The Foundation Conducts its First Online Workshop for the Lower Courts of South Sudan

Two-day training on the protection and application of fundamental rights in the Constitution

On 10-11 November 2020, the Max Planck Foundation in collaboration with the Judiciary of South Sudan organised a workshop for the judges of the High Courts and County Courts. The workshop, on the topic “The Protection and Application of Fundamental Rights in the Constitution”, was the third to be conducted within the framework of the project Supporting Institutional Access to Justice in South Sudan funded by the German Federal Foreign Office for judges of the lower courts.

This two-day workshop was conducted via video conferencing with Max Planck Researchers in Heidelberg and sixteen judges of the Lower Courts participating from Juba. It was the first video conferencing workshop conducted by the Foundation’s South Sudan team, adopting a combination of pre-recorded thematic reviews and live discussions.

The workshop was opened by the Deputy Chief Justice of South Sudan, HE Justice John Gatwech Lul, and the Director of Training at the Judiciary, Justice Dr Benjamin Baak Deng.

For each session, the pre-recorded videos provided a technical introduction and content overview to the workshop topics on: the history and development of human rights, the constitutional protection of fundamental rights, the South Sudanese Bill of Rights, and procedural considerations in the application of the Bill of Rights. The live discussions afterwards were moderated by the Foundation’s staff members in Heidelberg and offered an opportunity for direct interaction.

During the live discussions, the participants were engaged in discussions about, among others, the jurisdiction of courts to hear and rule human rights cases, the scope and content of women’s and children’s rights, as well as limitations of and derogations from fundamental rights.

In the final case study session, which was held as a full live discussion, the participants were engaged in a discussion on the procedure for the referral of human rights matters to the Constitutional Panel of the Supreme Court.

At the end of the workshop, the Director of Training at the Judiciary and the Deputy Chief Justice of South Sudan commended the format of this first virtual workshop and emphasised the importance of its topic for the day-to-day work of the judges of the High Courts and County Courts.