ICJ releases first ever report on the independence of judges and lawyers in South Sudan

Published today in Geneva the new study analyses the current state of the country’s judiciary in statutory courts and the legal profession, in light of international standards on the independence of judges and lawyers.

The 57-page report South Sudan: An Independent Judiciary in An Independent State? also makes concrete recommendations to relevant authorities in South Sudan.

The report is based on research conducted on and in South Sudan, including but not limited to a high-level fact-finding mission, a two-day National Consultation Conference on the theme of Judicial and Legal Professional Independence and Accountability, and the ICJ workshop on fair trial guarantees, all undertaken by the ICJ in Juba between September and October 2012.

The Republic of South Sudan became an independent State on 9 July 2011, after 50 years of almost continuous civil war with the North, rooted in deep cultural, ethnic and religious differences.

Since independence, South Sudanese authorities have taken some meaningful steps towards ensuring that the new-born country has institutions and a legal framework that complies with rule of law principles.

However, as far as the justice sector is concerned, significant institutional challenges remain and several gaps in the constitutional and legal order need to be addressed for South Sudan to comply with international human rights standards on the administration of justice.

Overall, the ICJ report seeks to ensure that ongoing justice reforms achieve the establishment of an independent and better-resourced statutory judiciary throughout the country, and secure the independence and competence of the legal profession, in accordance with international standards on the rule of law, human rights, the principle of separation of powers and the independence of the judiciary and the legal profession.

Based on its findings, the ICJ makes 40 recommendations to South Sudanese authorities pertaining to constitutional and legal reforms, South Sudan’s international human rights obligations, court structure, judicial independence in the statutory courts system, and the legal profession.


Ilaria Vena, Associate Legal Adviser with the ICJ Centre for the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, t: +41 22 979 3827; email: ilaria.vena(a)icj.org

South Sudan-Report on independence of judiciary-publications-2013 (download in pdf)

PublicationsReportsThematic reports