Solar powered installations handed over by UNMISS aim to energize justice actors

unmiss quick impact project environment solar energy justice court rule of law south sudan united nations

Justice actors in the Greater Bahr El Ghazal region should be able to speed up court proceedings, thanks to a green energy handover by UNMISS that will help combat frequent power outages in court houses through solar-powered electricity. Photo by Roseline Nzelle Nkwelle/UNMISS

6 Jun 2023

Solar powered installations handed over by UNMISS aim to energize justice actors

Roseline Nzelle Nkwelle

WESTERN BAHR EL GHAZAL - Strong justice systems are the bedrock of peace and security.

In the Greater Bahr El Ghazal area, which includes Warrap, Lakes and Northern Bahr El Ghazal, the state judiciary, therefore, plays a key role in ensuring that the rights of every citizen are consistently upheld.

Until recently, however, justice actors here were plagued with an inadequate power supply that delayed their work and ensured that cases were always backlogged. This had a ripple effect, leading to overcrowding in prisons with detainees awaiting court dates and delayed justice for complainants.

“We were using generators to power court houses,” revealed Dudu Jackson Jijen, a judge from the Wau North court. “Often we would run out of fuel and the workday being shortened, especially during the hot dry season,” she added.  

Given that justice delayed is justice denied, the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), decided to step in to lend a helping hand, through its Quick Impact Projects programme.

The UN Peacekeeping mission handed over a solar power assembly—solar panels, inverters, rechargeable batteries and other accessories—to the appellate court and the directorate of legal administration as well as other justice bodies.

Ms. Jackson and her colleagues from the appellate court were delighted attending the handover ceremony, on the margins of World Environment Day, with Santos Pantar, a legal clerk at the appellate court, requesting more support.

“What UNMISS has done has greatly empowered us and I’d like to request for more support in the form of modern equipment such as computers which will make it much easier for us to type, store and retrieve judgements,” he said.

For Norbert Niyodusenga, a Protection of Civilians Advisor with the UN Peacekeeping mission’s Field Office in the region, helping uphold rule of law through environmentally sustainable interventions is a wise way forward.

“This is special project for us at UNMISS because we have used green energy to strengthen the justice system,” he stated. “Our aim as a mission is to build partnerships with civil society and rule of law actors as well as nongovernmental organizations through working collaboratively on such projects.”

Joakino Lovis, from the local implementing partner of this project, Seed for Change and Rural Development Organization, agreed.

“We identified several problems during our assessment before we started the work. Though this project is considered small due to the amount of money put into it, it is going to have a huge impact in the justice system,” he averred, adding, “It’s our contribution to nation building."

A total of five justice institutions have benefited from this small-scale project with major impact.