UNMISS workshop seeks to enhance criminal justice in Bor

unmiss rule of law criminal justice south sudan un united nations peacekeepers peacekeeping bor jonglei

A two-day workshop hosted by UNMISS in Bor brought together some 40 participants to discuss ways and means to strengthen the criminal justice chain. Photo by Achol Kur/UNMISS

28 May 2024

UNMISS workshop seeks to enhance criminal justice in Bor

Achol Kur Marial Kur

JONGLEI – The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) recently held a two-day workshop in Bor, Jonglei state.

The forum aimed to strengthen the criminal justice chain.

Some 42 stakeholders from diverse fields, including nine women, took part in spirited discussions.

These included police investigators, public prosecutors, judges, lawyers, prisons officials, civil society representatives working on access to justice and government officials.

“Accountability is key if we are to ensure that all communities have recourse to swift justice,” said Simon Hoth Dual, state Minister for from the state Ministry of Local Government and Law Enforcement.

“Therefore, it is vital for everyone here to understand the respective jurisdictions of customary courts and formal courts,” he added. “Cooperation between different rule of law institutions is equally important too.”

Major topics of discussion included pre-trial case preparation; familiarization with forms used in police stations to file criminal cases; lawful arrests; and humane detentions.

“It was very useful to learn more about all the steps necessary for proper pre-trial case preparations as well as how to correctly report cases to the police,” stated Deng Kuot, Director of Legal Administration.

For civil society representative Bol Deng Bol, upholding human rights of suspects was an important takeaway.

“Through the conversations we have had over the past two days I have learned a lot about the importance of lawful arrests and ensuring that even when suspects are detained, their human rights are not infringed upon. The investigator and public prosecutor play crucial roles in recording confessions and presenting the evidence at court. This is valuable knowledge,” he averred.

Another aspect highlighted by Yom Geu, a women’s representative, was the need to address logistical and procedural challenges. Ms. Geu also requested the government to allocate funding that can cover costs incurred while transporting witnesses and investigators to court.

The final say came from Jok Manyang, a representative of the bench courts.

“Such capacity building initiatives by UNMISS are much appreciated by all of us. We have a collective responsibility to make sure we absorb all the knowledge we can get and spread it among colleagues who did not have the chance to participate in person,” he said.

The forum was facilitated by the UN Peacekeeping mission’s Rule of Law section and supported by UNPOL.