JUBA South Sudan
(Xinhua) -- The South Sudan Liberation
Army (SPLA) court on Thursday sentenced ten soldiers to
long-term imprisonment for raping foreign aid workers besides
robbery and murder during the outbreak of renewed violence in
the capital of Juba in July 2016.
Neath Almaz Juma,
chairman of the military court, said five soldiers will serve 10
year prison sentence, and two others were convicted to life
The others will serve between seven years and 14 years.
The verdict brings an end to a trial which commenced on May
30 2017 and had somewhere stalled due to lack of witnesses who
fled the country during the renewed violence between government
troops and rebels allied to former First Vice President Riek
According to military prosecutors, the court invited and
interviewed some of the victims from foreign countries to
finally conclude the widely publicized trial which has been
closely followed by diplomats amid criticism on delays in
expediting justice by the UN human rights division and other
The military court also ordered compensation for the six
victims including a local journalist John Gatluak who was shot
dead by the soldiers at the Terrain hotel located South of Juba.
It ordered payment of 2.3 million U.S. dollars to Michael
Woodward, the proprietor of Terrain Hotel as compensation in
damages caused by the errant soldiers meanwhile six victims of
rape will be paid each 4,000 dollars.
The family of the slain journalist Gatluak who was killed for
belonging to the Nuer tribe of rebel leader Machar by the
soldiers from the Tiger division responsible for President Salva
Kiir’s security will receive 51 heads of cattle as compensation
from the government.
President Kiir and Machar, leader of SPLA-in opposition rebel
group, signed the Aug. 5 peace agreement in the Sudanese capital
to end over four years of conflict which started in December
2013 leading to killing of thousands of people. Millions are
displaced internally and externally.
UN mission welcomes
justice for victims of Terrain Hotel violence
NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS)
on Thursday welcomed the final trail of 10 soldiers found guilty
by the military court for raping and murdering during the
violence in the capital Juba in July 2016.
UNMISS said the victims and survivors of this horrific attack
deserved justice and added that according to evidence raised
during the trial, questions remain about whether accountability
for these crimes reached high enough up the chain of command.
"While the guilty verdicts handed down will not take away the
pain and suffering caused by the appalling acts of violence
carried out by these criminals, it is important that they have
finally been held publicly accountable," it said in a statement
issued in Juba.
It disclosed that the outcome of the trial also sends a
powerful message to other would-be offenders, including members
of the armed forces, that they will be prosecuted and punished
for such violence.
This came after the court ruled that five soldiers will serve
10-year prison sentence, one will serve seven-year sentence and
two 14-year imprisonment.
Two others were convicted on life sentence and one was
acquitted of the charges.
The court also ordered the government to pay damages to the
The verdict brings an end to a trial that commenced in May
2017 but stalled due to a lack of witnesses, who fled the
country during the renewed violence between government troops
and rebels allied to former first vice president Riek Machar.
UNMISS said the witnesses and survivors demonstrated true
courage and patience by participating in the judicial process.
"There were some significant challenges throughout the
process, including the detention conditions of the defendants,
some impediments to the defendants’ access to counsel, and the
trial of these crimes against civilians in a military rather
than civilian court," it said.
"This trial brought to justice offenders involved in the
particular case of the Terrain Hotel where international workers
"However, there remains the broader problem of widespread
sexual and gender-based violence against South Sudanese women
and children," it said, adding that most cases go unreported and
there remains widespread impunity.
UNHCR says 1.84 million
internally displaced in South Sudan
JUBA South Sudan (Xinhua) --
The UN refugee agency said on Tuesday that about
1.84 million South Sudanese are displaced within the country
while nearly 2.5 million have fled and remained as refugees in
Johann Siffointe, United Nations High Commissioner fore
Refugees (UNHCR) representative for South Sudan, said the
world’s youngest nation has experienced continued displacement
since the internal conflict erupted in December 2013.
"Many South Sudanese have been uprooted more than once as
they seek opportunities to restart their lives and risk being
marginalized in the societies where they live," Siffointe said
in a statement issued in Juba.
"The consequences of our collective failure to resolve
internal displacement can be devastating."
Siffointe spoke at a high-level event in Juba where
participants discussed the need to build upon a participatory
process for the development of a national law on internal
displacement, and its full implementation by national
authorities and stakeholders.
The event marked the 20th anniversary of the Guiding
Principles of Internal Displacement, which was developed under
the leadership of Francis Deng and widely accepted as being the
global standard for protecting and assisting internally
displaced people (IDPs).
Addressing the protection needs of the forcibly displaced and
seeking solutions to their plight contribute to greater
stability for South Sudan and whole regions, Siffointe said.
"UNHCR South Sudan will use the 20th anniversary of the
Guiding Principles as an opportunity to support the government
to incorporate the Guiding Principles into their national
legislation," he added.
According to the UNHCR, each year millions of people are
forced to leave their homes and are displaced due to conflicts,
violence and human rights violations.
The UN agency said South Sudan has made positive efforts so
far by becoming a member of the Protocol on Internal
Displacement from the Great Lakes Pact, and there is an ongoing
process to ratify the Kampala Convention.
It said the development of a national law on internal
displacement would provide a concrete instrument to address the
causes and challenges of internal displacement.
South Sudan government defends spending on cars for