SSHURSA calls on President Kiir to restrain from harmful public statements

South Sudan’s Kiir. Photo: Getty Images/File

Press Release: 8 February 2017

February 8, 2017 (SSNA) — South Sudan Human Rights Society for Advocacy (SSHURSA), strongly calls again on President Salva Kiir to restrain from publicly uttering emotional statements that can harm life. On 6 February 2017, while addressing members of the public in Yei town, President Kiir was reported to have ordered his Minister of Defence to execute any soldier of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA). President Kiir described soldiers to be executed as ‘those who would be suspects of crimes and human rights abuses’. The execution order by President Kiir could have been borne out of frustration due to continued violation of human rights by the indisciplined SPLA soldiers. However, the order is legally problematic: it cuts out the due process of the law as the soldiers to be executed, would be taken as straightly guilty without subjecting them to a fair trial. Such a would-be summary execution emotionally ordered by President Kiir without regard to the letter and spirit of the law,  is contrary to Article 19(1)and 190(a) of the Transitional Constitution of South Sudan, 2011(TCSS 2011, as amended).

The Constitution provides for the presumption of innocence of an acused person and one can only be declared a criminal after his or her guilt has been established before a court of law,through legally laid down processes in a fair trial. President Kiir’s execution order, is also a confirmation of absence of rule of law in South Sudan. In a normal law-abiding state, it is NOT the head of the state to decide who should be found guilty but the courts of law, on evidence presented, determine the guilt of an accused person.

In 2015, President Kiir publicly verbally made a death warning against journalists whom he described as against his government. A few days later, a South Sudanese journalist Peter Moi Julius was gunned down in Juba by unknown armed persons. By President Kiir’s repeat of such statements, he is indirectly giving a blanket warrant to some indisciplined SPLA generals to kill some soldiers instead of arresting and taking them to Court for fair trial.

SSHURSA calls on President Kiir to always restrain from stating public statements which are harmful to the lives of the people if misunderstood and misinterpreted.  SSHURSA urges President Kiir to instead, through just law, ensure discipline among his generals to respect human rights, rule of law, rules of engagement and other principles of international humanitarian law. Disciplined army command, will result in disciplined soldiers who will respect human dignity especially the dignity of women and children who have been victims of heinous acts of the indisciplined armed forces.

SSHURSA finally calls on President Kiir to take up the commitment by following the due process of the law to ensure that his army does not continue violating human rights with impunity. President Kiir should also ensure that Courts martial are set up and equipped with well-trained legal personnel, capable of ensuring that justice is not only done but is seen being done. President Kiir’s words and actions should march the value of his office.

SSHURSA is a nonpolitical and nonprofit-making human rights organisation, founded on 5 June 2007. Its head office is in capital Juba and coordination offices in other parts of South Sudan. VISION: “A democratic, peaceful and human rights abiding South Sudan”. MISSION: “To monitor, document and publish human rights status in South Sudan and to train the general public in human rights, fundamental freedoms of an individual, rule of law, constitution-making process, transitional justice, peacebuilding and governance, to creating an informed, responsible and justice oriented nation”. About this statement or SSHURSA, contact us through: E-mail: [email protected]/[email protected]. Tel: +211 955 912 237 or visit our website at:

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5 Comments. Leave new

  • Rape and other crimes deserve punishments, however I disagree with the president that the methods of punishment as in the case of rape or other felonies can be done by execution. Long terms imprisonments ought to be the best forms of punishments. The powers to punish any crime must come from undisputed national Constitution and agreeable judicial system whose judges, as well as jury, are given authorities by citizens to deal with such legal matters. I support SSHURSA that a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty of a crime after a fair trial in the competent law Court where he or she is given a defence attorney of choice. The President,like every citizen, isn’t above the laws and it is an absolute dictatorship if he is allowed to authorise death penalties and other sentencing. Any army general who is to follow through by killing soldiers suspected,caught red handed or accused of human rights violations would be nothing but an accomplice to murders, contemplated by the president and as far as the constitutional laws are concerned and permitted no capital punishments,the generals and the president will be brought to trials for sanctioning illegal punishments and face legal consequences no matter how powerful they are.

  • If the capital punishment is enshrined in the current constitution, it aught to be, opposed, scrapped and replaced with life imprisonment for offences such as rape and murders. The punishment aught not to be the decision from he president passed to his army’s general but the people’s court with constitutional powers with which every citizen agrees.

  • Dear South Sudan Human right,

    when these criminals committed the crimes why they don’t follow up the rule of law or does the law allow them to carried out their wrong doing?

  • Kiir knows very well that,he is the master of the constitution that you are talking about,he can amend it anytime to favour his irresponsible statement.South Sudan had failed long time ago.What disgrace president Salva Kiir is!!!

  • You guys, don’t be ridiculous, the same human right who also complained about the justice, that is it why complaining again? Those Soldiers committed crime must be punish. They deserve it, in fact, South Sudan govt. Should introduce the jungle law, this what kept our Movement during Dr. John Garang time. Even us SPLM IO we should introduce such law to reduce crimes. We have unprofessional Army from both side, who kill civilians and unarmed persons. Which is against the international law.


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