GBV court will close legal loopholes allowing perpetrators to avoid justice: minister

The establishment of a gender-based violence (GBV) court will close legal loopholes currently allowing perpetrators to avoid justice in South Sudan, a senior official said last week.

We are proud to witness the establishment of the GBV Court, and I want to thank the Netherlands for their support in seeing through this vision. Government institutions, service providers and development partners have exerted a lot of effort towards addressing GBV, said Awut Deng Acuil, the Minister of Gender, Child and Social Welfare.

She was speaking at a roundtable meeting on how institutional frameworks to eliminate GBV can be consolidated. The meeting took place in Juba on Monday.

Awut said the finalized concept for safe homes her ministry prepared in collaboration with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is ready and would soon be presented to the council of ministers.

On his part, the country's Chief Justice, Chan Reec Madut also highlighted the important roles the newly established court will play

The establishment of the GBV court, along with the juvenile court is a big development in the judicial system of South Sudan, he said.

Mary Otieno, the UNFPA country representative, said the organization and its partners developed a manual designed to serve as a practical resource guide specifically tailored to the context of South Sudan, for both investigators and prosecutors of GBV crimes.

Meanwhile, the Justice Minister, Paulino Wanawilla Unango emphasized the importance fast-tracking court mechanisms to avoid case backlogs of GBV issues within the country's judiciary.

Those who shall lead this war against GBV, first and foremost, are our women leaders. We have not yet done enough to end violence against women and we still have a lot to do, he said.

Kamil Kamaluddeen, the resident representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) described GBV as not only a violation of the law, but of basic humanity.

It is part of our collective responsibility to monitor, push for processes, and importantly to act. UNDP will continue to stand with you as a partner as we take action on this issue, he stressed.

Government officials, representatives from the Netherland embassy and officials from UN agencies attended the roundtable meeting.

Source: Radio Tamazuj

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