UNAMID’s Rule of Law Section (RoLS) last December conducted Criminal Justice Forums in Central and North Darfur States for 60 participants drawn from different legal frameworks including 19 females.
In collaboration with the Central Darfur State Judiciary ,the RoLS conducted during 07-10 December 2020 the forum in Zalingei for 30 participants, including seven females from the Bar Association, Judiciary, Police, Prisons, Civil Society, Legal Administration Department, and the academia.
The section conducted another similar forum from 16th to 20th December 2020 in Kutum, North Darfur, with 30 participants (including 12 females) drawn from the Prosecution, Judiciary, Police, Prisons, the Bar Association and Civil Society.
The aim of these forums was to bring together all stakeholders in the justice sector to deliberate on issues affecting delivery of justice and to address gaps and challenges hindering the smooth administration of justice. The expected outcome was to have significant impact in the coordination and collaboration between criminal justice actors, enhance justice services delivery, increase awareness on the rights of vulnerable categories including women, children and witnesses, enhance awareness about the role and duties of each stakeholder in the functioning of the criminal justice chain and to enhance a protective environment for the protection of civilians, equal access to justice and respect for the rule of law.
Concerns raised by the participants during the forums included increased attacks to civilians, resettlement of internally displaced persons (IDPs) to their original lands, lack of specialists for investigation of serious crimes, lack of proper procedures and facilities to offer medical and psycho-social support to rape and SGBV survivors and inadequate justice actors in the State for efficient delivery of justice services.
During the opening remarks, the Chief RoLS Ms. Francoise Simard urged participants to seize the opportunity and constructively raise concerns affecting the proper administration of justice and come up with actionable recommendations for improving access to justice for all categories.
“We, as United Nations, are committed to support improvement of the rule of law situation in Darfur and sincerely hope that this forum will enhance the capacity of the participants to fully participate in the criminal justice processes more effectively even after UNAMID exit,” she said.
Finally, the participants recommended for the continuity of such forums even upon UNAMID exit, terming it very essential for building trust among the key justice actors.
In his remarks in Zalingei, the Central Darfur Chief Judge Maulana Ahmed Alnour Omar said: “I thank UNAMID Rule of Law Section for continued support to the Judiciary through capacity building and infrastructure development in Central Darfur. Your impact to the people of Darfur is evident for all to see and call upon for more collaboration and support before UNAMID exit.”
Meanwhile in Kutum, the Locality Police Commissioner, Col. Mustapha Omar Abdel Alsadig, in his closing remarks said: “Kutum Locality has faced security challenges in the recent past and this forum is very critical in bringing together all justice actors to discuss ways of curbing the raising insecurity. We expect more cooperation in sharing of information with the police to ensure that perpetrators are held accountable”.
Kutum locality remains significantly a hotspot area with cases of rape and sexual violence, sporadic killings and clashes between Arab nomads and farmers going on unabated.