Missing links in Lainya County’s chain of justice

unmiss south sudan central equatoria lainya county justice access courts prisons police stations roads judges protection of civilians

Local chiefs in Lainya County have expressed concern about insufficient resources in the justice sector. Photo: Taban Geofrey Koma Alfred/UNMISS

4 Jul 2024

Missing links in Lainya County’s chain of justice

Taban Geofrey Koma Alfred/Filip Andersson

CENTRAL EQUATORIA – Police stations, courts, judges, and prisons are all necessities for the rule of law to work its magic. Unfortunately, all of these judicial components are missing or far too few in Lainya County, south of South Sudan’s capital Juba, making access to justice onerous.

Local chiefs reported these and related challenges as they talked to a visiting delegation from the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), led by Njoki Kinyanjui, Head of the peacekeeping mission’s Field Office in Juba.

As a result of these crucial shortages within the justice system, the South Sudan People’s Defence Forces are trying to fill the gaps, with mixed results.

“They do their best and we are grateful for that, but their work is not enough,” one local chief commented, adding that poor roads and a general lack of transportation make it a daunting task to transfer suspects and/or cases to justice facilities in Yei or Juba.

Strengthening the many links of the country’s justice system is a key part of the UNMISS mandate in South Sudan, with the rule of law and accountability seen as essential for sustainable peace to be achieved.

"Investing in justice, and human rights, is crucial for developing a stable society," said Ms. Kinyanjui, pledging the mission’s continued support of initiatives to that effect, in Lainya County and beyond.