by the Government of Japan, the training comes as part of UNDP’s support to the Judiciary of South Sudan. The opening ceremony was attended by officials from the National Prison Services of South Sudan (NPSSS), Embassy of Japan, European Union, International Development Law Organization (IDLO) and the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).
During the opening ceremony, Hon. Chan Reec Madut, the Chief Justice of South Sudan stated, “The support provided by UNDP and the Government of Japan in organizing this training is a powerful message to the international community to continue their support to South Sudan and get back to business as usual.”
The training is facilitated by leading African and South Sudanese scholars, to raise awareness and develop the capacity of the judges to lead a comprehensive transitional justice process, given the current challenges faced by the country. The training covers pertinent areas of law such as the International Criminal Law, International Human Rights Law, International Humanitarian Law, International Refugee Law, Elections Law and Principles of Constitutional Law.
Welcoming all the participants, the Deputy Chief Justice Hon. Ruben Madol Arol, stated, “The training of judges is vital and comes just at the right moment when the country is passing through difficult circumstances. I thank the international community, especially the Government of Japan and UNDP for their continuous support – at a time when donors are focused more towards humanitarian assistance and shying away from funding development works.”
He further noted that, “We in the Judiciary are not moving away from our traditional functions but are responding to new challenges in the present context of the country. The subjects selected for the training are momentous because of the situation we are in today. We have given our judges the opportunity to be trained in international law as we prepare for the challenges ahead.”
On behalf of UNDP, Mr. Lealem Berhanu Dinku, Team Leader of Democratic Governance and Stabilization Unit stated, “Rapidly evolving new forms of cybercrimes, transitional trade and the threat of terrorism have created the need for continuous judicial education and training for the judges to deal with complex situations and legal issues.” He further noted that, “As a young nation plunged into conflict again, South Sudan is faced with numerous challenges which can only be resolved by the people of South Sudan, and the Judiciary has an important role to play.”
During the event, development partners such as the EU and Japan, in their remarks, noted that Judiciary is one of the most important institutions in the creation of a State governed by rule of law and hoped that the training would provide substantial knowledge to the judges to deal with complex cases.
UNDP through its Access to Justice and Rule of Law Programme has been providing technical and logistical support to the Judiciary of South Sudan (JOSS) in developing mobile courts to reach out to people in remote areas, as well as develop a standardized case management system for reducing backlog of cases and delays in the justice system.
With the belief that justice delayed is justice denied, UNDP has been instrumental in providing equipment and developing necessary legal forms to support and facilitate efficient administration of the Judiciary and has developed an options paper on transitional justice in South Sudan. UNDP has also been supporting the National Platform for Peace and Reconciliation in the collection, compilation and analysis of perceptions and public opinion from communities on how to address underlying root causes of conflict feeding into the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) peace talks in Addis Ababa.
Sangita Khadka, Communications Specialist, UNDP South Sudan