Jan 15, 2019(Nyamilepedia) — On January 9th, 2019, South Sudan’s Chief of Defense Forces, Gen. Gabriel Jok Riak Makol, approved formation of the Special General Court Martial to try Maj. Gen. Stephen Buay Rolnyang, the former commander of the 5th Infantry Division, who was captured and arrested on May 31st, 2018 by forces loyal to Special Operations Commander Maj. Gen. Mathew Puljang in Unity State.
The order of the A/CDF gives the 7-manned committee just 10 days to finalize trials of Maj. Gen. Stephen Buay Rolyang, a case that is seemingly complicated by political interests, family feuds and power wrangles between Bul-Nuer politicians of Unity State.
According to the initial orders from the Chief of Defense Forces, the Special General Court Martial would have finished the trials and report its findings to the A/CDF office no later than January 19, 2019; however, latest reports from Bilpham alleged that the trial has been put on hold as Military Justice is calling on the Chief of Defense Forces to present findings of investigations to the Commander-in-Chief, Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardiit.
Based on the SPLA Act, 2009, only the Commander-in-Chief and the President has powers to form and approve the Special General Court Martial to try a Major General and other seniors commanders.
The Military Justice argues that the CDF can only form a Special General Court Martial to try generals under the rank of a Brigadier General or as authorized by the Commander-in-Chief and the President on his behalf.
According to Chapter 10 Section 89 (2) of the SPLA Act, 2009, the president and commander-in-chief must issue a warrant whenever he authorizes an officer to confirm findings of a Special General Court Martial on his behalf – something Gen. Jok Riak is trying to skip in the case of Maj. Gen. Buay Rolyang.
“The findings and sentences of a general court martial shall be confirmed by the President and Commander-in-Chief or by any officer authorized in his or her behalf by warrant issued by the President and Commander-in-Chief, provided that no death sentence shall be confirmed unless reviewed and recommended by the Southern Sudan Supreme Court. ” Reads Chapter X section 89(2) of the SPLA Act, 2009.
The military justice is demanding that Gen. Jok Riak must present the findings of earlier two investigations to the Commander-in-Chief and President to confirm the findings and decides whether the case should proceed to Court Martial or not; however, the CDF wants the Maj. Gen. Buay to be tried whatsoever.
WHY GEN. JOK HESITATES TO PRESENT FINDINGS TO PRESIDENT KIIR
According to senior generals and politicians interviewed on condition of anonymity, Gen. Jok Riak felt out with Maj. Gen. Stephen Buay during the leadership of late former Chief of Staff, Gen. James Ajonga Mawut, over sharing of salaries left over from the list of ghost soldiers – a case of corruption widely known in South Sudan army.
“Operational commanders usually share money left over from the list of ghost soldiers with their seniors especially with the chief of Defense Forces and his Deputies. In those days we noticed that Gen. Jok Riak complaining that he was not being given money left from the salaries of ghost soldiers from Buay’s 5th division. He accused Buay of being in Ajonga Mawut camp, that is the genesis of their grudges” Said a senior general who identified himself as John due to fear of repercussion.
“Also Jok hangs out with former NCP allies, Tut Kew and Nguen Manyuel who are arch rivals to Gen. Buay. Most of the evenings he goes to Tut Kew’s house and we noticed that they discuss political tension between Gen. Buay and his rivals which include Tut Kew, Nguen Manytuel, Puljang and others” Gen. John continued.
According to the findings and recommendations of the first investigation committee obtained by Nyamilepedia, Maj. Gen. Buay Rolyang and his bodyguards, who are arrested with him, were found not guilty of any allegation and that the committee recommended that they should be released from detention without charges.
“The committee further recommends that Maj. Gen. Stephen be released from detention without any pre-condition because the committee sees no reason for detaining him for a crime he never committed;
“The investigation committee recommends that 1st Lt. John Manyok Pektek be released from detention without any charge and if, Maj. Gen. Puljang and Governor Nguen are not satisfied, then let them open a case against this officer in a civil court to justify their claims.”
In other recommendations and also in their conclusion, the committee which was chaired by Maj. Gen. Michael Manoah Kot, strongly emphasized that Maj. Gen. Stephen was not found guilty but a victim that should be compensated for the lost he incurred.
“Conclusion: The committee concluded; based on the statements of the accused, co-accused and witnesses plus findings that the issue that led to Maj. Gen. Stephen Bouy being attacked, captured and detained started as a family issue which then involved some politicians who then spearheaded the agenda by concluding that Stephen was defecting to the enemy just to justify their hatred and allegations against Stephen. We therefore bow NOT be unjust in our findings but to tell the truth.”
“The investigation committee recommends that; all items that belong to Maj. Gen. Stephen be refunded including the four computer Laptops which were confiscated and taken by the forces for special operations.” States the 4th Recommendation.
The Committee also recommended that in case the court will not be fully satisfied with their findings and intends to form another committee, “we recommends that any person found liable to stand in court with Maj. Gen. Stephen to testify his claims against Stephen incase of further investigations and trial should first be relieved from his/her his duties and be re-instated after final court hearing and judgment.”
The first investigation did not only conclude in favor of Maj. Gen. Stephen Buay Rolnyang but also implicated Gen. Jok’s alleged friends Hon. Tut Kew, Maj. Gen. Nguen Manytuel, Maj. Gen. Mathew Puljang and Maj. Gen. Atiep Gatluak.
According to insiders, when the first Investigation Report reached Gen. Jok office, Jok immediately reached out to Hon. Tut Kew instead of proceeding to president Salva Kiir to confirm the findings and order the last resolutions.
The insiders further explained that the first Investigation was to be trashed and never distributed.
Jok, through the office of A/CDF for Admin, Personnel & Finance, immediately ordered the same committee to start a fresh investigation and come up with new findings and recommendations.
The second investigation, although it was a mirror image of the first investigation, made the following recommendations contrary to the first investigation.
- Based on the Director General for Internal Security Bureau, National Security Service report, the document forwarded by Special Operations Commander Maj. Gen Matthew Puljang and 5th Division’s Operational Officer Maj. Gen. Joshua Konyi, revealed that Maj. Gen. Stephen Buoy Rulnyang was in collaboration with rebellion under command of Gen. Malong Awan, the parties involved to give more justifications in front of court of justice.
- The Commander of Special Operations to justify the circumferences and circumstances that led to confrontation between forces under command of Maj. Gen. Stephen Buoy Rolnyang and those of the Special Operations.
- The investigation committee recommended that Maj. Gen. Stephen Buoy Rulnyang to appear in front of Military Court Martial (GCM).
After ordering the second investigation, the South Sudan Chief of Defense Forces, Gen. Jok Riak, ordered the A/CDF Lt. Gen. Charles Madut Akol to promptly form a Special General Court Martial to sit for the trial of Maj. Gen. Stephen Buay Rolyang, which he then approved and expected the findings to be reported to his office within 10 days; however, the trial is now pending as military justice ordered the findings of the investigations to be presented to the Commander-in-Chief, Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardiit.