Judiciary still craving for more funds, says Awow

Judiciary still craving for more funds, says Awow
Hummer of peace

The Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs has lamented over a possible financial quagmire, arguing the budget allotted to its docket in the previous budget was insufficient.

This came to light when the acting Undersecretary of the Ministry, Gabriel Awow, launched a cybercrime-specialised court in Juba yesterday.

Despite the lean budget, Awow said the ministry was able to establish the cybercrime court to bring order in consumption of social media.

“It is true that the budget which was allocated to the ministry of justice was not reasonable, but this year we managed to have this facility because we were given a very reasonable budget which can at least make us operate properly.”

Awow revealed that the public prosecutors would quickly resolve the backlog of cases with the new budgetary allocation for the rule of law sector after he was asked about the cases pending in courts across the country.

He asserted that the judiciary is solely to blame for any cases that are still pending, arguing that the ministry of justice is not responsible for the majority of court delays caused by its investigations.

“There are some loopholes, but we managed with this new budget with the understanding that the public prosecution attorneys have now started operating properly, and they will not be lacking in most of the issues,” he said.

“You cannot resolve the whole problem.” But the main problems at the national and state level we are going to resolve, and I am sure this will also provide a very conducive environment for the prosecutors so that they can work and they can investigate cases and prosecute them,” Dr. Awow explained.

The sector for the rule of law received SSP 18.9 billion, or 6.6 percent of the budget, for the fiscal year 2021–2022. The sector is allocated SSP 31.7 billion in the new budget for 2022–2023, which the parliament is yet to approve. It is an increase of SSP 12.9 billion from the previous budget.

The committee on legislation and justice also suggested an additional SSP 7 million be allocated to the public grievances chamber based on the budget review report that was presented by the specialised committee of finance and economic planning, noting that it faces difficulties carrying out its constitutional mandate.

The committee also pointed out that the chamber lacks two crucial departments, among them one for investigators and the other for drafters-only legal services, and that the additional SSP 7 million is intended to fund the establishment of those two departments.

When the First Vice President, Riek Machar launched the Judicial Reform Committee in July, he attributed the weakness in the judicial system to poor working conditions in the section such as low pay, which has caused most professional legal personnel to leave the profession.