Member States step-up support for justice in field missions
Posted: Friday, 24 May 2013, New York | Author: Office of Rule of Law and Security Institutions
The Criminal Law and Judicial Advisory Service of the Office of Rule of Law and Security Institutions, DPKO, held a briefing with countries contributing justice officers to United Nations Peacekeeping Operations and Special Political Missions. Thirty-one Permanent Missions, the European Union and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) participated to this event.
The meeting reflected what Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had called for in the High Level Meeting of the General Assembly on the Rule of Law, held in September 2012. He called on Member States to “support peace by strengthening UN initiatives in the field of the rule of law: training police, improving corrections and enhancing the judiciary in fragile and conflict-torn countries around the world.”
In this spirit this meeting was called to give an in-depth briefing on the impact of Government-provided personnel (GPPs) working in the justice sector in Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, and South Sudan and to encourage continued support. Currently, there are 67 authorized GPP positions in these countries, and most personnel are co-located with national counterparts.
Representatives from the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) described the work of the Prosecution Support Cells in the eastern part of the country. Since 2011, personnel in these cells have supported military justice authorities in the organization of 19 mobile courts adjudicating 243 cases. Of these cases, 167 concerned sexual and gender based violence. These mobile courts convicted 136 suspects.
In Haiti, two justice experts are co-located with UNDP staff in the first instance court of Port-au-Prince. These officers are assisting in addressing cases of prolonged or illicit provisional detention of detainees, which is a major issue in the country. They provide institutional, logistical and technical advice to help determine the legal status of detainees and help build capacity by assisting magistrates and prosecutors in the re-organization of registries to streamline case file management.
In Côte d’Ivoire, one justice expert is currently being deployed to assist national authorities in conducting judicial inspections and in strengthening accountability mechanisms.
In South Sudan, eight government provided personnel within the Judicial Advisory Section of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) are undertaking advisory and mentoring activities in support of national prosecutors and defence lawyers, also working with the authorities to review hundreds of cases of prolonged pre-trial detention. Personnel within the Military Justice Advisory Section of UNMISS are supporting the Government to improve its military justice system. UNMISS aims to co-locate an additional 10 military justice specialists in the Directorate of Military Justice, the General Headquarters of the Army and in military Divisional Headquarters in the states.
The Assistant Secretary-General for Rule of Law and Security Institutions Dmitry Titov presided over the meeting and commended the strong commitment of Member States and the leadership of the Secretary and Deputy Secretary-General on this important United Nations work.