Residents of Kapoeta in Eastern Equatoria have been long plagued by revenge killings, road ambushes as well as entrenched land disputes.
Such embedded issues have resulted in a situation where conflict often escalates due to cases which are beyond the capacity of traditional and community leaders to adjudicate.
Now, 50 traditional chiefs and county executive officers in greater Kapoeta have been trained on conflict management principles to build their capacity in resolving local conflicts.
“Thanks to workshops such as these we are able to settle disputes better at our level and can instantly recommend that a complainant approaches higher courts if necessary. This makes both customary and formal justice chains easily accessible for people,” reveals Joseph Losike, Paramount Chief of Kapoeta North county.
Technical support on South Sudanese laws was provided to classify and differentiate between the roles of statutory and traditional laws; this, in turn, facilitates citizens to have clear direction when seeking legal help.
Mangisto Wani, legal counsel in Kapoeta, who was invited by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS)—this important workshop’s organizer—to facilitate sessions urged participants to understand their particular roles and responsibilities. “Traditional leaders have the authority to decide on minor infractions but when it comes to major instances of criminality such as robberies, rapes or homicides, these must be reported to competent rule of law authorities,” clarified Mr. Wani.
The two days’ workshop aimed to build capacities among community leaders and relevant government officers to promote access justice and rule of law and protect rights of the civilians.
“As UNMISS we want to ensure that this training, has empowered and encouraged you to fulfil your roles and responsibilities in line with the Local Government Act to resolve conflicts in your communities,” said Tahir Cevik, Team leader, UNMISS Civil Affairs.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).