UNMISS empowers rule of law actors in Jonglei to investigate and prosecute cases related to violence against women

UNMISS women gender-based violence SGBV Bor protection peacekeepers South Sudan peacekeeping human rights

A three-day UNMISS workshop in Bor, Jonglei, sought to empower local rule of law actors to deal with cases related to violence against women effectively and efficiently. Photo by Mach Samuel/UNMISS

14 Nov 2021

UNMISS empowers rule of law actors in Jonglei to investigate and prosecute cases related to violence against women

Mach Samuel

Rule of law actors in Bor, Jonglei, have been trained on preventing, investigating, and prosecuting cases related to sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV).

Local police, judges and members of the judiciary, investigators, prosecutors, special protection investigation personnel, customary court officials, youth and women leaders were trained by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) during a three-day workshop here on accountability, upholding the rule of law, thorough investigation and successful prosecution of such cases.

“I urge both formal and informal justice chain actors to embrace the principles of fair trial and include human rights considerations in dealing with suspects and survivors of violence against women,” said the Justice Joh Yiel Aleu, President of the High Court at the conclusion of the workshop.

Participants were sensitized on a wide range of issues related to different forms of abuse against women, including interviewing survivors, evidence gathering as well as related South Sudanese laws and protections offered.

The forum recommended advocacy among communities on SGBV; mobilizing community leaders, youth and women representatives to campaign against early and forced marriages; and promoting gender equality by ensuring women’s voices are included in political participation and peace negotiations.

Other suggestions that came up were establishing additional police posts and revamping Police Community Relations Committees as a mechanism to prevent women’s abuse; establishing a specific desk dealing with sexually-motivated crimes against women at every police station; and empowering investigators with accurate tools and skills to ensure confidentiality, thorough evidence gathering and victim support, even at the community levels.

 “Progress is being registered particularly when it comes to rule of law and accountability. This is one of those interventions that has been designed to support state actors, particularly those working in areas related to accountability, rule of law and security,” said Sambujang Fatty, UNMISS Rule of Law Adviser in Jonglei.

Women and girls have been disproportionally impacted by and are particularly vulnerable to ongoing conflict in South Sudan.

Such trainings are the part of the UN Peacekeeping mission’s ongoing efforts to bridge gaps in this young nation's security and justice sectors. They are designed to enhance a productive nexus between customary and formal rule of law and justice actors in investigating and prosecuting cases related to violence against women.