Effectiveness of customary and statutory courts in resolving adultery cases in Wau Municipality, South Sudan
Madut, Ayuel, Ayuel
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Adultery is considered a criminal offense which violates the rights of adultery victim across the world. Resolving adultery cases require institutions that are independent and competent. Such institutions include customary and statutory courts found within democratic countries such as South Sudan. The objective of the study was to investigate the effectiveness of customary and statutory courts in resolving adultery cases in Wau Municipality, South Sudan. The specific objectives of this study were to determine the nature of evidence use by customary and statutory courts in resolving adultery case, assess the extent of citizens’ satisfaction with customary and statutory courts’ decisions and examine the challenges customary and statutory courts encounter when resolving adultery cases in Wau Municipality, South Sudan. The study was guided by two theories, the social conflict theory and structural functionalism theory. The study adopted explorative design for survey to examine the research questions. The target population in this study was approximated for 2166 people. This target population includes Police officers, citizens, department of prosecution, customary court chiefs, and statutory court judges within Wau Municipality. The study applied the stratified random technique to bring the same group of elements from which a sample size of 338 respondents was selected via Yamane 1967 formula. Purposive sampling plus simple random sampling method were adopted in selection of participants. The sampled participants were subjected to an interview and focus group discussion. The questionnaire was used as the main primary data collection instrument whose validity and reliability were tested in Rumbek Municipality. A coefficient of 0.5 and above was computed, and it implied that the instruments were valid. Data was analyzed quantitatively by use of descriptive statistics, frequency tables, percentage, pie chart, and means through Statistical Package for Social Sciences while qualitative data was analyzed using narrative and verbatim analysis. The study found out that respondents have agreed on the nature of evidence used by customary and statutory courts in resolving adultery with Mean=1.770, the respondents agreed that Citizenry satisfaction on statutory and customary courts decisions in resolving adultery cases was good and rated with Mean=2.218, the respondents agreed that there are challenges statutory and customary courts encountered in resolving adultery cases with Mean=2.055 and the respondents agreed on the ways of improving the effectiveness of customary and statutory courts with of Mean=2.030. The research recommended the need to encourage legal evidence to be used in courts to prove adultery cases that are committed by the litigants. This evidence should include DNA tests, eyewitness, and exhibits which enabled to resolve adultery cases by chiefs and judges. All courts should ensure citizens’ satisfaction on court decision is paramount through a fair trial of adultery cases for all tribes in Wau Municipality. Ministry of Justice and legal affairs to develop strategies and guidelines that assist in ensuring citizens are satisfied with decisions of adultery cases. Customary and statutory courts should develop strategies to curb the challenges hampering the effectiveness of customary and statutory courts in resolving adultery cases in Wau Municipality. In collaboration with customary chiefs, judges, the Ministry of health and police, customary and statutory courts work to improve the effectiveness of courts in Wau Municipality by enhancing proper medical tests and investigation of adultery cases.
Africa Nazarene University