Civil society rues burden of toothless GBV court

Civil society rues burden of toothless GBV court

An activist fighting the gender-based violence menace decried the inefficacy of the two Gender-Based Violence Courts in Juba, which she says has worked against the gains made in the campaign.

The judiciary operationalised the country’s first gender-based violence and juvenile court, as a commitment to end impunity for gender-based crimes and hold perpetrators accountable in South Sudan in December 2020.

But, two years later, Lorna James Elia, executive director of Voice of Change, claims that neither institution has accomplished much in terms of justice.

“The GBV court is not functional; there is a backlog of rape cases…”Casefiles get lost, cases are delayed, and nobody can tell you where the file went,” Elia laments.

She says that one of the weaknesses of the court is that there is no mechanism for follow-up and monitoring of the cases, and the GBV cases have doubled since the courts were established.

“The aim of the GBV court was to hasten justice, but the suspects are not being brought to justice, and we are asking ourselves where we can get the legal fees to get our own lawyers,” she says.

She says that in Juba alone, there are 100 cases unaddressed, and the stigma that comes with reporting has silenced the voices of the victims.

South Sudan has been on the spotlight over its failure to address human rights violations that mostly target civilians. The international community has raised a red flag over the failure to serve justice to victims of rape and abduction.