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Rights body wants ex-rebel spokesperson before Hybrid Court

September 12, 2017 (JUBA) - The Centre for Peace and Justice (CPJ) has urged the international community to intervene in the case of James Gatdet Dak, the former rebel spokesperson now in detention.

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James Gatdet Dak, Riek Machar’s spokesperson ’Reuters photo)

CPJ, in a statement, said it wanted the court case against Dak suspended until the long-awaited Hybrid Court is established.

"The South Sudan Judicary has no mandate to sentence James Gatdet because all crimes related to current conflict will be taken care of by the Hybrid Court,” said CPJ’s coordinator, Anthony Tito.

"Gatdet trial case is because of the conflict and therefore before formation of Hybrid Court, Gatdet should be handed over to African Union until the formation of the court by the African Union,” he added.

According to the official, once the 2015 peace agreement is resuscitated, then the Hybrid Court will be formed and all crimes committed against individuals or civilians during war will be tackled.

"I urge the IGAD [Intergovernmental Authority on Development] and the Troika countries to speed up the high revitalization forum to resuscitate signed peace deal that will enable the formation and operationalization of the hybrid court,” further stressed Tito.

"I call on the Africa Union and the Troika countries to work hand in hand to secure the release of James Gatdet,” he added.

In November 2015, Dak was arrested by plain-clothes police at his Nairobi residence and held at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport police station before his deportation to Juba, South Sudan.

Various human rights bodies strongly condemned Dak’s deportation with many saying the move contravened the Geneva Convention.