UN mission in South Sudan welcomes court verdict against Terrain Hotel rape suspects

South Sudan’s military judges as they announce the verdict (File photo)

September 7th 2018 (Nyamilepedia)  – The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS)  has welcomed a military court decision in South Sudan to prosecute ten SPLA soldiers accused of rape, murder and looting at Terrain Hotel in the capital Juba in July 2016.

South Sudan’s capital Juba  witnessed one of the most horrific moments in July 2016 when SPLA soldiers and allied militia attacked Terrain Hotel in the capital Juba raping and killing foreign aid workers.

A South Sudanese journalist from the Nuer ethnic group was also among the dead victims after having his ethnic nationality established before he was killed.

On Thursday, a military court in Juba sentenced 10 soldiers to different prison terms with two of them sentenced to life and the remaining eight handed jail terms ranging from seven to ten.

In a statement seen by the Nyamilepedia on Thursday, the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) said the court verdict against the perpetrators delivers justice for the survivors and their families.

”The finding of a military court that 10 soldiers were guilty of committing violence against civilians at the Terrain Hotel in Juba, South Sudan, has finally delivered justice for the survivors and the family of the journalist murdered in the attack,” the statement said.

The statement however questions whether the measure taken by the court have reached the highest command of the soldiers convicted.

“However, according to evidence raised during the trial, questions remain about whether accountability for these crimes reached high enough up the chain of command,” the statement said.

It further said although the incident had inflicted too much pain on the South Sudanese and international aid workers,  the verdict is welcomed because it publicly condemns the criminals.

“While the guilty verdicts handed down will not take away the pain and suffering caused by the appalling acts of violence carried out by these criminals, it is important that they have finally been held publicly accountable,” it said.

The UNMISS said it is committed to working with authorities in South Sudan to address some of the challenges observed during this trial and support efforts to improve the independence and effectiveness of the justice system so that many more victims of sexual and other violence can also have their days in court to receive justice.

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