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APO International

Multi-Partner Circuit Court Project Boosts Access to Justice in Greater Tonj

todayJuly 11, 2024 6

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The recent four-week deployment of Kuajok’s High Court President to run the circuit court established in Tonj South has given the justice system in the area a much-needed fillip. Approximately 60 cases, some of them three years old, were heard, and numerous detained suspects were acquitted and released.

“I’m part of handling juvenile cases and we want to resolve them swiftly. Keeping children in prison for extended periods when cases are straightforward just isn’t right,” commented social worker Angelo Malual, who is pleased with the way hearings have been significantly expedited, thus sparing people from long-term uncertainty.

The circuit court in Tonj South has been established with the support of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) through a larger community violence reduction project funded by the South Sudan Multi-partner Trust Fund for Reconciliation, Stabilization, and Resilience.

A wide-ranging package of activities and vital infrastructure has proved pivotal in restoring peace and drastically reducing violence in the Greater Tonj area, but lately, the court has been the talk of the town.

“I want to express my immense gratitude to UNMISS and other partners for their remarkable efforts in temporarily bringing us a High Court judge. By doing so, we have, among other things, been able to address the urgent issue of our overcrowded prison, where many individuals have been languishing for too long,” said public prosecution attorney Anei Arop, with defense lawyer Samuel Abior echoing her sentiments.

“Progress has been remarkable. I’m genuinely pleased with the way we have tackled our substantial backlog,” he said.

While some perpetrators of minor offences have been released, others were sentenced for serious crimes. Among the cases heard by High Court President Malou Yei, 26 dealt with suspected rape and 19 with murder.

Encouraged by the judicial success, Tonj residents are hoping for more similar deployments that can contribute to proper rule of law gaining a firmer footing in the area.

“Maintaining judicial integrity to ensure fairness is essential, because politics should never be allowed to interfere with the law,” affirmed Malou Yei, who appealed to local administrators to persist in striving for accountability.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).


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