National, News

UN to deploy experts to reinforce Justice Ministry

By Charles K Mark

The United Nations has pledged to deploy a technical team to build capacity and train staff at the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs in South Sudan.

Special Representative of UN Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Pramila Patten said the team which will be deployed next month.

According to Patten, the team will expedite the ministry’s work, especially as the ministry has drafted legislation to review and address gaps in protection for victims of conflict-related sexual violence.

This came in a meeting with the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs yesterday.

“I have shared with the Minister that I will be deploying a technical level mission of my team of experts on the rule of law next month, in order to expedite the work, especially as the ministry has in the pipeline a number of draft legislations, which we will be very keen to review, but also to address all the gaps in terms of protection of victims of sexual violence,” said Patten.

She said the team has reviewed all important legislation in the making and the Constitution itself, discussing the need for a comprehensive legislative framework to address conflict-related sexual violence.

The legislation will range from victim and witness protection to legislation addressing the plight of children born of rape and reparations.

They include comprehensive definitions covering different forms of conflict-related sexual violence, including rape, gang rape, sexual slavery, abduction, and trafficking, and ensuring access to justice for all victims.

She recalled that the Government of South Sudan signed an agreement with the UN back in 2014 and extended her full support through a team of experts on the rule of law to support legislative reforms.

Undersecretary in the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Isaac Gabriel Awow admitted that it has been hard to prevent and eliminate cases of conflict-related violence.

He emphasized the importance of harmonizing or domesticating laws to international and regional standards to combat such crimes.

He pledged the Ministry of Justice’s support to tackle crimes by providing capacity building and training for prosecutors and investigators.

Awow also mentioned that the drafting of the bill for compensation and repatriation authority and truth reconciliation is readily done and is waiting to be enacted into law.

The undersecretary said cooperation with the UN is good and will continue to ensure that social violence and conflict can be addressed at all levels.

“In principle, we say that this is a very good cooperation, and we’ll continue to cooperate with them so that we make sure that at least that issue of social violence and the conflict can be addressed at all levels,” he said.

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