Unlawful executions increase call for justice reforms
National Salvation Front has this week condemned a recent execution of a South Sudanese man, who is reported to have accidentally killed another citizen over a dispute on repayment of two bucketful of maize. The incident occurred on Lolipiong Island in Terekeka State in 2017.
NAS chairman Gen. Thomas Cirillo has said that unlawful executions and other violations of the constitution are at the core of nationwide agitations for reforms.
“One of the many reasons South Sudanese have risen and taken up arms to defend themselves is the fact that there is no respect for the rule of law. Everything is decided by the president and his associates. When you do not have anybody close to the president to speak on your behalf; even if you could be found innocent when the law is implemented, the chances that you are consequently found guilty are very high. This is why NAS is calling on all South Sudanese to speak up, to rise and take back their country,” said Cirillo.
Cirillo explained that the execution of Andrea Gore in Terekeka, as well as other unlawful execution, was a miscarriage of justice. “Our history of Customary law is very clear and consistent. The more important point, however, is the selective application of our Customary laws”.
The courts refused to adhere to a negotiated customary settlement for ‘blood compensation’ to the family of the deceased, one Bero Wani Roja.
“What is the competence of the judges, including judge Buoth Kolang and what is the confidence of citizens in the current justice system presided over by Kiir, a system in which senior government officials associated with the president are judge and executioner,” Cirillo clarified.
Between May and October last year (2018), the government of Salva Kiir executed more than seven people, including one victim who was a child when he accidentally killed another boy. Shockingly, this child was unlawfully convicted without any legal representation.
A mother who was caring for a young child was also executed during the same period. All these executions are a clear violation of South Sudan’s obligations under South Sudanese law and international human rights law and standards.
These are the real reasons why NAS has received overwhelming support among the local communities. This is the reason why our young cadres are willingly sacrificing their lives, foregoing everything, in order that the next generation of South Sudanese can all enjoy a right to life in a country they can call their home, a country that follows a rule of law
“How can we speak about justice when the government in Juba remains adamant about the rights of fellow citizens. We have lost many people who have been brutally killed in cold blood, executed on orders from top commanders of Kiir’s military and tribal leadership. Many others have been disappeared. Look at the case of South Sudanese refugees who are abducted by criminal gangs in the security infrastructure of host governments and disappeared or deported to Juba where most have never been seen again… These are the real reasons why NAS has received overwhelming support among the local communities. This is the reason why our young cadres are willingly sacrificing their lives, foregoing everything, in order that the next generation of South Sudanese can all enjoy a right to live in a country they can call their home, a country that follows a rule of law,” reflected the NAS chairman, Thomas Cirillo.
Referencing the occasional selective presidential pardons of death row inmates; Cirillo insisted that South Sudanese have a right to a fair, transparent and effective justice mechanism which is based on the laws of South Sudan and “not on the hideous intentions of president Kiir and his associates”.