Rule of law forum resumes in Aweil

27 Feb 2014

Rule of law forum resumes in Aweil

26 February 2014 - After an absence of three months due to the South Sudan conflict, UNMISS has reopened a monthly rule of law forum in collaboration with state authorities in the Northern Bahr El-Ghazal capital Aweil.

The forum focused on justice for vulnerable groups, including the mentally ill and children without criminal liability.

“Mental illnesses can affect persons of any age, sex, race, tribe, religion or income,” said Acting Senior Public Prosecutor Justice Maryo Onvori,” who presented on the topic. “Mental illnesses are not the result of personal weakness, lack of character or poor upbringing.’’

“A child under twelve years of age shall be deemed to lack criminal capacity and shall not be tried for or convicted of any offence, which he or she is alleged to have committed,’’ he said.


UNMISS Judiciary Affairs officer Fetol Siakor noted the need to provide legal assistance for mentally ill people and children.

“We found out that children who lack the mental capacity to appreciate the consequences of their actions are behind bars,” Mr. Siakor said. “And we have laws providing for those to have some legal defense that could be available to them under the law.”

The forum recommended that a mentally ill rehabilitation centre should be established by the national government in the state Ministry of Social Development.

The Ministry of Health should also develop statistics of affected mentally challenged and children. It should care for them and employ a psycho-social support specialist.