28 September 2010 – Fifteen Southern Sudan Prison Services (SSPS) officers from the newly introduced Court Liaison Unit completed a two-day training course on court liaison guidelines in Juba.
Drawn from Central, Western and Eastern Equatoria states, the officers trained in topics like improving communications, cooperation and coordination between prisons, courts, prosecutors and police as well as bettering the criminal justice system.
"We inherited a criminal justice system that was inefficient because there were no linkages. The court liaison guidelines introduced to you in this workshop are very important ... because they will reduce the burden of overcrowding in our prisons," said Deputy Director for Prisons Service Academy Brig. Eluzai Moga.
There are some 1,040 prisoners in Juba Central Prison, half of whom are on remand – remaining in prison for months on end without trial, which places further financial burden on the institution.
The Court Liaison Unit will be responsible for collecting remand data, screening cases and ensuring accurate flow of information to the courts, prosecutors and police.
Brigadier Moga added that similar units should be introduced in the region's remaining seven states.
Solomon Aina, UNMIS Rule of Law Corrections Advisor, told the participants to put what they had learnt in the workshop into practice, adding that UNMIS would monitor their performance and support them where necessary.
"Employing the new knowledge (acquired through the workshop) into the criminal justice system, we will be able to respect the rights of prisoners," said workshop participant Capt. Julius Barnaba.
Similar trainings are scheduled to take place in Malakal and Wau in early October. The training was organized by the UN Office for Drugs and Crime and UNMIS Rule of Law Corrections Advisory Unit to support capacity building of the SSPS.