UNAMID on 22 November 2018 handed over a Rural Court in Nertiti, Central Darfur to the Sudanese Judiciary. The project, supported by the Mission’s Rule of Law Section, is the first rural court in western Jebel Marra and is expected to serve an estimated population of 180,000 people.
The construction of the facility is in line with UNAMID’s mandated activities to strengthen rule of law in Darfur, as outlined in UN Security Council Resolution 2429.
Speaking at the occasion, UNAMID Sector Central Head of office, Lameck Kawiche, emphasized the importance of rule of law in maintaining peace and stability in Darfur.
“Peace and stability lie in the hands of the community. You have a role to play in maintaining stability and helping to prevent a relapse into conflict,” he said, adding that UNAMID would support the construction of a prison in Nertiti and rural courts in Rockero, Guldo and Golo, as well as prosecution offices in Nertiti and Golo as part of concerted efforts to strengthen rule of law in the area.
Chief Judge for Central Darfur, Shams-Eldin Mohammed Adam, expressed his appreciation to UNAMID for supporting justice institutions in Central Darfur and Sudan in general. He announced that a district court judge had been deployed to operate from the new facility with effect from 1 December 2018.
“The independence of the Judiciary is very important as outlined under the 2005 Interim Constitution,” he stressed.
On his part, Nertiti Locality Commissioner, Mr. Hassab-Alnabi Ismail, commended the initiative as key towards maintaining law and order in the area. These sentiments were echoed by the Chief Prosecutor for Central Darfur, Musa Daw-Eibet Musa who emphasized that “the presence of justice institutions within the locality has contributed immensely towards peace and stability.”
The Head of the Native Administration and the Umda described completion of the court as a great milestone towards peace and stability in the region. They further expressed appreciation to both UNAMID and the Sudanese government for continued support in their quest to reconcile conflicting parties through mediation and other legal mechanisms. They also urged the local community to live harmoniously, resolve arising disputes amicably and strive to maintain the peace and harmony currently experienced in the locality.
Rural courts serve as the entry point to the judicial system in Sudan and are responsible for promoting dialogue and mediation as key avenues towards achieving justice, respect for rule of law and reconciliation over disputes arising from land boundaries, water and cultivation of land as captured under Article 52 of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD). Further, customary courts form part of the formal judiciary structure in Sudan through the 2004 Town and Rural Courts Act.
Local communities have confidence in them as most rural court judges are well versed with local customs and traditions, hence they are well placed to handle inter-communal conflicts related to competition for natural resources.