Law

International law and the self-determination of South Sudan

Published
2012
Author(s)
Solomon Dersso
Institution/organisation
Institute for Security Studies
Topic
NGO associated?
Summary
Africa has long observed taboos against changing the national boundaries given newly independent countries during decolonisation. Whether or not the boundaries were optimal, African leaders thought that trying to rationalise them risked continent-wide chaos. Ironically, there have been few African border conflicts since independence, but the number of internal conflicts has been high ... The debate over Sudan’s future, therefore, clearly could affect all of Africa.1

Assessment of Justice, Accountability and Reconciliation Measures in South Sudan

Published
2014
Author(s)
American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative
Institution/organisation
American Bar Association
Topic
NGO associated?
Summary
The human tragedy that has occurred in South Sudan since mid-December 2013 has been widely
reported. In brief, a political struggle in South Sudan’s dominant political party, the Sudan People's
Liberation Movement, erupted at a party conference on December 15 in the capital of Juba. The
struggle immediately turned into a fast-spreading conflict along ethnic lines. Despite two agreed-upon
ceasefires, large-scale military operations and ethnic killings continue on all sides. Schools, hospitals,
churches and mosques have been targeted, and civilians, including women, children and the elderly,
have been brutally murdered. The American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative has conducted an
assessment to examine existing and potential justice, accountability and reconciliation measures
that could respond to the current conflict in South Sudan. The following report sets forth the main
findings of the assessment and concludes with a detailed set of recommendations that describes an
integrated strategy providing for mechanisms that can investigate and prosecute perpetrators,
establish the truth about how violations occurred and advance reconciliation efforts in the country.

Local justice in Southern Sudan

Published
2010
Author(s)
Cherry Leonardi, Leben Nelson Moro
Institution/organisation
United States Institute of Peace, Rift Valley Institute
Topic
NGO associated?
Summary
Since its establishment five years ago under the
Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), the Government
of Southern Sudan (GoSS) has struggled to create a justice
system that reflects the values and requirements for justice
among the people of Southern Sudan. For both political
and practical reasons, chiefs’ courts and customary law are
central to this endeavor. A key question facing the GoSS is
how to define the relationship between chiefs’ courts (and
the ideas about law that they embody) and the courts of
Southern Sudan’s judiciary, while ensuring equal access to
justice and the protection of human rights.
■ Policy discussions and recent interventions have focused on
ascertainment, whereby the customary laws of communities
(usually defined as ethnic groups) would be identified
and recorded in written form, to become the basis for the
direct application, harmonization, and modification of
customary law.
■ This report empirically analyzes the current dynamics of
justice at the local level, identifying priorities for reform
according to the expressed needs and perceptions of local
litigants. Our findings are based on field research conducted
from November 2009 to January 2010 in three
locations in Southern Sudan: Aweil East, Wau, and
Kajokeji.

Women’s Security and the Law in South Sudan

Published
2012
Author(s)
HSBA
Topic
NGO associated?
Source URL
http://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/Full_Report_3562.pdf
Summary
Customary laws of South Sudan’s many tribes play a critical role in regulating South Sudanese society. During the civil wars customary law provided an important source of cohesion and order in families and communities; it became a means with which responsibilities were enforced and family support was ensured. Yet the reliance on customary practices has also had negative consequences for women. In many countries customary laws do not provide sufficient protection for women, are deeply patriarchal, casting men as the undisputed heads of their families, with women playing subservient roles. While South Sudan’s 2005 Interim Constitution guarantees human rights and equality for all (GoSS, 2005), there is a conflict with numerous rules of customary law which continue to violate women’s rights. As the new state develops its justice sector, drafts new laws, and establishes a functional legal system, it faces the challenging task of reconciling customary law with the guarantees of human rights that are enshrined in the constitution. The UN Handbook on Legislation on Violence Against Women specifically addresses this situation and recommends that “where there are conflicts between customary and/or religious law and the formal justice system, the matter should be resolved with respect for the human rights of the survivor and in accordance with gender equality standards”
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