The traditional chiefs handling GBV cases according to the customs and traditions are supposed to be offered in-service training, Ajonye Perpetua, the Chairperson of South Sudan Law Society, said during the civil society lawyers’ dialogue on anti-gender-based violence legislation at Dembesh Hotel over the weekend.
“If the chief courts have authority over GBV cases they need to have to direct victims for medical checkups and have results as evidence. We are not too harsh on customs and traditions, we need to give in-service training for chiefs to understand that GBV is an offence,” said Perpetua.
South Sudanese legal system is considered pluralistic where customary law is being applied besides statutory law. Understandably, customary law should be applied by courts if it is not contrary to justice.
“For us to succeed, we need also to propose for in-service training, especially for the customary courts, the customary courts are supposed to handle serious matters of gender-based violence,” said Perpetua.
In 2020, the government of South Sudan and partner organizations established mobile courts to deliver justice, including to the victims of GBV.
However, this seems to have done very little to curb the prevalence of GBV, especially in states where the courts have not arrived.