Speech by UNDP Country Director, Balázs Horváth, Handover of Bor High Court, Bor, Jonglei

May 8, 2013

- Your Excellency, General Kuol Manyang Juuk, Governor of Jonglei State,
- Honourable Justice Attilio Fuad Zolein,
- Honourable Jairo Ajang President of the Jonglei State High Court,
- Honourable Molana Daniel Deng Kuereng, Head of Legal Administration,
- Honourable State Ministers,
- Distinguished Representatives of the international development community,
- Members of the community, ladies and gentlemen.

It is my pleasure and honour to be addressing you today on behalf of the United Nations Development Programme South Sudan. 


Rule of law is essential for security, economic growth and the provision of social services in South Sudan. It provides mechanisms for peacefully resolving conflicts, the certainty the private sector needs to develop and flourish; and guarantees access to justice that ensures respect for the human rights of every individual, including women and marginalized groups.


The Government has made significant strides in building a justice sector and rule of law institutions in a relatively short period of time. However many citizens are still unaware of their rights, lack access to formal justice services and are unsure how this system can work alongside traditional justice systems.  UNDP supports the Judiciary of South Sudan, the Ministry of Justice, the National Prisons Service of South Sudan and the South Sudan National Police Service to promote justice as an ideal of accountability and fairness in protecting the rights and preventing injustices.


Today, with generous support from the Government of Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, we are handing over this Bor High Court which will host public prosecutors and a judge.  The Bor High Court will serve the entire state and it will hear appeals from the county courts. But this handover is far more than simply a building – it is about extending access of formal justice services to citizens in Jonglei.  Establishing a high court will help ensure that all persons, institutions and entities are accountable to laws that are publicly enacted, equally enforced, independently adjudicated and are consistent with international human rights norms and standards.


The key to sustained impact from this High Court is what happens after the handover. The provision of funds from Jonglei Government for running costs, proper maintenance and management of this building is critical. Only this way can it be ensured that the High Court is maintained and extends rule of law services to the citizens. 


Here in Jonglei state, UNDP is dedicated to supporting the Government’s efforts to improve access to justice and rule of law.  Today’s initiative will augment several other handovers and projects.  We will continue to focus on empowering communities and building accountable institutions. We support the Government in implementing the South Sudan Development Plan, and the Jonglei State Strategic Plan.  We at UNDP are proud of the partnership we have with the State and County Government and we congratulate you for having made this High Court a reality.


In closing, I would like to applaud the cooperation and partnership between the Judiciary of South Sudan, the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Legal Administration and the State Government in their holistic approach to fostering the rule of law and expanding access to justice. In particular, I would like to again acknowledge the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade for their support for this project.


And finally, to all members of the community, we stand by you in building a peaceful, democratic, just and prosperous South Sudan.


Thank you very much.

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