21st January 2020
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Crippled justice system report is “nonsense”

Author: Emmanuel Akile | Published: 3 months ago

Inmates at Juba Central Prison | Credit | HRW

The Minister of Information has described as “nonsense” the new report by human rights watchdog which suggests that the justice system in South Sudan is being manipulated by the leaders.

The report says that the lack of independence has crippled the courts and rule of law across the country.

On Monday, Amnesty International stated that government officials have allowed impunity to flourish over “monstrous crimes”.

The report titled: “Do you think we will prosecute ourselves: No prospects for accountability in South Sudan” reveals that prosecutors only follow the directives of the executive.

It states that President Salva Kiir, at present, can confirm or reject judgments by the military courts, effectively giving him veto powers over what is supposed to be an independent judicial process.

The report argues that lack of prosecutorial independence has impeded the prosecution of serious human rights violations perpetrated since 2013 in the context of the conflict.

The government has however questioned the intention of the report.

Michael Makuei, who is the official government spokesperson, told Eye Radio on Tuesday that the report is meant to cast doubts on the role of the government in implementing the peace agreement.

“All these are nonsense, we are now seen to be moving towards the implementation of the agreement and that the R-TGoNU is scheduled to take place – to be established on the 12th of November,” Makuei said.

“And as such, they’ve started to create all these stories in order to discredit the government and say ‘the current government is not credible, there is no peace in South Sudan’.”

Amnesty International report recommended the establishment of the hybrid court as provided for by the revitalized peace agreement.

It also asks the government to conduct judicial and legal reform to improve the domestic justice system’s independent ability to address impunity for crimes committed in the context of the ongoing conflict.

“Anybody who writes at this particular moment is writing a negative report simply because they don’t want peace to prevail in South Sudan,” he added.

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