SSPDF sets up court martial to try soldiers in Yei

SSPDF sets up court martial to try soldiers in Yei
Suspects appearing following the proceedings before a martials court in Yei River County, Central Equatoria State. [Photo: Courtesy]

The SSPDF Justice Department has commenced the trial on 11 accounts of murder and six incidents of rape allegedly committed by soldiers in Yei River County.

According to Aggrey Cyrus, Yei River County Commissioner, the first court case began on Friday this week.

“There are numerous files of cases that are opened; 11 cases are murder, six rape, three for weapon lost in the line of duty, and the rest are robberies,” he said.

He said the court sessions would be carried out throughout the working weeks from 9 a.m. to 5 pm.

“Today’s session went well although people were not aware so there were very few people who turned up. There were only the accused and the witnesses who came out.  I have launched a road drive to let the people know because it also signifies the beginning of justice for the military,” Cyrus added.

The Commissioner also praised Central Equatoria Governor – Emmanuel Adil Anthony, for his efforts in working with President Salva Kiir and Chief of Defence Forces, Gen Santino Deng Wol, to allow the GCM to continue their duties.

He praised the CDF’s commitment as a symbol of leadership in the SSPDF, as well as Brig Gen John Lual, CDR of Yei and Morobo Forces’ consistency in fostering military and public confidence.

He stressed the importance of peace, justice, and progress in the country.

He said, “there can be no peace or progress if justice is denied. “God has given us our nationality, and our nation requires our obedience and love.’’

“We are rebellious if we do not obey and love God and our country. We are a cursed generation if we are driven by rebellious hearts and thoughts against our God and nation,” he explained.

He said it would take a bold step of unity and spiritual effort to ensure that the prevailing animosity is put to rest.

“The conflict in South Sudan is not ending because we have replaced obedience, love and unity with hate, bitterness and cheating. We need to come out from the bondage of evil to pursue justice and that is what our country is built from,” he said.

The commissioner urged individuals who have been wronged or who have become victims of rebellious actions to come out and witness the dawn of justice in Yei. He also told those accused to accept the court procedures as a means of correcting their errors. He stated that the GCM is here to bring justice to ‘‘our country so that it can once again be revered and honoured around the world.’’

The Community Empowerment for Progress Organization applauded the SSPDF’s leadership and military Justice for this extraordinary effort.  Executive Director, Edmund Yakani, said making justice prevail is a crucial component of fostering peace in society.

“Holding soldiers that committed crimes of rape, killing, looting, harassment and intimidation against civilians accountable is central in making soldiers adherence to the principle of civil-rule, rule of law and respect of human rights,” said Yakani.

He said for the crimes perpetrated in Mayendit, Kajo-Keji, Leer, Twic, and Agok, as well as Aneet Market, the SSPDF leadership should also be investigated and perpetrators held to account.