Second Online Workshop Series for the Lower Courts of South Sudan

The Foundation provides the second of four trainings on the protection of fundamental rights

Following the successful implementation of the Max Planck Foundation’s first remote workshop for the South Sudan Judiciary on 10 and 11 November, the team delivered another workshop to High Court and County Court Judges on 17 and 18 November 2020. The workshop, entitled “The Protection and Application of Fundamental Rights in the Constitution”, is the fourth workshop within the framework of the German Federal Foreign Office-funded project, “Supporting Institutional Access to Justice in South Sudan”.

The two-day workshop was successfully conducted by Foundation staff in both Heidelberg, Germany and Juba, South Sudan. Utilising a combination of pre-recorded thematic lectures and live discussion sessions, alongside supplementary text-based materials, this workshop again introduced members of the South Sudan Judiciary to a topic of importance to their daily tasks. The Honourable Deputy Chief Justice of South Sudan, Justice Dr John Gatwech Lul, and the Director of Training at the Judiciary, Justice Dr Benjamin Baak Deng were both present to open the workshop on 17 November.

The event focused on human rights protection internationally and within South Sudan, and comprised of content-based sessions and a final case study to allow participants the opportunity to practically apply the course content. The content-based sessions covered the history of human rights and their spread, the ways in which a constitution protects fundamental rights, the South Sudanese Bill of Rights specifically, and procedural matters in its application. Each session was followed by a live discussion, moderated by Foundation staff in Heidelberg. The case study session invited participants to engage with practical examples in the application of fundamental rights, specifically within the South Sudanese context.

Many of the conversations surrounded key rights areas, including the rights of women, the rights of the child and the right to equality, with in-depth questions on both practical and theoretical matters. On procedural issues, the jurisdictions of domestic courts, the role of international courts and the possibility of limitations and derogations of rights within the South Sudanese Bill of Rights were key discussion points.

The workshop ended with a number of speeches and much appreciation was expressed to the Foundation staff in Juba and Heidelberg, and also the German Federal Foreign Office and the South Sudan Judiciary, for their support of this new form of workshop delivery despite the ongoing challenges in view of the current COVID crisis.