Use holistic approach on GBV, prosecutor tells police

April 9, 2022 (JUBA) – There is need for a holistic approach from police officers when handling gender-based violence (GBV) related cases in South Sudan, George Maluoc,  a public prosecution attorney said on Friday.

He was speaking at a two-day training for justice actors on women rights, child rights and gender-sensitive police response and reform held in the capital, Juba.

The workshop was organized by South Sudan Law Society (SSLS) with support from GIZ.

“We need holistic approaches in the fight against gender-based violence cases which are rampant in our society today. Such a training should also be extended to police officers and prosecutors all over South Sudan,” said Maluoc.

He said prosecutors should freely interact with police officers and the community.

Understanding South Sudan legal frameworks on women rights, child rights, gender-based violence victim protection, restorative justice, security sector reforms, among others were some of the topic discussed during the workshop.

Oliver Taban, a lawyer with South Sudan Law Society (SSLS) said restorative justice provides an opportunity for victims or communities impacted by crime to express ways in which the crime has harmed them.

“One of the aims of restorative justice is to promote reconciliation between child and victim or community affected by the harm caused,” he observed.

According to Section 153 of South Sudan’s Child Act 2008, children who commit crimes must be dealt with in accordance with restorative justice.

Adriana Tsungu, a police officer, warned law enforcers over extortion practices.

“Police officers should protect civilians, but not extort money from them,” he said.

Tsungu said officers should be regularly assessed and promoted within the force.

Joseph Sebit said such trainings strengthen police on procedural requirements.

“Police should serves citizens and not look at money as a driving force,” he said.

Health authorities in South Sudan said they responded to approximately 330 cases of rape, physical violence and issues related to gender-based violence in 2021.

The laws of South Sudan provide for the protection of women and girls against discrimination, forced marriage and gender-based violence. However, while legal provisions are important, they are often misinterpreted or largely ignored.