By Deng Kooch Diing
February 11, 2014 - Both the SPLA Act 2009, and the Transitional constitution of the Republic of South Sudan have all promised the illegality of criminal acts and has categorically provided all sorts on how they can be punishable before law, the President of the Republic Salva Kiir Mayardit has in various times unconditionally pardoned those who broke major crimes since 2010 just for the seek of keeping the Unity of South Sudan.
And since the current Law, the SPLA Act stipulates that rebelling against an established government is a crime, and has its constitutional provisions with appropriate punishments, it has on the other side of the coin promised that the president can barely reverse the whole thing just for the seek of keeping the national unity and issued a Presidential amnesty.
This pardon has myopically shed light on either the compassionate grounds/pity or Presidential pardon can also be extended to second or third time offenders. There are quit sometimes in South Sudan which the residential amnesties have been abused, and there are some good examples where they have really been overexploited.
The question we should all ask now could be what next after presidential amnesties? Peter Gadet Yak is a 12_ time’s offender, if his defection is counted since during the 21 years long war, he has defected 12 times, can this pity be extended to him again?
Dr. Riek Machar is a second or third time offender, the 1991 incident, the 2009 Malakal incident which happen in my presence, when he allow a UNMISS plane to evacuate Gen Gabriel Tanginyang who left Malakal in a pool of blood to be airlifted to a safe Haven in Khartoum, and the 15thDecember coup attempt, after becoming a third time offender, do he again deserve a presidential pardon?
Gabriel Tanginyang himself who has caused rampages 2 times in Malakal and currently as we speak, he continue his act by joining Riek Machar cause, do he deserve another presidential pardon?
David Yau is a second time offender but is now in good terms with the government considering the ongoing peace talks, if he happen to rebel again, can he deserve a presidential pardon as a third time offender?
Alfred Ladu Gore masterminded the leftist movement during the war and has now defected; can another pity be extended to him?
John Luk contradict himself while a chairperson of constitutional review commission in which he illustrate all forms of arguments, urging that some elected representatives can be removed through a presidential order, this was sign into a law and he again become furious when the President removed both Governor Taban Deng Gai and Chol Tong Mayai.Back home, John luk did not win an election but was appointed to the national parliament in accordance to article 56, which allow the president the powers of nomination and as a result, he was nominated as MP when he was rejected in his own constitutency, John look is now a second time offender, first in 1991 and now, can he again be released on compassionate ground?
The most challenging scenario is that there has never been any criminal indicted, constitutionally tried and convicted for the crime he does, and that has been since 2005, crimes have been committed, large scale crimes i.e. a man who kill thousand is released on compassionate ground, while a single man who kill a single man is convicted to hanging if he is a civilian, or shot to death if he is a soldier, currently in Juba prison, there are 3 to 4 people who have been sentenced to death for killing one person, why is it easy for our law makers and precisely, the Judiciary to sentence to death 4 people who murdered one person and fail to sentence to death one who killed thousands? The list of crimes pardoned goes beyond my listing but my arguments are precisely on reversing the formula of keeping the unity of our people. Keeping Unity doesn’t mean that we are bound to reward the wrong and forsake those we can pardon.
Amnesty Bill into Amnesty Law
To our law makers, the reverse of all these doesn’t hold on to the president alone, it is our individual contribution, to propose an amnesty bill is your duty, those propositions can later be filter on what has to be left and what should be adopted, as someone who participated in the law review commission, I know that the president did not directly participates, he only sign into law what we put forward. So here, we are not bound to please the President in order not to point out that his amnesty style of uniting the nation can be reversed.
We are bound to please humanity. We are bound to hold on to a government of, and, by and for, the people.The parliament of the Republic of South Sudan should just draft an amnesty bill, debate it, and sign it into a law stipulating specifics punishments provided for first, second, third………. Or 12 times offenders, we cannot buy unity by giving up our constitution in compassionate grounds. Why this amnesty must be review is the fact that it doesn’t bring back thousand lives, its only bring back one (offender) and forsake thousand souls (thousand deaths caused by an offender).
Deng Kooch Diing is a member of the governing Sudan People’s Liberation Movement living in Juba and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org