Home | News    Thursday 13 March 2014

Juba asks for maximum sentences against “coup” plot accused, trial adjourned

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March 12, 2014 (JUBA) - South Sudan’s government has asked a special court in Juba to impose maximum penalties against four political detainees who are accused of treason for allegedly attempting to depose president Salva Kiir Mayardit and his leadership from power.

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Former SPLM secretary-general Pagan Amum attends his court trial in the South Sudan capital, Juba, on 11 March 2014 (Photo: Reuters/Andreea Campanu)

The alleged coup plot of on 15 December has triggered a conflict that has killed an estimated 10,000 people and displaced hundreds of thousands plunging South Sudan into a political, security and humanitarian crisis.

On the second day of the trial, Judge James Alala Deng, the president of the court, agreed to the prosecutions request to adjourn the trial for one week until 19 March so that key witnesses could return to Juba to testify.

Seven other senior officials accused of involvement were released on bail to Kenya but then travelled to Addis Ababa to take part in the stalled peace process.

"The trial of these officials tests the ability of our judiciary. It is actually the first case of its kind in this country", lead prosecutor James Mayen Oka said at the opening of hearing on Tuesday.

In a presentation before the court, the prosecutor stated that the criminal case against the four accused was initiated on December 16, 2013, at the Northern Division Police Station in Juba, under criminal case number 4701.

He read out that former army chief of staff, Oyai Deng Ajak, Pagan Amum Okiech former SPLM secretary-general, Majak D’Agoot ex-deputy defense minister and diplomat Ezekiel Lul Gatkuoth were arrested on remand.

The charges against the four officials include treason, incitement of the masses, causing disaffection among police forces or defense forces, defaming the government of South Sudan and undermining authority of or insulting the president.

Participation in the press conference on December 6 where the four, along with many other senior members of the SPLM strongly criticised President Kiir’s leadership of the ruling party and the country, along with a recorded audio of a phone call between two of the accused, were cited as evidences.

The press release, which was issued by the group during the December 6 press conference will also be used as evidence, as will the fact that Pagan Amum, chaired the meeting.

-* Senior SPLM colleagues give Kiir ultimatum over party crisis

Other evidence that will be brought by the prosecution includes the clash within the Presidential Guards on the night of 15 December, when shooting broke out in Juba.

The prosecution claim to have a recorded audio in which Taban Deng Gai, the former Unity state governor who is now leading the rebel’s delegation to stalled peace talk in Addis Ababa, claimed reportedly told one of the suspects, Oyai Deng Ajak, they were under pressure at the time from their forces to take action to remove president Kiir from power.

The telephone correspondences allegedly took place in the night of December 15 on the directive former Vice President Riek Machar, who allegedly ordered forces loyal to him to take guns from the armory.

The defense have questioned this evidence and appear likely to challenge whether it is admissible.

Machar, Deng and the other rebels as well as the defendants and seven detainees who have been freed all deny plotting a coup attempt and claim Kiir used the split in the military to try silence his opponents.

"This audio will be produced in court and all of you will hear it, and other things, other transcripts that were recorded that night", the prosecutor said.

Machar and Deng, as well as South Sudan’s former environment minister, Alfred Lado Gore will face the same charges in absentia.

The prosecutor also stated that former cabinet affairs Minister, Deng Alor Kuol, former transport and bridges minister, Gier Chuang Aluong, former finance minister Kosti Manibe Ngai, former justice minister John Luk Jok, former youth minister Cirino Hiteng, former telecommunication and postal services minister, Madut Biar Yel and former Lakes state governor, Chol Tong faces the same charges though they were released on bail.

At the second day of the treason trial today at the judiciary premises near Juba Teaching Hospital, the prosecution requested that the seven other political detainees who were released to Kenya ‘on bail’ return to give testimony.

Judge James Alala Deng, the president of the court, agreed to adjourn the trial for one week until 19 March in order to allow the seven time to return to Juba.

PUBLIC REACTION

Independent analysts and observers have expressed doubt on the independence of the judiciary, citing previous decision by the supreme when it rejected a court case filed by former Secretary General Pagan Amum Okiech, saying personal rights were violated.

