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Extrajudicial killings not basis for restoring law and order -UN

Extrajudicial killings not basis for restoring law and order -UN
Nicholas Haysom - Special Representative of the Secretary-General for South Sudan and Head of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan. Courtesy

The United Nations Mission in South Sudan has condemned the recent execution of four suspected rebels in Mayom County, Unity state.

 “Extrajudicial killings must be condemned because they cannot be a basis for restoring law and order,” said Nicholas Haysom, Head of UNMISS – who is also the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative in South Sudan.

Over the weekend, officials in Unity state executed in a firing squad three individuals believed to be allied to the SSPM/SSPA under renegade General Stephen Buay.

Another young man was also burnt alive in a grass-thatched house.

In widely condemned videos circulating on social media, 8 soldiers are seen lining up and shooting at three young men sitting down with hoods placed over their heads, and hands tied behind their backs.

The execution reportedly happened in Kaikang area – north of Mayom County’s headquarters.

The victims are alleged to be behind last month’s killing of Mayom County Commissioner  James Chuol Gatluak Manime . Late Chuol is the elder brother of National Security Advisor to the President, Tut Gatluak.

“Anyone who is suspected of a crime must be subject to a proper trial as part of a fair judicial process,” Nicholas Haysom underscored.

He said such acts of gross human rights violation by the government creates mistrusts among the public on the government’s commitment to uphold their rights.

“It is only by strengthening the justice system and ensuring criminal cases are tried in a fair and timely manner that community members benefit from accountability and will have faith in justice,” he stressed.

South Sudan constitution states that an accused person is presumed to be innocent until his or her guilt is proved according to the law.

The extrajudicial execution of the young men has widely been condemn by South Sudanese, including senior government officials and the SSPDF.

On Tuesday, the SSPDF said it did not sanction the killing of the 4 individuals. The army through the Chief of Defense Forces condemned the “heart-breaking and inhumane” killing reportedly authorized by the government of Unity state.

The four suspects were not tried before a court of law. Their execution happened less than 24hours after their reported arrest by the Sudan Rapid Support Forces (SRF), who handed them over to the governor of Unity state.

SSPDF announced it will investigate the incident and bring to book all those responsible for the killing.

South Sudan constitution states any accused person has the right to defend himself or herself in person or through a lawyer of his or her own choice, or to have legal aid assigned to him or her by the government where he or she cannot afford a lawyer to defend him or her in any serious offence.