29 May 2018, Juba — Forty judges, investigators, prosecutors and social workers countrywide, among them seven women, started a five-day training in Juba – Landmark Hotel – to enhance and upgrade their professional competences in dealing with Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) cases in South Sudan.
The training, funded by the Kingdom of Netherlands,is being organized by UNDP’s Access to Justice project in partnership with the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, the South Sudan National Police Service and Judiciary of South Sudan.
“This training represents an intention to upscale the competencies relating to prevention of SBGV and to enhance competencies of stakeholders including social workers, police, investigators, prosecutors and judges. The intention is to link the various structures within these institutions, that is, the Special Protection Units within the police service, and the Gender and Children’s’ Unit within the Directorate of Public Prosecution in the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs. The training also presents an opportunity to test a manual on the Investigation and Prosecution of Sexual and Gender Based Violence Cases in South Sudan, developed by the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs in collaboration with UNDP”, stated Dr. Rowland Cole, UNDP Chief Technical Advisor to the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs and the Judiciary of South Sudan.
Hon. James Mayen Oka, Undersecretary, Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs urged participants to take note of the training materials and inform themselves with the Child Act as well as the manual on the Investigation and Prosecution of Sexual and Gender Based Violence Cases in South Sudan.
Addressing the participants, H.E. Geert Geut, Ambassador of Kingdom of the Netherlands to South Sudan, stated that behind the letters of GBV there is a world of misery and crimes committed mostly against women based on their gender. He said SGBV is a global problem and “not an African or a South Sudanese Problem”. He added, “it is high time that these issues are being addressed, investigated and prosecuted according to the rule of law.”
Ambassador Geut commended the Government of South Sudan for taking some “very important steps and commitment” to address GBV issues, citing as examples the development of the National Gender Policy, the National Action Plan on Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women and Peace and Security, and the Draft Action Plan to Implement the Joint Communique of South Sudan on addressing Conflict Related Sexual Violence.
The Ambassador underlined that “Commitments are insufficient, we must act – we need stronger and comprehensive responses to address sexual violence, including prevention, detection, accountability and psychosocial support.”
UNMISS representative Mr. Anees Ahmed, stated that the Mission is very supportive of the training on the SGBV. He noted that, “technical assistance to South Sudan police service and judicial institutions to investigate and prosecute sexual and gender based violence is a core mandate of UNMISS, and it is based on the premise of the two foundational pillars of protection of civilians and building durable peace in South Sudan.”
Meanwhile, the representative of the South Sudan National Police Service, General Jackson Elia described the training as timely and significant. “This training today is extremely significant to establish the administration of Justice on issues related to gender violence – police have a role to play – it is important to bring all stakeholders on board.” He said that many cases have not been filed in court because the police have no capacity to investigate SGBV related cases. According to him, with adequate training the police will be able to address this issue.
The trainees are expected to form core personnel supporting their institutions to respond to gender based violence and transfer skills to their peers.by