Central Darfur have recently established a Criminal Justice Forum in the Zalingei on August 2016, following the success of the first series of forums in El Fasher, North Darfur, in December 2015.
Criminal Justice Forums provide a platform for all Rule of Law stakeholders to discuss and identify solutions to challenges facing criminal justice in the state.
More than 90 participants attended the forum led by the Deputy Wali of Central Darfur, Minister of Education, and Minister of Social Welfare; Director of NISS, Director of Prisons, Police Commissioner; Speaker of the State Legislative Assembly; Chairwoman of Women Union; Military Commander, Chief Judge, Chief Prosecutor, Director of Bank of Khartoum among others.
Deputy Wali of Cetneral Darfur, commended the support of UNDP and UNAMID in launching and providing technical assistance to the forum describing it as “A step forward in the right direction in bringing together all the relevant stakeholders to address Rule of Law issues and concerns in Darfur.”
Deliberations during the forum have generated a number of questions and concerns. Amongst the points raised was the role of the UN in the delivery of Justice in Darfur and the support which the UN provides in that regard.
For his part, NISS Director of the state commended the work of the UN in supporting the work of all justice actors in the state. He further thanked the UN for the continued support that the government institutions continue to receive to enable them to carry out their duties. He, however, pointed out that the onus now lies on the shoulders of the government to ensuring better coordination is in place between the various subdivisions given the international community’s continued support to government institutions in the justice sector in Darfur.
UNDP representative at the forum further re-emphasized UNDP’s commitment to support and complement efforts made by stakeholders and not to take over government responsibilities.
Participants from the native administration, the prison, police posts, prosecution offices, rural courts, and formal courts in the localities further affirmed the need to rehabilitate these institutions arguing that the structures that exist are non-habitable, hence hindering on the delivery of justice in the communities. They further requested additional funding for this rehabilitation and for the provision of security. Participants also called for the enforcement of laws that that clearly identifies their roles and responsibilities to execute their duties accordingly. One of the Omdas went further by saying that the perpetrators of violence have guns, making it difficult for the native administration to carry out their duties properly as they act in fear. Hence, providing them with security will assure the communities of the government’s commitment to protect all citizens without any form of discrimination.
The forum also discussed the issue of community policing and its importance in providing peace and security to the population, calling on the need to implement new approaches to enhance trust between the community and the police.
Amongst the other points that were raised during the forum was the need to capacitate and provide technical assistance to rural court judges in order for them to carry out their work effectively. Women union present at the forum further requested the government to promote and activate the protection of child and family units.