United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS)

On 24 February 2022, UNITAMS in conjunction with the Peace Studies Center at the Elfasher University and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), organized a one-day Focused Group Discussion on Justice and Reconciliation in Darfur, in line with the implementation of the Juba Peace Agreement (JPA) provisions related to justice and reconciliation. Around 30 participants, representing civil society organizations including women, and native administration from across North Darfur State, participated in the event.

The forum, aimed at equipping the participants with mechanisms to engage in the rule of law and transitional justice processes in Darfur, in accordance with international standards and norms. It also served to identify challenges that confront the implementation of the Juba Peace Agreement (JPA) as well as raise awareness on the agreement’s provisions and processes in the implementation. The forum was held at the Human Rights Center, Faculty of Law, in Elfasher University in North Darfur.

Head of the UNITAMS Regional Office in Darfur, Abimbola Aina, emphasized UNITAMS’s unwavering support to the Sudanese people on their path to a political transition, freedom, peace and justice “UNITAMS backs the implementation of the JPA and any other agreements that might emerge in the future. This is why we are organizing this forum to bring together justice and peace stakeholders to deliberate on justice and reconciliation provisions of the JPA and implement them in line with the international standards and norms, and to assess whether restorative justice or punitive justice is the best mechanism, or a combination of both to address human rights violations and other crimes that have been committed in Darfur,” she said.

“UNITAMS strongly believes the engagement of civil society and the native administration, together as key actors in the advancement of the rule of law and promotion of justice, will enable us to solicit thoughts, especially on the notion of reconciliation as a means of justice,” according to Aina.

The UNITAMS-facilitated workshop was a platform for participants to deliberate on issues of transitional justice, accountability and reconciliation in the Darfur region, national justice mechanisms, the structure of Sudan’s judiciary, formation of courts and jurisdiction procedures, as well as how international standards and norms of reconciliation can be implemented in Darfur; the strength and weakness of the JPA’s provisions in relation to justice and reconciliation and other aspects.

“Realization of justice is crucial, particularly for women who have suffered a lot during the war in Darfur when women lost husbands, fathers, and sons. We, as civil society, will work hard with all community segments to achieve establishing a democratic transition and independent institutions that realize justice,” said Zahara Mohamed, a participant from one of the civil society organizations represented in the forum. She expressed hope that peace may prevail in Sudan in general and Darfur in particular.

To realize justice and reconciliation, participants recommended the establishment of relevant commissions and the implementation of the security arrangements as stipulated in the JPA; building trust among community members; reformation of justice institutions; combating corruption; launching community awareness-raising campaigns on transitional justice; in addition to other recommendations.

At the conclusion of the workshop, Mohammed El Mahjoub, Deputy Chairman of the Sudanese Lawyers Steering Committee in North Darfur State, expressed profound gratitude and sincere appreciation to UNITAMS and partners for facilitating such platform, noting that the workshop was beneficial for them to be aware of the JPA provisions, indicating that extra workshops are needed for more deliberations in the future.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS).

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