The National Constitutional Amendment Committee (NCAC) has on Thursday held a key stakeholders forum to review South Sudan’s national security laws.
The forum was called to discuss proposed amendments presented by the NCAC and receive feedback and inputs from the stakeholders, who are drawn from the security forces, the parties to the 2015 Peace Agreement, civil society organizations, United Nations and various other experts.
The laws in focus are the SPLA Act (2009), the Police Service Act (2011), National Security Act (2014), the Prisons Service Act (2011), and the Wildlife Act (2011).
Speaking during the opening of the forum, the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC) Deputy Chairperson Amb. Gen. Augostino Njoroge lauded the efforts by the NCAC to amend and review laws to conform to the 2015 Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (ARCSS).
“In the process of developing amendments to the laws, the Committee adopted a very participatory process which includes consultations with the security institutions and holding an experts meeting,” he said.
The Committee, chaired by constitutional lawyer Mr. Gichira Kibara, will thereafter consider the input by the stakeholders and where necessary revise the proposed amendments before incorporating them into the draft bills to be presented to the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs.
The amendments will also be presented to the Transitional National Legislative Assembly (TNLA) for debate and subsequent enactment.
Amb. Njoroge said amendment to both the Constitution and the law by the NCAC, “are vital to the effective implementation of the Agreement”.
NCAC, whose mandate is derived from the ARCSS, has already finalized and submitted the Constitutional Amendment Bill to the Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs. The Committee has also commenced work on the Political Parties Act and the Elections Act.
On his part, Minister for Defence and Veteran Affairs, Hon. Kuol Manyang Juuk, who officially opened the one-day forum, said the successful implementation of the legal regulatory framework will add credibility to the broader calls for reform within the security forces in South Sudan.
“The fact that we have come thus far, despite the delays hitherto encountered, demonstrates our collective commitments not only to the transformation of the security forces, but also to the honest quest for peace, security and development in this country. Those are fundamental steps towards the implementation of the ARCSS,” he said.
“The review of all the documents related to the security sector is of the utmost priority. This is because there is an urgent need to accelerate and rectify all the amendments and make them into functional laws and transform the security forces into a professional and disciplined force.”
The Minister called on the Parties and stakeholders to agree on timelines to submit their proposals in order to accelerate the constitutional amendment process.