Ministry of Justice, UNDP and South Sudan Law Society launch a perception survey report on truth, justice, reconciliation and healingOct 28, 2015
Juba, 28 October 2015 – The Ministry of Justice of the Republic of South Sudan; the United Nations Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations to South Sudan (DSRSG), Mr. Eugene Owusu; the Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Mr. Robert van den Dool; UNDP Country Director, Mr. Balázs Horváth, and the Acting Secretary General of the South Sudan Law Society, Mr. Issa Muzamil, officially launched “Search for a New Beginning: Perceptions of Truth, Justice, Reconciliation and Healing in South Sudan” on Wednesday, 28 October at the Juba Regency Hotel. This launch came a day after the official release of the report of the AU Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan (AUCISS).
Opening the launch, UNDP Country Director, Mr. Balázs Horváth, said that “the key to the transition from conflict to peace is that it is people-centered and responsive to the views of the people of South Sudan.” The survey was conducted to obtain statistical information and gain insights into the views of South Sudanese on matters related to transitional justice, peace, and reconciliation to support a nationally-owned transitional justice process.
Mr. David Deng, Director of Research of the South Sudan Law Society gave a presentation that revealed that the South Sudanese are of the opinion that peace without accountability will not be sustainable in the long-term. When directly asked whether the individuals responsible for abuses should be prosecuted in courts of law, 93% of respondents say “yes”. The presentation also revealed the importance of raising awareness about the Commission for Truth, Reconciliation and Healing. Seventy-six percent of survey respondents did not know what a truth commission was. However, out of those who knew, 96% supported the establishment of one.
The Peace Agreement prescribes the establishment of several mechanisms to support reconciliation and accountability throughout the peace process, including the Commission for Truth, Reconciliation, and Healing. The Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands H. E. Robert van den Dool reinforced the timeliness of this survey, saying “Now, it is paramount to listen to what the people responding to this survey are saying. Take that advice and turn it into policy that can strengthen the diversity of South Sudan and strengthen the peaceful process seeking truth, justice, reconciliation and healing.” The justice system will play a significant role in the truth, justice, reconciliation, and healing processes and the central challenge in South Sudan is involving both the customary and statutory justice systems. “The Ministry of Justice, in particular, is required by the peace agreement to play a significant role in the execution of the peace process,” said the Acting Undersecretary of the Ministry of Justice Hon. Filberto Mareng Mayout. “The importance of this perception survey is that it will assist in developing peace initiatives that reflect the views of South Sudanese.”
The United Nations Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations to South Sudan (DSRSG) Mr. Eugene Owusu, extended his gratitude for the partnership with the Ministry of Justice, which was part of the technical advisory committee that oversaw the research. He further elaborated that “South Sudanese society must be brave to retreat from the days and hours of darkness and pain, and to embrace their common destiny through dialogue and compromise. Compromise is a bitter pill, and requires bravery to swallow. This is a matter of destiny that every South Sudanese should embrace.”
This perception survey was undertaken within the UNDP Access to Justice and Rule of Law Project, funded by the Government of the Netherlands, Department for International Development (DFID) of the United Kingdom, Government of Norway, Government of Japan, and UNDP’s Bureau for Policy and Programmme Support. The project aims to increase access to justice to citizens of South Sudan with special focus on women; reduce case backlog and prolonged and arbitrary detention at state level; ascertain customary law and strengthen the capacity of Police, Prisons, Ministry of Justice, and the Judiciary.
Tabani Joseph, Communications Analyst, firstname.lastname@example.org Cel.: +211 955 314 795