International Development Law Organization

Access to Justice for Juveniles in South Sudan

18 Oct 2017

The rule of law institutions and the justice sector in South Sudan lack adequate infrastructure, financing and skills, and have limited access to legal resources. Consequently, justice actors are unable to provide assistance and perform their mandates in an efficient way in order to address cases of arbitrary arrests as well as unlawful and prolonged detention of juveniles.  In addition, there are no dedicated judges for cases involving juveniles, and civil society organizations, paralegals and law firms providing legal aid operate on ad hoc basis with limited resources. There is an uncoordinated approach to the provision of legal aid pro-bono services for vulnerable citizens in South Sudan, particularly for juveniles. As a result, many juveniles are detained in police stations or remanded at the Juba Central Prisons for extended periods. There is therefore a need for a special focus on access to justice for juveniles, including the reduction of unlawful and prolonged detention, improved detention conditions and the provision of legal aid pro bono services.

IDLO is implementing a project to improve access to justice for juveniles in South Sudan by strengthening the relevant competencies of those working with juveniles. IDLO will map out and identify civil society organizations and professional associations that can offer legal aid services to juveniles going through the criminal justice system, provide financial, technical and advisory support to civil society, and embed social workers in police stations to assist with juvenile arrests. The project will seek to reduce the arbitrary, unlawful and prolonged detention of juveniles in police cells as well as long remand detention at prisons, and improve case disposal rates through the provision of legal aid pro bono services. IDLO will seek to improve conditions of juvenile detention in the Juba Central Prison.