President Kiir’s amnesty should not be viewed as a free pass for renegades!!

By Daniel Abushery Daniel (USA)

"Letting go has never been easy, but holding on can be as difficult. Yet strength is measured not by holding on, but by letting go.’ Said by; Lend Santos.

October 20, 2010 (SSNA) — It’s just a matter of fact that as human beings we all make mistakes. It could be a slip of a word, an unsecured gun goes off, or making an incorrect statement. Therefore, it’s not a shame to make a mistake, but it’s all too shameful to continue to repeat the same mistake all over again and again. I have learned that most people in South Sudan are fair and make up their own minds about people. They know who the traitors are and who the heroes are. As long as you admit you mistakes learn from them and seek forgiveness from those who might have been affected, or harmed, they may give you a second chance.

But what is not forgivable is the notion of making mistakes becoming an addictive hobby and a way of life! Hence, in criminal justice laws, the fundamental question is: Why people commit crimes? The answer is simple: because “they choose to."

However, a mistake made can be pardoned, tolerated, or forgiven, but any crime – big or small- has some serious consequences and a price to be paid for by the perpetuator, whether a misdemeanor or a felony. And it cannot be erased even if the culprit pleaded guilty before a judge. In another word, pleading guilt in itself doesn’t erase the crime, but it may only reduce the sentences.

Virtually, ignorance of a law is not an excuse, and it cannot be tolerated under any circumstances. If the crime was determined, then, the suspect faces charges, and must be brought to justice in a court of law. And there’re no exceptions / exemptions, regardless of a social status and / or a political position one might hold. It’s based solely on the principle that “no one should be above the law of the land, but the law itself."

Additionally, in the criminal justice system- worldwide- individuals are responsible for their actions, and they must be accountable for.  However, on rare occasions, there is the clemency, which means a grant of mercy use by an executive official in commuting a sentence or pardoning an offender, that’s after a trial, and not just a slaps on the rest.

Evidently, the point I am trying to stress here is that, nobody is against the amnesty that was issued by President, Salva Kiir Mayaardit, for some of the former SPLM generals, who took up arms against the SPLA and the people of South Sudan. But I wonder what will happen to those innocent civilians, children, woman and elderly, who were murdered without any guilt of their own? Those horrendous crimes cannot be justified, and cannot go unpunished, otherwise, the government will be sending a mixed message it’s soft on crimes and criminals. In my judgment, the culprits, be it renegades, George Athor, the permanent Cello chief Oyath murders, and Gatluak Gach, do not deserve a free pass, either from public, nor from the government of South Sudan, due to the fact that their victims’ blood is still boiling in their graves, the wounds of those who survived are still fresh, and their families and the loved ones are awaiting justice of any kind!

In short, I believe it’s so wrong and insane for some of us to take advantages of South Sudan’s desperate situation for independence from the North elites, and use it as an escape goat in pardoning some of those criminals. Those renegades must and should be kept under surveillance, until we are certain that their selfish actions are not repeated.

And at this juncture, I would like to seize this opportunity to urge President Kiir, and other high- ranking military personnel’s not only to demote the clemency generals, but to discharge them from any position they might have held in the past.  Although that will not necessarily means that justice has been served, but it might bring some relieve and closure to the families of their victims.

Nevertheless, President Salva Kiir Mayardit should be commended for his heroic call for South – on- South reconciliation summit. We need our unity today more than anytime before and those that answered Kiir’s call, are to be lauded for seeing beyond themselves for a higher calling. Indeed, now is the right time for all of the South Sudanese to prove that South Sudan is above some of the small differences among its leaders.

Let’s all march together to our Promised Land, a land that is called South Sudan. But before that, we need to do our homework. Go out and register your name if you are sure that you will make it to the poll, vote in the referendum, and be part and parcel of this historical event. Only when we vote for secession, so, we will celebrate our independence’s day in January, 9th, 2010. May our almighty God bless Promised Land called south Sudan nation. Shalom!

The author is studying MA degree in criminology, (WIU), Phoenix, AZ.  (USA), and can be reached at [email protected], or [email protected]

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