UNMISS assists SPLA with human rights and justice
21 September 2012 - As part of efforts to transform the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) into a professional force, UNMISS completed a five-day workshop for its members on human rights and military justice today in Juba.
"I assure you that the transformation, to which we have been heading since 2005, ... started right away in the department of military justice," Gen. Joseph Cornelia Loli, director of the SPLA Military Justice Department, said during closing remarks.
He added that South Sudan, as a young nation, needed support and guidance, rather than just criticism.
"We appreciate the support that the human rights and military justice sections of UNMISS have given us for SPLA judge advocates through this training," Mr. Loli said.
He advised the 22 SPLA soldiers who participated in the workshopto use the knowledge they had acquired in their divisions and added, "This is now your weapon."
Participants, drawn from all eight SPLA divisions across South Sudan, included 19 military judge advocates and three military police investigators. Theyshared the challenges they faced, including lack of understanding of their legal role in the military.
"We have noted the challenges in the legal framework and the lack of capacity in many instances," said Richard Bennet, director of the UNMISS Human Rights Section. "It will take a while to get to the ideal situation, but we are pleased to see progress and want to build on it."
Mr. Bennet said the SPLA played an important role in creating the world's newest nation and had a responsibility to continue their contribution to the country's development.