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2012 | HSBA - Women’s security and the law in South Sudan

Following years of war, South Sudan has limited resources to devote to the formal justice system, with the consequence that people rely mostly on traditional courts applying customary law. The result is the parallel operation of different legal frameworks. Customary law consists of numerous unwritten bodies of law that have regulated South Sudan’s tribes for centuries.. Reparatory mechanisms are not strictly-speaking victim based but aimed at maintenance of social norms. This article states that most sexual violence cases do not make it to the courts because women are often made to marry their rapists, a customary law remedy for the fact that the woman has been rendered otherwise unmarriageable by the violation. When sexual violence cases are taken to court the chances of a conviction are low due to the poor investigative capacity of the police, evidentiary challenges, and court biases. When perpetrators are convicted the punishment is often mild; a short prison term or the payment of compensation (page 6).