International Development Law Organization

South Sudan

Statehood came to South Sudan in mid-2011, accompanied by international goodwill. But the conflict which erupted in late 2013 inflamed latent political and ethnic tensions. This resulted in gross human rights violations and piled further pressure onto the fledgling justice delivery system. A peace agreement was signed in August 2015 under the auspices of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the African Union to end hostilities, and detailing the formation of a government of national unity.  Justice sector institutions, including the Judiciary, the Ministry of Justice, the Private Bar and the College of Law at the University of Juba, now have a vital role to play in restoring and strengthening the rule of law, and ensuring accountability and reconciliation.

IDLO is building the capacity of justice institutions and their staff to operate in South Sudan's new English-language, common-law legal system, as well as providing uniform, constant and standardized training to the country's legal and justice professionals.

Access to Justice for Juveniles in South Sudan

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.

Facilitating access to justice

Although South Sudan attained independence from Sudan in 2011, the country has since witnessed violent conflict and military infighting following subsequent political crises. The fragile political situation and ongoing conflict in the country has made it difficult for ordinary citizens to seek and access justice. Almost 90% of disputes are resolved in informal justice systems, and the uneven legal training in both Sudanese Sharia law and English common law have resulted in a weak legal and judicial system that has failed to provide effective legal remedies to South Sudanese citizens.

Evaluation of the Project “Enhancing the Capacity of the Judiciary of South Sudan"

As part of IDLO’s continuous commitment to accountability and results-based management, IDLO is pleased to share this Evaluation Brief (summarised evaluation report):  “Enhancing the Capacity of the Judiciary of South Sudan”. The evaluation has been conducted by independent evaluation experts, supervised by IDLO’s Evaluation Unit. This exercise utilized a theory-driven, mixed-method approach, in line with the IDLO Evaluation Guidelines and OECD DAC standards.

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Key Initiatives

  • 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.

  • Although South Sudan attained independence from Sudan in 2011, the country has since witnessed violent conflict and military infighting following subsequent political crises. The fragile political situation and ongoing conflict in the country has made it difficult for ordinary citizens to seek and access justice. Almost 90% of disputes are resolved in informal justice systems, and the uneven legal training in both Sudanese Sharia law and English common law have resulted in a weak legal and judicial system that has failed to provide effective legal remedies to South Sudanese citizens.

  • As part of IDLO’s continuous commitment to accountability and results-based management, IDLO is pleased to share this Evaluation Brief (summarised evaluation report):  “Enhancing the Capacity of the Judiciary of South Sudan”. The evaluation has been conducted by independent evaluation experts, supervised by IDLO’s Evaluation Unit. This exercise utilized a theory-driven, mixed-method approach, in line with the IDLO Evaluation Guidelines and OECD DAC standards.

  • As a long-term partner of the College of Law at the University of Juba, IDLO helped align the teaching system with South Sudan's new legal context and regional standards. With the majority of its justice sector professionals educated in Islamic/civil law, South Sudan faces the dual task of increasing its overall population of qualified legal professionals and simultaneously retraining practicing lawyers and prosecutors.

  • IDLO is working with the Ministry of Justice to develop training methodology and curricula for both general and specialized, skills-based courses for Ministry of Justice public prosecutors, legal counsels and public and private lawyers, and members of civil society organizations. By developing legal training materials for justice professionals and working to establish a pool of qualified national trainers to engage in future legal training activities, IDLO is supporting the establishment of a Legal Training Institute.

  • With a reliable justice system, the Judiciary of South Sudan plays a vital role to secure lasting peace and stability in South Sudan. To this end, IDLO is working with the Judiciary of South Sudan to enhance the capacity of judges, judicial support staff and judicial assistants in procedural, substantive legal subjects and English language skills. This capacity building serves to improve the quality and delivery of judicial services in line with the country’s laws and international standards.

  • The National Constitutional Review Commission of South Sudan continues to consult with stakeholders and the public on the development of a Permanent Constitution for South Sudan. In the past, IDLO supported the National Constitutional Review Commission by providing technical expertise in particular aspects of the Constitution’s structure and substance. IDLO provided ongoing secretarial support to the coordination of the Commission’s activities.

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