Special courts officials trained in Bentiu

1 Jul 2013

Special courts officials trained in Bentiu

29 June 2013 – The appointment of judges drawn from the country's formal justice system to preside over two recently established special courts in Unity State will improve the rule of law, the state's High Court President William Kaya Pacifico said in Bentiu today.

Judge Pacifico spoke at a one-day training workshop that was organized for 21 officials of those special courts with support from the UNMISS Justice Advisory Section.

Inaugurated in the Unity State counties of Mayom and Leer on 30 May, these special courts were created to adjudicate cases of inter-communal conflict. Headed by county-level judges, the tribunals also include traditional chiefs.

"Working alongside the formal judges will help the chiefs to better understand how to deliver and administer justice," said Judge Pacifico.

The training workshop in the Unity State capital focused on the principles of fair trial, justice administration, investigations and evidence management.

"Knowing the law ... (empowers) me because I'm sure what I do is according to the law and nobody can tell me to do otherwise," said Rebecca Daklat Kuenywar, a traditional chief.

Ms. Kuenywar noted that the leadership of judges from the country's formal justice system in those special courts would also enhance the tribunals' independence.

"I have learnt today what it means to be impartial as a judge and that the proxy detentions are against the law," she said, referring to the practice of arresting the relative of a suspect whose whereabouts are unknown.