"This case will provide another opportunity for our judiciary to show independence. We have seen people coming out before to complain that their cases judged fairly", Alfred Deng, a native of the oil-contested border region Abyei said outside the court.

But Garang Deng, a native of Warrap State, commended decision of the government for allowing the court to hear the case before the public.

"The impression I had before has now been changed. I though this case would be confined but I see public members have been allowed to attend the hearing. The courtroom has since yesterday been full beyond it capacity that some people do not find seats or even a space to stand. Outside as you can see is also occupied. This is a step forward", Deng told Sudan Tribune.

Another citizen from Lakes State who did not want to be identified said: "There is no strong evidence being presented before the court by the prosecutor. He is presenting [a] press release and illegal tracking of telephone conversations between individuals as evidence before the court. Telephone tracking and recording is illegal practices. It is not constitutional. There is provision in the transitional constitution of the republic of South Sudan which allows tracking and telephone recording to be used in the court as evidence."

CHARGES

Prosecutor Oka said the judge should impose the maximum penalties provided for under sections 66, 67, 72, 47, 75, 76, 206, 48, 52, 62 of the Penal Code Act 2008, stating that the four officials are charged under chapter five of the 2008 South Sudan penal code act.

Article 66 under South Sudan’s penal code deals with issues relating subverting constitutional government while 67 handles issues relating to insurgency, banditry, sabotage or terrorism. Article 72 deals with possession of dangerous weapons.

Other articles cited as basis of constitutional charges include article 47 handles issues relating to right of private defense against deadly assault when there is risk of harm of innocent person.

Article 75 handles penalties relating to publishing or communicating false statement prejudicial to South Sudan.

Article 76 handles undermining authority of or insulting the president, while article 206 handles murder and article 48 addresses acts committed by several persons in furtherance of common intention. Article 52 is dedicated to abetment, while 62 handles penalties related to conspiracy.

(ST)

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Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.
  • 13 March 05:28, by Augustino

    Yes, Pagan is good with you because what twisted around comes back to you around. you were the secratary who failed to correct things on your time and start misleading Dr Nyariek Mayardit who is now suffering again in the bush while you’r suffering in prison. shame on you in the court. Blame yourself for your failure. Majak Agoot is innocent as I know. if there are enough evidence will be later.

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    • 13 March 05:38, by Johndumo14

      No matter what the outcome of this war of Dr Riek Machar will be!! No matter how long it will take.
      Dr Riek have betrayed the Nuer people!!!
      South sudanese are going to hate Nuer tribe for a long time,
      simply because Dr Riek and his generals have taken us back to squre one,Dr Riek is no different from arabs!!
      The Nuer and the arabs are our enemies nuber one!!

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      • 13 March 08:22, by Diversity

        Damned! How can you condemn a whole tribe if it is not the illiteracy of the highest order?
        The problem is an ethnic group in South Sudan but the SPLM/A communist thugs/thieves who never content with the blood of innocent. December 15th was not the onset of those crimes history judges truly and squarely on the SPLM/A

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        • 13 March 09:02, by Mi diit

          The trial in that kangaroo court will show to the whole world how primitive and very weak Mrs. Akiir’s judicial system is, presenting rubbish as evidences including a press release which called for democratic reform and fake recorded tape, which was not even listened to. We will get you by May 16. Kiir will be tried in Juba in that same court.

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        • 13 March 10:55, by Ahmed Chol

          Mayen Oka, a poor Dinka Bor beggar should not allow himself to be used there as a lead prosecutor like Makuei Lueth and Kuol Manyang in Kiir Mess. He should quit right away. Let Bhar el Ghazal do the judgement because they are ones that imprisoned these 4 guys and they know charges. Mayen will struggle to find charges and create more enmity for Bor people for false information presented in Court

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      • 13 March 10:00, by Angelo Kumuko

        Who told told u that others tribes are hating or will hate the Nuer tribe. It is only Dinka Bahr el Ghazal that hate the Nuers and UNMISS. Let me tell, some people’s hands are tied that is why they are not on the front line against the Dinka.
        Let a Dinka dare kill any one in Equatoria now in name of supporting Riek, Dinka will regret it.

