Home | News    Friday 4 December 2020

S. Sudan military court didn’t meet global standards: UN


South Sudanese soldiers wait for their verdict at the military court in Juba, South Sudan, on September 6, 2018. (AFP photo)

December 3, 2020 (NEW YORK) – A South Sudanese military court which tried government soldiers accused of human rights violations was formed outside the provisions of chapter 5 on truth and reconciliation, and the procedures did not meet international human rights standards as required, a United Nations Panel of Experts said in a report released on Tuesday.

In July 2020, a military court in Yei County of South Sudan’s Central Equatoria State tried 40 South Sudan army (SSPDF) soldiers for killing, looting and other offences, with 25 of them convicted in September.

However, according to the Panel of Experts, the prosecutors failed to investigate the command responsibility for actions of the soldiers.

Other serious forms of human rights violations reportedly occurred in South Sudan’s Jonglei State and the Greater Pibor Administrative Area, Warrap and the Central Equatoria States, while efforts by the UN to have the perpetrators held accountable for such offences failed.

“…The Panel addressed letters to the Government and to the African Union requesting information on the steps taken to implement chapter 5, including the Hybrid Court. Neither responded to the Panel’s requests,” partly read the U.N Panel of Experts report.

South Sudan laws provide for the protection of women and girls from sexual abuse and exploitation and gender-based violence, including rape, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation.

Meanwhile, the U.N. experts said South Sudan’s latest peace effort has stalled, with the coalition government formed in February failing to meet deadlines and President Salva Kiir locking First Vice President Riek Machar “out of the government’s decision-making process.”

“While government officials have attributed the stagnation of the peace agreement to the spread of COVID-19, multiple sources within the government, including ministers and aides close to the president, told the panel that the lack of implementation is a consequence of political disagreements,” notes the 56-page report.

South Sudan is the world’s youngest nation, having gained independence from neighbouring Sudan in July 2011. The country descended into conflict following a political crisis between President Kiir and the country’s ex-Vice President, Machar in December 2013.

A Transitional Government of National Unity was established in February of this year, headed by President Kiir, with Machar appointed as one of the country’s five vice-presidents.


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