By Mary Poni
The Judicial reforms processes are of a kind feature in many countries all over the world, the need to take a close look at a country judicial structure with its judicial effectiveness and the institutional sectors of the judiciary is a health exercise in every nation, said the Managing Director and Head of sub-Saharan African Project, Max Planck Foundation, Dr Kathrin Maria Scherr.
The induction of the JRC of South Sudan kicked off on Monday, which brought together members from the Ministry of Justice, IGAD Special Envoy to South Sudan, Ambassador of the delegation of the European Union to South Sudan, Chief Justice and the Minister of Justice.
Maria said, Countries all around the globe continually seek to improve their judicial system adding after all, the improvement, “We make in our justice system that will have direct effect on fundamental aspect of the way in which our societies are governed”.
“Informed by a discussion on human rights, access to justice and good governance, the judiciary branch must Strive to achieve the highest standard of integrity, accountability, professionalism and efficiency” she noted, adding that, “Judicial reform therefore, asked to remain at the center of its stage when there is a discussion about the progress in any Country” said Maria.
South Sudan has many competent and diligent judges and has established silage to judicial framework after the country’s independence in 2011.
However, as a young nation, South Sudan has also faced hardship and conflict for a decade of its independence which naturally became challenges for the justice’s sector.
The Max Planck Foundation has closely worked with the judiciary of South Sudan over the past sixteen years.
Maria said they have collaborated with the constitutional panel final of the South Sudan on the Supreme Court in drafting its rules, and conducted countless training seminars with judges from all levels of courts, from the county courts, to the courts of appeal as well as the supreme courts.
“We are busy working with the editorial board of the South Sudan judiciary in publishing the Country’s first ever law report, however, all these would have not been possible without the trust and support that we received for our work all those years from all the justices and the judges”, she added.
With the mandate from the Judicial reform having been clearly spelled out in the peace agreement, the judicial reform committee is an independent body trusted with the task to make recommendation of the judicial reform in the country which will let to the judicial service commission and sphere the peace agreement to undertake an appropriate judicial reform and restructuring of the judiciary during the transitional period.
“As this country embarks on the ambitious reform process, which we have been asked to support, the Max Planck will continue to stay truthful to its principles of operations to support and facilitate the process with our legal expertise and knowledge, thereby, we’ll do what we do best to offer technical legal research, analysis and legal advises in a neural and E-political fashion from the background which aims at enabling the JRC to successfully fulfill its mandate,” Maria affirmed.
Christian Bader, the Ambassador of the delegation of the European Union to South Sudan said the roadmap is one of the major achievements that they could see in the last days.
“As an observer from the European Union part of R-JEMC, we will have to talk about the roadmap. Our concern is that, we have all these issues and including the judiciary, necessary among of commitment and mobilization”, he notes.
“What I have seen in this country is that, people are really mobilized and also politically, this is what I hear that now we do have a momentum, people want this thing to happen and have now the dateline set by the roadmap and everybody is serious about it”, said Bader.
There are a lot of reforms mentioned in the peace agreement and we’ll never say it is not realistic rather an achievement that has never been done in the history of this country and we won’t let the South Sudanese to be able to do it in one, two to three years’ time, it’s impossible because it is a process and we all know that. We would feel much more comfortable if we would take it in to consideration the possibility of what we want to do.
Amb. Bader said the other condition affecting the peace implementation is the need to mobilize the necessary financial resources and this is where they are trying to help as much as they can.
“We’ll keep on assisting South Sudan with all the resources that we can mobilize because at the end of the day, it’s what matters as we rely on the commitment on the government of South Sudan at the highest level, saying that these necessary resources will be mobilized,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Justice Ruben Madol Arol expressed his gratitude for the support of the partners saying they feel honored as Ministry of Justice to participate in activities relating to the issues of the agreement particularly the JRC.
“We note with satisfaction that on the 28th of July, JRC was endorsed by the government of South Sudan officiated by the First Vice President that what we need was a necessary step to take to realize that more importantly, building block in roles of the implementation of the agreement”, he said.
“To us in the Ministry of Justices, we are very much aware that the reform of the judiciary of South Sudan is at the heart of the reform of the justice sector, therefore, the Ministry of Justice is a primary beneficiary of the reforms,” Justice Madol noted.
He stated that the Ministry is going to be committed to overseeing the reform exercise and they will be willing to participate when ever asked in the process of the reform.
“In these twenty-four months, we are committed to seeing in to it that all the aspects related to the Judicial reform, constitutional process, transitional justice mechanisms will bear fruits and we’ll see it working,” he added.