November 2, 2016 (JUBA) - A South Sudanese official has advocated that a special court be formed to try soldiers who allegedly raped aid workers in the capital, Juba in July.
- A SPLA soldier stands in front of a vehicle in Juba on December 20, 2013. (Photo Reuters/Goran Tomasevic)
The deputy justice minister, Martinson Mathew Oturomoi, said several witnesses, victims and suspects were interviewed and there was reasonably ground to believe the soldiers murdered, raped and looted from aid workers.
"The rooms described in the [rape] victims’ statements were littered with women pants and other exhibits that indicate that rape was violent," Oturomoi told reporters Wednesday.
The South Sudanese official currently chairs the committee set up by President Salva Kiir to investigate circumstances that led to attacks at Terrain Hotel, in the outskirts of Juba.
At least 67 witnesses, victims and suspects gave oral, written and phone statements to the investigation committee. 27 vehicles were robbed by gunmen from Terrain Hotel but 13 vehicles are recovered with the help of the committee.
According to the committee, John Gatluak, a South Sudanese journalist was killed and it concluded that his death resulted from "targeted killing based on ethnicity."
"The committee recommends formation of a special court to try suspects who committed offences at Terrain Hotel during the July 2016 incident," said the official.
The committee said part of the report will be publicized, but details like names of victims, witnesses, suspects and their statement will be classified and not released.
The committee, however, said those who carried out the attack never targeted foreign nationals, contrary to testimonies from rape victims interviewed on the matter.
As such, members of the investigation committee had no evidence to believe "certain nationalities were targeted."
The report, among others, recommended further training of soldiers on human rights, respect for civilians during combats and addressing low pay for armed forces.
UN PEACEKEEPERS BLAMED
The United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon has sacked the commander of the UN force in South Sudan, a day after the world body released which accused its peacekeeping troops of failed to protect unarmed civilians in July.
A spokesperson for the UN Secretary General said Ki-moon demanded the “immediate” replacement Lt Gen Johnson Mogoa Kimani Ondieki.
The UN had instituted an independent special investigation into the July 2016 violence in the young nation’s capital to establish what actions its mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) undertook, including its response to acts of sexual violence in and around the protection of civilians sites at UN House and the attack on Terrain camp.
The special investigation found said the UN did not respond effectively to the violence due to an overall lack of leadership, preparedness and integration among the various components of the mission.