January 29, 2014[South Sudan] — According to the former vice president, the investigation was a “one-man made finding” hence lacking in many aspects.
“Kiir and Minister of Justice’s irrelevant investigation verdict today on detainees is expected,” pointed out Machar.
He says that the investigation is not only relevant but also executed by a party that is set to gain from it.
“Kiir did it all alone. The outcome is obsolete,” noted Machar in a social media message.
This comes after the South Sudan’s government through the minister of Information, Michael Makuei Lueth, revealed that it had completed investigating the 11 senior members of the country’s ruling party, held since mid-December last year, on accusations of aiding an alleged coup attempt.
In the recently signed Cessation of Hostilities Agreement, the IGAD mandate has it that the political detainees’ situation should be reviewed so as to facilitate the peace talks and create a common ground for a final agreement.
Rebel leader Dr Riek Machar had used the detention of the ministers as a scapegoat for not signing the cessation of hostilities till the detainees themselves assured the IGAD envoys that their situation should not hamper the talks.
However, even after the signing of CoH, Machar further stated that it would be only be complete if the detainees are released.
According to the chief negotiator of the government delegation and minister of Foreign Affairs, Nhial Deng Nhial, the detainees will go through a legal process before being released.
Other reports have showed that seven of the 11 detainees will be released to aid the talks but Mr. Nhial believes that justice has to first be served.
“They shall not be held indefinitely; South Sudan is not a police state,” Mr. Nhial was quoted as saying.
“We are a young country, but we have institutions and any action against the law requires due legal process including investigation and accountability. For now, there is no imminent release of the detainees.
” On the contrary, Machar believes that there will be no justice done on them since the investigations and the court process itself are all questionable.
“Salva Kiir and court cannot be differentiated. Thus the rights of the detainees would be compromised,” Machar said in an earlier message.
However, President Kiir is determined to prosecute the political detainees regardless of calls from IGAD and the US to free them.
“On the issue of releasing the political detainees, we have to follow legal procedures according to the constitution of South Sudan,” Kiir has always emphasized.
The detainees in question include: Deng Alor, former minister of cabinet affairs, Pagan Amum, former SPLM secretary general, Cirino Iteng, former minister of culture, Madut Biar Yel, former minister for telecommunication and postal services, Oyai Deng Ajak, former minister for national security in the office of the president, Majak D’ Agoot, former deputy minister of defence, Chol Tong Magay, former governor of Lakes state Ezekiel Gatkuoth Lul, former ambassador to the United States, John Luk Jok, former justice minister, Kosti Manibe, former minister of finance, and Gier Chuang Aluong, former minister of roads and bridges.