UNMISS visits Special Court in Yirol West; hands over much-needed supplies
In Rumbek, the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) provided logistic support for the recent establishment of three Special Courts in Cuiebet, Yirol West and Rumbek Centre.
The main aim: To oversee fair and speedy trials for criminal cases in the state particularly cases connected to sectional violence.
As a follow-up to this, the UN Peacekeeping mission, in partnership with the Minister of Parliamentary and Legal Affairs, Mayen Chol Maker, visited the Yirol West Special Court to assess its progress.
In the course of the visit, the mission’s Human Rights Division handed over much-needed legal stationery to the Court’s officials, a gesture designed to boost its efficiency.
“Our job is to expedite trials so that justice can be delivered, and inmates released when appropriate to reduce the burden on the state’s prison system,” said Minister Maker. “We are appreciative of the support provided by UNMISS and I urge prosecutors to prioritize cases that have been pending for a long time,” he added.
Since its formation in August this year, the Yirol West Special Court has successfully tried 16 murder cases.
“One of the ways to sustain the peace and tranquility that is currently prevalent in Lakes states is to fortify the foundations of rule of law and uphold human rights of every individual. These Special Courts enable the state government to achieve both these ends,’’ explains John Oziegbe, a Human Rights Officer from the UNMISS Field Office in Rumbek.
For his part, Malok Makoi, Chair of Human Rights Commission in Lakes state, urged complainants in open cases to be proactive and approach the court for speedy resolutions.
Furthermore, he emphasized that community members must report crimes so that the government and law enforcement officials can act on their behalf.
Special courts are legal bodies constituted by the Chief Justice of South Sudan to deal with cases of conflict as a means of reducing the backlog in the justice system.