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    • 13 March 05:43, by hellonearth

      Augustino, you are useless tribalist with your likes and Kiir are the cause for the failure of this Country. you keep feeding people with your venomous lies just to prove your dictatorship correct. i know you hate the truth because it puts you in your place, which is nowhere. so just keep your venom to yourself.

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    • 13 March 06:25, by Sir King

      Johnsondumo,
      Salva Kiir and Dr. Riek are both useless. And nobody between them is qualified to lead people of South Sudan. Dr. Riek would have not use the rebellion for Nuer only which mean, he hate to associate with other tribes alongside him. Please Dr. Riek must realise that he did a great mistake. NOBODY WANTS KIIR AS A LEADER BUT DR. RIEK SPOILED THE CHANCE OF DISPOSING KIIR, POOR MAN OF AWAN

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      • 13 March 06:55, by Mi diit

        The trial in that kangaroo court will show to the whole world how primitive and very weak Mrs. Akiir’s judicial system is, presenting rubbish as evidences including a press release which called for democratic reform and fake recorded tape, which was not even listened to. We will get you by May 16. Kiir will be tried in Juba in that same court.

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    • 13 March 11:44, by ngadodo

      For people who condemns Pagan Amum and his colleagues on trial in court togethers with prisons men which they’re services, for me simply their announce people. But , I thinking’s you are blind fully, because you support president on tribal bases and that is its. What I know is there are political trial that is not because Pagan Amun he did any mistakes.

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    • 13 March 16:08, by Bentiu son

      Bravos,Pagan Amum,Oyai Deng,Dr Majak,and Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth,plz,feel courageous comrades,Salva Kiir n his Dinka elder 7 idiotic committee:Kuol Manyang,Makuei Lueth,Daniel Awet Akot,Paul Malong Awan,Alew Ayuel Alew n Salva Mathok Geng had planned to assassinated you and Dr Machar Teny using the’failed concoct Coup attempt’ which is infact failed Assassination attempt against democratic Reformatio

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  • 13 March 05:37, by hellonearth

    WHAT A JOKE FOR A GOVERNMENT

    they have no case.

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  • 13 March 05:58, by Naath

    Confuses government leadership produces no evidence at all to allows charges to go through. Hopeless kiir and his teams are desperately looking for more information to be added in the case of political detainees who have wrongful accused for false coup by kiir, , now paloch and malut are captured by freedom fighters, Renk and Adar will be next, Bor and Unity state next week will be over, 63 tribes

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    • 13 March 06:20, by michael coma

      I don’t this information.Govt wouldn’t talks this shit without border of conclusion.This was framed by govt enemies just to challenge the system of judiciary.We need fair judgment.

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  • 13 March 06:15, by Ayuiu Makuac Lam

    Where are security agency to arrest all they stupid supporters of coup plotters?
    All are still making coup around court room front of the law.
    I REQUEST FROM THE GOVERNMENT AND SECURITY AGENT TO ARREST THE ONE FROM LAKES STATE, HE IS STILL MAKING COUP AGAINST ELECTED GOVERNMENT.

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    • 13 March 08:20, by BM-21

      Ayuiu Makuac Lam
      who is making coup in Lakes State?

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  • 13 March 06:20, by Jalaby

    Mr. Rommel,
    Are you kidding me or what? you want to compare what happened in Darfour with current S Sudan war? come on!
    Look at the this picture and it tells you everything!

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    • 13 March 06:28, by Jalaby

      What is happening in the south now is a comprehensive war by every means and its fire starts to reach Juba which is unstable and shaky city,the whole S Sudan population is facing death either by war or starvation, the south war witnesses the intervention of regional country such as Uganda and now Ugandan army is fighting in the middle of this war, mercenaries from

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      • 13 March 06:35, by Jalaby

        neighboring Sudan such as Darfourian gangsters and SPLA-N have been hired to fight on behalf of you .. shame on you Dinka!!
        Now some voices start to talk inside UN & AU about the possibility of putting the whole S Sudan under UN trusteeship, have you ever heard putting the whole Sudan under UN trusteeship or just Darfour?!

