UNMISS holds rule of law forum in Jonglei

25 Jul 2013

UNMISS holds rule of law forum in Jonglei

25 July 2013 - Seeking to find ways of curbing arbitrary and unlawful detention in Jonglei, UNMISS today conducted a one-day forum in the state capital Bor.

Arbitrary detention was a major challenge in the state, despite being prohibited by South Sudanese laws, UNMISS Judicial Affairs Officer Mike Dzakuma said.

"This forum (is) part of our advocacy programmes to create awareness of the problem.... and to make recommendations to the government for reform," he said.
Several organizations have reported on the critical need to end arbitrary detention.

A June 2012 Human Rights Watch report said flawed processes, unlawful detentions, and dire conditions in South Sudan's prisons reflected the urgent need to improve the new nation's fledging justice system.

Some 24 participants, from the Jonglei State Legal Administration, South Sudan Human Rights Commission, John Garang Memorial University, UN agencies and non-governmental organizations held in-depth discussions on the challenges and moving ahead to end the practice.

"Anyone arrested or detained on criminal charges shall be brought promptly before a judge or other officer authorized by law," said Kuot Jook Alith, Deputy Head of the Jonglei Legal Administration. "Anyone who is deprived of his liberty by arrest or detention shall be entitled to take proceedings before a court."

UNMISS officials also briefed participants on the role of the mission. They highlighted areas such as protection of civilians, consolidation of peace and security, and efforts to help establish conditions for development.