South Sudan Military Judge jails soldiers for rape and murder

South Sudanese soldiers (left) jailed for murdering a local journalist and rapping aid workers in July 2016 Terrain Hotel rampage. Photo: Reuters

Juba, September 6, 2018 (SSNA) — A military Judge found 10 South Sudanese soldiers guilty of rapping humanitarian workers and killing of a local journalist during the July 2016 Terrain Hotel rampage.

Judge Brig. General Knight Briano on Thursday sentenced the soldiers from 7 years to life in prison and acquitted one soldier, citing lack of evidence.

Judge Knight also ordered South Sudan’s government to pay compensation of $20,000 dollars to 5 rape victims.

Two layers who represent rape victims said they are disgusted by Judge’s decision, saying the compensation amount is “outrageous.” The lawyers plan to appeal the verdict.

Human rights groups applauded the Judge’s decision.

However, a South Sudanese legal analyst demanded complete anonymity for fear of reprisal described Thursday’s verdict as “good and bad,” pointing out that the Judge’s decision to convict and sentence the defendants to jail is not a good step as it seems.

“This verdict is good in a sense that it jails the soldiers who carried out the 2016 brutal attacks on aid workers and a journalist,” The legal analyst told the South Sudan News Agency (SSNA) Thursday in Juba.

“People should know Salva Kiir is the one who is the Judge, not Judge Knight who imprisoned those dirty soldiers. Kiir is trying to appease the world to relieve some of the pressure from his mind,” he says, adding, “this is both good and bad verdict.”

The analyst also explained that there are so many people who committed far more serious crimes than the soldiers who have now been jailed, arguing that people should not celebrate what he branded as “a scripted PR verdict.”

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