Feb 25th, 2018(Nyamilepedia) —– Two days ago, on Friday 23rd, 2018, a South Sudanese high court sentenced William John Endley, a former colonel in South African army, who came to South Sudan to help with implementation of the Agreement of Resolution of the conflict in South Sudan(ARCISS) that collapsed in July 2016.
In a press release extended to Nyamilepedia, the South Sudan Human Rights Society for Advocacy(SSHURSA) strongly condemn the death sentence of Ex-colonel William John Endley.
According to the Executive Director, Biel Boutros Biel, SSHURSA views Endley’s death sentence as politically motivated.
“Even if these charges were to be true, still Endley would fall within the categories to be released. He would be regarded as a political prisoner who should have been released as provided for under Article 9(2)(c ) and (4) of the Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities, Protection of Civilians and Humanitarian Access which stipulate for the release of all political prisoners and detainees within 14 days from the date the Agreement comes into effect.” Biel Boutrus said.
On 21 December 2017, the government of President Salva Kiir signed this Agreement with SPLM/A-IO and it came into effect since 24 December 2017.
SSHURSA reiterates that these consecutive death penalty are clear declaration that the regime is not ready to bring peace to the war-torn country.
“Like the case of James Gatdet Dak, the death sentence on Endley is a clear indication that the South Sudan government is not ready for peace. Such government behaviour is an unambiguous message of being not ready for peace.” Reads part of SSHURSA Press Statement.
“SSHURSA calls for Endley’s immediate release. The IGAD region and the international community should not ignore these signs of no good will towards peace by government. Punitive measures should be taken against those who choose war over peace.” SSHURSA continued.
The South Sudan Human Rights Society for Advocacy highly welcomes the report released on 23 February 2018 by United Nations Commission on Human Rights for South Sudan which strongly states that whoever has committed human rights abuses, war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in South Sudan should face justice.
SSHURSA further calls on the UN Commission to vigorously investigate the enforced disappearances in South Sudan.
William John Endley, Charges and Poor Legal Aid
Ex-Colonel Endley was constructed by the former Vice President, Dr. Riek Machar Teny, the leader of the main armed Opposition, SPLM/A(IO), in 2016 to help in South Sudan security arrangement, integration and transformation of the SPLA-IO and SPLA-IG into a professional national army, however, Endley was arrested as soon as Machar and his forces were pushed out of the national capital on August 16, 2016.
For the last 18 months, Endley has been held behind bars with very little access to justice and his family until recently.
Between August 2017 and February 2018, Endley appeared in court a few times with a limited legal aid, however, his defense lawyers withdrew from his cases citing the signing of a cessation of hostilities agreement on December 21st, 2017.
His witnesses which include the First Vice President Taban Deng Gai and the Minister of Petroleum, Hon. Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth, who were once Dr. Machar’s closest allies but now his sworn enemies, did not turn up in court on Wednesday February 21st.
The no-show of all the six political witnesses gave the high court judge, Justice Lado Eriminio Sekwat, the verdict to sentence Endley to 9 years imprisonment for other crimes that have to be served first – after which the former South African soldier will be sentenced to death by hanging for trying to overthrow the government of Salva Kiir.
“The conspiracy to overthrow the government which is under the National Security Service Act 2014, espionage also contrary to section 57 of the National Security Act, supplying weaponry to insurgents, saboteur or terrorist under the Penal Code, subverting a constitutional government under the Penal Code and illegal entry to South Sudan under the Passport and Immigration Act 2011,” Adel told VOA.
Some of the witnesses like Yien Oral Lam, the Higher Education Minister and another close friend of Taban Deng Gai, told South Sudan in focus that they were not aware of the case and they were not contacted either.
“This is what I don’t know. Even none of the defense [lawyers] met myself. How could I be a witness to a person I don’t know and in a case that I am not aware of the circumstances?” he said.
“I’m not aware of this case. I don’t know about it. I’m hearing it for the first time from you. I will have to ask before I can make a comment on it” Said Agel Machar, the spokesman of Taban Deng Gai.
Agel went on to say that the First Vice President Taban Deng Gai traveled outside the country and he could not attend the court case on the required dates and time.
Endley’s death sentence came a few days after the same court sentenced James Gatdet Dak, a former spokesman of Dr. Riek Machar Teny, to death by hanging.