Organisation Internationale de Droit du Développement

South Sudan: Legal Skills for Civil Society

IDLO’s first legal course for representatives of civil society organizations (CSO), working to promote the rule of law, improve access to justice and support peace initiatives, has launched in South Sudan this week.

Thirty-five participants joined the two-week course, which covers South Sudanese law, general principles of the Constitution and international human rights law, as well as more practical skills like advocacy, report writing, monitoring and interviewing skills.

Civil society organizations play a key role in the promotion of justice, human rights and social cohesion in South Sudan. In some cases they work to educate and inform citizens of their rights and responsibilities, in others they provide paralegal and alternative dispute resolution services.

Nevertheless, the technical capacity of civil society in South Sudan is limited; organizations often need support understanding the legal framework of the country and developing practical skills in English language, advocacy, drafting and interviewing.

The new state’s decision to move from an Arabic-based Shari’a and civil law system to a common law system, with English as the official language, has created capacity gaps for many actors in the justice sector.

IDLO is working with the South Sudan Human Rights Commission and the Human Rights Division of UNMISS to deliver this current round of training. Sponsored by the EU, this latest course is part of IDLO’s ongoing work in South Sudan to improve the rule of law and administration of justice, which has included training public prosecutors, judges, advocates, trainee advocates, judicial assistants and support staff.