By Ajo Noel Julious, Juba, South Sudan
July 6, 2015 (SSB) —- The other day I was at my favorite tea spot by the roadside at Mahata Yei, sipping hot kerekede – hibiscus tea – as speeding bikers and motor vehicles moved by. In local, Juba Arabic, this location is famously known as BARLAMAN – or Parliament in English. It earned this name because both employed and unemployed youth love coming to discussion politics of the day every evening after work. Of course for those who know it, BARLAMAN has history that dates back to the days of the liberation with its ancient spot in Yei town, then known as DNC. Today there are many Ministers and Honorable Members of Parliament in both State and Federal government who pride themselves on having been members of the BARLAMAN. It moved to Juba when the CPA was signed and all these promising young men came to the city and continued it.
As I sat there drinking my hibiscus tea with the traffic throwing dust on us, the discussion intensified around Transitional Justice, Judicial reforms and what really needs to be done and how we should go about it. “It is common knowledge that the Judiciary is understaffed, poorly financed and corrupt. Young well-educated lawyers like you must rescue us,” one of my colleagues asserted. We all know that South Sudan needs Justice but this can only be achieved when we have genuinely reformed our judiciary and enhanced its capabilities. I have had a cocktail of ideas swarming my mind on how I can contribute to make a difference in this search for judicial reform and Justice. So, in the interest of bringing BARLAMAN and its important debates to the public, I’d like to share my thoughts on where to begin with judicial reform in South Sudan.