The sentencing of the 16 to life in prison: Is justice being parodied in South Sudan?

Posted: June 14, 2016 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Commentary, Contributing Writers, Opinion Articles, Opinion Writers

“We can’t be fooled. The ruling is a window dressing. It’s designed to impress the masses that there is a genuine fight against corruption. We believe corrupt practices have to be equally punished but Salva Kiir is the prime mover of corruption… It’s no longer business as usual. Whether the individuals are given amnesty, as argued by grief-stricken relatives, or reduction of the sentence in the appellate court; we know Salva Kiir is the prince of corruption,” Mading Gum on his Facebook page, June 14, 2016

By Ujuum D’Buol, Juba, South Sudan

life in prison

June 14, 2016 (SSB) —- The prosecution of 16 individuals and their eventual conviction for siphoning $14 million in the office of the president is the first of its kind in history of S. Sudan. It has come as a big surprise to masses who have lost confidence in judicial system. The perpetrators of gravely atrocities on human lives and property, the culprits of infamous dura saga, $4 billion and other cases are driving and walking on streets of Juba as absolute freemen. Some of them are even back in cabinet of TGONU.

This nature of affairs points out that impunity is reserved for others. There is administration of justice on selective basis. The case of 16 junior officials in the system seems to have been since, ceremoniously hijacked by the state to broadcast how the regime is walking the rhetoric of zero tolerance to corruption. This alone shows that the independence of judiciary is raped by the executive.

The uniform verdict passed on the 16 individuals with no mentioning on whereabouts or efforts asserted to recover the stolen $14 million reveals the whole trial to be a hoax spread in the sky for public viewing. Since the executive is deeply involved, the high court’s mandate is rendered to that of the public relation which only cleans the tainted image of the regime as far as rampant corruption is concerned.

Since the prosecution confirmed that in the process of siphoning the $14 million, the 16 suspects, now convicted, executed different roles. Some did major roles while others did handy. The presiding judge of high court would have put into consideration that variation of culpability when the sentences were being passed.

In very crime, even that of coup, there are usually ring leaders and merely, the smeared. This difference is not only featured in prosecution but also in conviction. Of course, not everybody convicted of treason can be hanged, others get light sentences. This depends on their individual partakes in dismantling the regime. The panel code of South Sudan categorized how to go about that.

“If you’ve got a legal system that can’t disclose the truth and lacks in moral substance, then it calls into question the legitimacy of such a system. A further proof that we have a constitution without constitutionalism. Todays’ verdict is nothing but a manifestation that our lady of justice is not blind, but selective and serves to nurture seeds of discord. The real thieves are those that conjure conflict out of thin air, those amongst the 75 public officials that squandered $4 billion. The cartels of the dollar black market, the perpetrators of gross human rights violations, the unknown gunmen….the you-know-who, the Voldimorts of our time, the more equal animals than others in the animal farm. There comes a time, when the hunter gets hunted!!!” Kut Apollo on his Facebook page, June 14, 2016.

The uniform life in prison sentence passed on 16 persons therefore fell short of rule of law. The presiding judge’s failure to categorically outline the individual’s role in loss of $14 million shows that justice was being travestied.

If the trail was fair, free and guided by legal principles, the public, whose $14 million was siphoned by few selfish individuals, would have poured on the street in jubilations across the country and the diaspora would have thrown bundles of congratulations and messages of good wishes through internet to the government of South Sudan.

The government being cognizant of the need to uphold constitutionalism and rule of law, should intervene in this hoax conviction, by halting it through means prescribed by the law and revive the trials for fair hearings, to be presided over by new but competent judges. This will allow those innocent among the 16 officials derived of justice to have fair hearings as in accordance with the legal establishments.

Ujuum D’Buol©2016

The opinion expressed here is solely the view of the writer. The veracity of any claim made are the responsibility of the author, not PaanLuel Wël: South Sudanese Bloggers (SSB) website. If you want to submit an opinion article or news analysis, please email it to SSB do reserve the right to edit material before publication. Please include your full name, email address and the country you are writing.

  1. God de kuei says:

    South Sudan is gearing toward bad impunity regarding to the way persecutor sentenced those 16 men and women. the persecutor has forgotten that south Sudanese are following the case bit by bit. where are 75 people who took 4 billions? where are Akol Kor and Duoth Guit, the guys who failed to reported in the court to answer some questions? the persecutor[s] must be very careful when come of translating the law of the land!,,,
    However, Kiirdit will soon face public with his group whom they hid with 4 billions Dollars


  2. David says:

    That’s true Kiir will face the public uproar soon if those 75 people who stolen 4 billions are not reviled for trial. They deserve death penalty if those 16 folks deserve life in prison. Let wait for out come.


  3. joe says:

    Right on Ujuum! You are absolutely correct and I agreed with everything you said.


  4. U have it articulated to the brim! Let Judge Armeno continue with the spirit and he will soon be popular! They have been convicted on the similar counts bcoz it is treated as a joined act in legal terms!


  5. dengdit1 says:

    This is what I have really thought about! Yes the sixteen might have played different roles in this case, but there are those which their roles were primary and there were others with secondary roles, the forgery of the President’s signature and the seal of the office of the President could be a primary criminal act,
    For those who were acting on orders as officials in the office have committed their crimes under the influence of those who ordered them to do what they did.
    coming to equal sentencing to life in prison to all the 16 officials , it is mind boggling in this case, I thought sentences could have ranged from highest to the lower, because with simple logic if two persons or more persons fought another person and killed him, the medical examiners will diagnose the deceased to find out what injury in which part of the body might have caused the death, but not all the injuries, such that a person responsible for that particular injury will be the one be charged with capital punishment and the rest will be charged with lighter sentences.
    Finally, I think that, the appeal will review this sentences


  6. Thank you so much for your blogg, Ujuum D’Buol©2016
    It is very helpful for me to read it.
    K. Körber- Akok, Berlin, relativ.


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