European Union via the French Embassy in Juba
12 October 2012
The majority of countries have abolished or suspended the death penalty. Nevertheless, the death penalty is still applied in 57 states and territories around the world. France, together with the European Union, considers the application of the death penalty to be a fundamental violation of human rights. The loss of human life it entails is irreparable, and no legal system is immune from miscarriages of justice. Furthermore, there is no clear evidence that the death penalty is a useful instrument in fighting crime.
France, together with the European Union, reiterates its position on the application of the death penalty, namely that there should be a worldwide moratorium on its application.
In the Republic of South Sudan the death penalty is still applied, with a reported 181 prisoners sentenced to death in the country.
Although there is a constitutional right to Government-funded legal aid for cases in which the death penalty could apply, most remand prisoners are not aware of such rights and the legal aid system has yet to function effectively.
The Ministry of Justice has stated that an estimated 95% of prisoners go through the criminal justice system without legal aid. Since establishing a legal aid system in 2006, only six prisoners have received Government legal aid.
France recognizes the South Sudanese historical and social context which will make the abolition of the death penalty challenging. Such a decision will require great leadership and significant public advocacy. In the interim, given the widely recognized challenges of ensuring the right to a fair trial in South Sudan, France calls for an immediate moratorium on the death penalty in South Sudan.