By Julius N. Uma
August 31, 2012 (JUBA) - The United Nations High Commission for Human Rights has strongly criticized South Sudan’s recent decision to hang two men in a central prison located in the capital, Juba, saying those executed lacked proper legal assistance.
- South Sudanese judges (photo RSS ministry of Justice)
Rupert Colville, a spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner on Friday, said the organization was concerned about the “sudden” wave of executions that have, in recent weeks, taken place in a number of countries, including South Sudan, Gambia and Iraq.
“We urge all states, which have not yet done so, to introduce – or reintroduce — an official moratorium on the use of the death penalty aiming to abolish it,” said Colville, in a statement extended to Sudan Tribune.
The executions, the UN says, largely contradict the global trend and position on the death penalty, as many countries strive to abolish the practice, which was endorsed by the UN General Assembly.
Sudan Tribune could not, however, reach Rodento Tongum, the spokesperson of South Sudan prisons over the matter.
A recent report, released by Human Rights Watch (HRW) deplored the poor state of prisoners in South Sudan, where prisoners allegedly live in terrible conditions, are unlawfully being detained while the whole justice system is reportedly a flawed process.
Currently, up to 150 states of the UN have reportedly abolished the death penalty or introduced a moratorium, either in law or practice.
According to Amnesty International, an overwhelming majority of countries did not use the death penalty in 2011, with only 21 out of 198 countries reportedly carrying out executions.
The rate of executions, Amnesty International says, reflected a decline of more than a third over the last decade.
However, while death sentences were reportedly pardoned or commuted in 33 countries, compared to just 19 in 2010, the organization says at least 18,750 people remained under sentence of death at the end of the year, while about 680 people were reportedly executed worldwide in 2011, excluding China.