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KUAJOK - 16 May 2021

Special mobile court to start trials in W. Bahr el Ghazal

The president of the special joint mobile court, Justice John Yel Aleu, said last week during a training workshop in Kuajok town of Warrap State, that they will start holding trials next week in the Roc-Roc-Dong area of Western Bahr el Ghazal State. 

According to him, a lot of case files have accumulated over time and this requires that investigators and prosecutors move fast to prepare cases, issue arrest warrants, and prepare to arraign suspects in court before judges. He said cases involving juveniles will be handled under the Child Act of South Sudan 2008. 

"As the court, the investigators and prosecutors will move ahead and prepare cases at Roc-Roc-Dong and after judgment, the court will continue with cases at Babchok which is another Centre for the mobile court,” Justice Yel said. “In any conviction, it depends on your age and those under 18 years will be dealt with according to the Child Act 2008 and will be considered as children and their conviction will not be the same as adults.”

As a compliment to Marial Baai Agreement, over 38 participants participated in a 4 days preparatory training on mobile court proceedings. 

Radio Tamazuj interviewed some participants who think the mobile court will reduce tension among the communities who thought their cases had been forgotten and justice would never be served.  

The chairperson of the Legal Aid Center, Jacob Wol Mayen, said some relatives of deceased people presented their cases without evidence. 

“From a legal point of view, there are no cases presented to the court without evidence. I want to say that we have a Wath-Alel traditional provision that says a group of people in a certain area must be responsible for the dead if someone dies in their territory,” Wol said. 

Luciano Thomas, the chairperson of the Marial Baai Peace Agreement, appreciated the court and said it will help in resolving community issues that the committee cannot handle. 

"On behalf of the Marial Baai Peace Committee, I would like to appreciate the role played by Committee members, the government, and organizations. As the peace committee members, we have managed to solve some of the issues about peace and harmony, we welcome the court a hundred percent to solve the rest of the problems as long as the court is not harmful to our civilians," Thomas said. 

Warrap state representative, Paduol Mangong Paduol, who is the minister of local government, appreciated the project of the mobile court and suggested that it should be extended to other counties. 

The special joint mobile court was established on 16 February 2019 by the three communities of Warrap, Tonj, and Wau during the then 32 states of South Sudan. 

The decision came as a result of cattle migration to areas of Western Bahr-el-Ghazal State which triggered violence between the herders and farmers. The agreement was reached in 2019 and is called the ‘Marial Baai Peace Agreement’ which came out with 14 resolutions to mitigate the negative effects of cattle migration.