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        • 13 March 06:43, by Jalaby

          Stop your nonsense comparison between Darfour regional crisis and the comprehensive war that’s going on in S Sudan and its heat reached every part of S Sudan and the whole population under great jeopardy now facing death because of war & starvation
          Tell me,if Sudan is a bad country,would that give you a justification to be bad too and bring Darfour example all the time!

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          • 13 March 11:04, by Axiox

            Poorly managed yes, "one of the poorest countries"? no. Anyway Jalaby why do you concern yourself with S.S. affairs when you’re not a South Sudanese citizen? Every new nation has it’s trial & errors and those people shall return in time.

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          • 13 March 15:11, by Rommel

            Jalaby:
            I don’t compare what happened in Darfur to what’s currently taking place in South Sudan. There’s quite simply no grounds for comparison. You lost a quarter of a million people in Darfur, and we have purportedly lost ten thousand people — 1/30th of what you have lost in the only genocide since Rwanda.

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            • 13 March 15:37, by Rommel

              South Sudan is undoubtedly currently facing a truly terrible humanitarian crisis. Like Darfur, South Sudan is witnessing conflict with strong tribal overtones; tacit and/or explicit State involvement in ethnic determined killings; terrible humanitarian dislocations as a consequence of it; millions displaced; millions left hungry, relying almost wholly on the UN and other aid agencies...

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              • 13 March 15:44, by Rommel

                .. But it hasn’t claimed anywhere near as many lives. You seem to think that those figures that you provided on South Sudan are so much worse than those seen in Darfur. You seem to be gloating. You are mistaken. Let me show you why: Your pictographic source reveals that 707, 400 South Sudanese are internally displaced. Would you care to guess just how many Darfurians are internally displaced?

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                • 13 March 16:01, by Rommel

                  Allow me to put you out of your misery. I know thinking can exhaust the insipid. 2.7 million Darfurians are currently internally displaced. I suspect that you’re as innumerate as you are illiterate, ignorant and obnoxious, but surely even you can understand that 2.7 million represents a larger number than 707, 400.

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                  • 13 March 16:21, by Rommel

                    How many Darfurians do you *think* [I’m being terribly kind] are currently living as refugees outside Sudan’s border? Would you like to guess? Come on, give it the good old college try. There are currently 264,000 Darfurians in Chad, and thousands more in the Central African Republic. Well, would you have a look at that...

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                    • 13 March 16:36, by Rommel

                      ..264,000 also represents a larger number than 149, 700 — the number of South Sudanese living as refugees outside the country, according to your source. "In 2013, U.N. agencies said they aimed to supply 3.4 million people in Darfur – nearly half the population – with aid." How in the world is that so much better that you would feel the need to gloat!?

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                      • 13 March 16:42, by Rommel

                        In virtually every parameter examined, Darfur is significantly worse. I sense a slow wit, that can’t grasp irony. Tell me... were your pictures meant to be clever? Were they suppose to hide the fact that you’re all out of arguments? I think its a reflection of your frustration and twelve-year-old mentality. What exactly were you hoping to accomplish with such juvenile idiocy?

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                        • 13 March 16:56, by Rommel

                          Pictures tell you everything, do they? Pray tell, where did you learn that... in your special-ed class? Pictures present very little opportunity for nuance. You really should start reading. You don’t have to beat around the bush; if you are reading-challenged, simply say so. I’ll dumb it down for you, and see if that works...

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                          • 13 March 16:59, by Rommel

                            You’re just spinning in circles after yourself, as neurotic retards and diseased animals are prone to. You should have your own Oprah, where the audience tries to figure out just where your teachers and parents went so terribly wrong.

