On 1 May 2014, UNAMID Joint Special Representative (JSR) Mohamed Ibn Chambas visited the Malha and Mellit localities in North Darfur to inaugurate a new rural courthouse in Malha and meet with community leaders in Mellit.
In Malha, UNAMID’s Rule of Law Section had partnered with Jibal Midoub Development Organization to build the new courthouse and bring judicial services closer to the people living in the remote area. The inauguration ceremony, attended by Chief Justice Taj Elsir Othman, Head of the North Darfur Judiciary, and Justice Alhadi Ali Abdallah, Head of the North Darfur Legal Department, drew hundreds of people from the locality.
In his speech at the event, JSR Chambas commended the partnership between UNAMID and the North Darfur judicial authorities. “Facilitating access to justice for remote and rural communities is the main purpose of this project,” he said. “Today, we hand over this project to you to provide the opportunity for every man, woman and child to receive judicial services under Sudanese Law.”
The JSR called the new courthouse “a significant step toward achieving peace, security and stability in Darfur,” and noted that easy access to justice services promotes and reinforces the principles of rule of law, ensuring that ordinary individuals have readily available methods of addressing their grievances through peaceful and legal means.
Chief Justice Othman also delivered a speech during the inauguration ceremony, and said that justice is the fundamental basis of ruling nations and is indispensable for the peace, stability and prosperity of countries and communities. “I hope that this step will speed up the elevation of the rural court to a permanent courthouse for the locality very soon,” said the Chief Judge, noting that UNAMID’s contribution has led to the North Darfur Judicial Authority approving the creation of the offices of Prosecutor General and Attorney General in Malha.
In Mellit, JSR Chambas met with local leaders, including representatives from women’s groups and civil society organizations. During his meetings, he emphasized UNAMID’s role in peacekeeping and his role as Chief Mediator in relation to the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD).
“The DDPD remains the main framework for achieving hoped for peace in Darfur,” said the JSR. “I welcome President Bashir’s national dialogue initiative and encourage all parties to engage with it in a serious and determined effort toward achieving peace not only in Darfur but also in the whole of Sudan.”
Additionally, the JSR briefed the Mellit community leaders on the outcomes of the Implementation Follow-up Commission meeting that was hosted on 28 April 2014 at UNAMID headquarters, where Qatari delegates signed a US$88 million grant agreement to finance the recovery and reconstruction priorities of the Darfur Development Strategy launched at the International Donors Conference in Doha in April 2013.