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            • 13 March 21:22, by Northern Sudanese

              Rommel
              the 300,000 figure is nothing but a joke led by Jewish media. a lot of countries denied that genocide even took place in Darfur and that is why african countries are stopping any dealings with the ICC. they have been saying the same figure for 11 years without proof. what is happening in south sudan is just 3 months old and already 10,000 killed and a million displaced.

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              • 13 March 23:28, by Rommel

                Northern Sudanese:
                So it’s pretty much all just a conspiracy against Sudan? The UN is in on the conspiracy as are some of the world’s most preeminent universities as well as numerous research units like the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED). Is that what you’re saying?

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                • 13 March 23:35, by Rommel

                  According to institutions of international significance, including the world’s quintessential political institution — the UN... your government engaged in a brutal campaign of ethnic determined violence that claimed a quarter of a million innocent lives...

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                  • 13 March 23:39, by Rommel

                    ..But you quite predictably deny all of this with a dose of antisemitism that bemoans and derides your international status of being known supporters of terrorism and State sanctioned ethnic cleansing campaigns as being merely a derivative of a grand Jewish conspiracy. Isn’t that your usual defence mechanism, when your ludicrous pseudo-scholarship is called to task for being offensively stupid?

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                    • 13 March 23:45, by Rommel

                      I hope you realise that even the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED), a research unit with links to the World Health Organisation estimates that 298 271 died in Darfur over a 17-month period, from September 2003 to January 2005.

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                      • 14 March 00:03, by Rommel

                        The UN and the World Health Organization estimated that 10, 000 people were dying each and every month when Darfur was its worst. Why is it you so unreservedly accept the UN’s mortality estimate on South Sudan but wholly reject their estimates on your own conflict? The UN is either credible and altogether correct in regards to its estimates in both cases...

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                        • 14 March 00:06, by Rommel

                          ..Or it’s not at all credible and is mistaken in regards to its estimates in both cases. Which is it? You can’t have it both ways. You illustrate for us the fallacy of spamming patently foolish arguments and imagining that anyone might be persuaded into something, other than how incredibly deluded you are.

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                          • 14 March 00:12, by Rommel

                            African countries have quite fortunately come to the realisation that the ICC is not a court of law; that the ICC is nothing but the inglorious rebirth of imperial démodé. African countries now seem to understand that diplomacy and *international law* involve demonstrating the benefits and/or risks of proposed international arrangements for all potential parties - and not just for some.

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                            • 14 March 00:18, by Rommel

                              The Europeans provide over 60% of the funding for the ICC. Money rules the roost — the golden rule is simple: the one with the gold, rules. Countries now seem to realise that the ICC is an unaccountable, diseased pus spewing European boil. Zbigniew Brzezinski aptly calls this phenomenon of political clarity among the world’s Nations, ’the global awakening’.

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                              • 14 March 00:23, by Rommel

                                Prior to South Sudan’s independence, I was one of those people that opposed the ICC because I didn’t want my country subjected to the capricious whims of a selective international arrangement that swings like an erratic pendulum from group to group — hitting some and favouring others at the whim of any given moment.

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                                • 14 March 01:59, by Hardlinner

                                  Rommel, don’t waste your time on jalaby and northern. These two do not know what they are talking about. A true human should be straight foward in acknowledging facts. Denial and their religion seem to go hand in hand. No matter how you lecture them, they will never come into agreement.

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    • 13 March 06:29, by Gangura

      HAHAHA very interested, talk is on going in Addis which the four remaining are requested by the IGAD to be part of the negosiation but Kirr and his flooshid member are doing something contary to the agreement, now where is justices here? anyway I do not blame Kirr I blame those who vote cow boy for us, otherwise he was susposed to be now looking after cows.

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      • 13 March 16:45, by Bentiu son

        BREAKING NEWS,
        The freedom fighters of SPLA in Opposition has captured Leer County -Unity State yesterday evening. Thereby,Salva Kiir’s pro Gelweng militias/SPLA and their imported hired mercenaries of Darfur rebel JEM,SRF N SPLA- N are on run right now. Freedom fighters oyee, CDR James Koang Chuol oyeee, Bentiu oyeee, RSS oyeeeeeeeee

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