Home | News    Wednesday 5 July 2017

Witnesses recognise S. Sudan soldiers accused of rape

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July 4, 2017 (JUBA) - Two witnesses recognised four South Sudanese soldiers accused of raping expatriates and looting at a hotel located in the South Sudan capital, Juba at a court session held on Tuesday.

Witnesses Jesse Onyango and one Oduor identified the soldiers out of the 13 who were arraigned before the General Court Martial.

The court prosecutor had asked Onyango, a Kenyan national, who survived the 11 July, 2016 raid by suspected government soldiers, to identify if any of the soldiers standing in the dock participated in the attacked at the Terrain hotel.

He pointed out three of the soldiers.

"I saw them in the compound among the soldier when I was being taken to car parking yard by other soldiers," Onyango said.

Oduor, the second witness to testify, identified a fourth soldier.

The court sitting, the forth since trial began last month, is conducted in public at the GCM offices in Geida Barracks south of Juba.

Members of press and several advocates and foreign diplomats attend every hearing. The attack on Terrain hotel led to death of a South Sudanese journalist who was targeted because of his Nuer ethnicity, a government commissioned committee reported.

Five foreign aid workers, including an American, were raped and the entire compound looted. Also, 26 vehicles and other items valued together valued $4.5 million by Terrain hotel management were lost.

During the trial, however, witnesses revealed horrible scenes during the hearing, including firing of bullets into their room by soldiers and recalled hearing voices of women pleading to be spared of rape.

"I was told to lie down by soldiers with my colleague and they were beating us and asking us to ’bring dollars and car keys.’ I said I don’t have dollars and they fired a bullet in the ground just next to my head. I was so frightened. I thought they would kill me," Onyango, who lost all belongings during the attack, told the GCM Tuesday.

The Kenyan national, who worked at the hotel as deputy manager, said he was later ordered out of the room and moved to the parking yard by soldiers, while they allegedly demanded keys to the car.

"As I was moving, the were firing bullets between my legs and near me from both sides. I just moved with my head down," he said.

Onyango said he wanted to give his car to the soldiers, but the car had already been taken by the time he reached the parking lot. The soldiers, he said, returned him to the hotel rooms to help them identify owners of the cars, most them humanitarian aid workers.

"When we reached upstairs [were the expatriates were lodging], the rooms were all broken into and soldiers were all over the corridors. In one locked room, I heard a voice of a woman saying ’please don’t rape me’,” the former hotel manager told the court on Tuesday.

He, however, told the defence lawyers that he could not identify soldier accused of raping the woman since the room was locked.

“I just heard the woman’s voice," he explained.

Both witnesses clarified that they did not know if the soldiers were government troops or rebels, but they were later rescued by the National Security Service and taken to a government military post.

"We slept on the mattresses taken [by soldiers] from Terrain in the post and a soldier gave us whiskey in the morning which we took together," Onyango recalled, throwing the court into murmurs. He alleged the whiskey was taken by soldiers from the Terrain Hotel bar.

Peter Malual, the lead defense lawyer, told court that the accused soldiers cannot be held responsible due to the lack of evidence. However, the public prosecutor, Lt Col. Mayiel argued that the account of events given by the witnesses presented and other investigations carried out by government were sufficient evidences.

DEATH CERTIFICATE QUESTIONED

A Juba Teaching Hospital doctor who signed the death certificate also testified under oath. Dr. Maker Isaac said the deceased journalist’s body wasn’t examined by the hospital, but the certificate was issued after International Committee of the Red Cross confirmed that death was caused by gunshots during the July 2016 fighting.

He said many bodies were brought to the hospital and the health facility did not examine individual case due to high casualties and the fragile security situation at the time.

The defence lawyers said the hospital’s failure to confirm gunshots as cause of death and failure to carry out postmortems was reasonable enough to dismiss the death certificate as insufficient.

Meanwhile, the next court hearing scheduled for 6, July.

(ST)

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  • 5 July 10:16, by Eastern

    The accused are ALL dinka, the prosecutor is a dinka, the defense is dinka, the judge a dinka, the doctor who performed postmortem is a dinka.....What a country messed up by the dinka!!!

    repondre message

    • 5 July 11:07, by Mr Point

      Such a tribalist comment is against all prospect of peaceful development of our country.

      We need a constitution and a law that is independent and above all tribes and tribalists.

      repondre message

      • 5 July 11:35, by Eastern

        Right,

        A people’s constitution that shall provide for equitable treatment and a people’s army that shall have all faces of South Sudanese. The tribal recruitment is now a reason that old woman from Yirol is in dispair. Yes, her son is a suspect looter and suspect rapist. He could be hanged by the neck till he dies if convicted....I don’t care when dogs dies for I hate them!!

        repondre message

    • 5 July 12:00, by Majesty

      Eastern,
      Remember your last year comment about Wau soldiers accused of rape or killing. They were eventually killed by firing squad- all were Dinka contrary to what you were saying.
      Slow down. No one hates justice or want an innocent person accused. It’s just difficult to find true culprits in...-those being finger pointed (no DNA or other proves) now could be innocent.

      repondre message

      • 5 July 18:08, by Eastern

        Majesty,

        Do you have any single facility South Sudan that can conduct DNA tests? I don’t care who gets killed when accused for crimes caused. These same Mathiang Anyoors are responsible for the over 1 million South Sudanese refugees in Uganda. The dinka people have just envoked the wrath of other South Sudanese upon them...

        repondre message

    • 6 July 15:42, by Midit Mitot

      Very amazing brother, one tribe government.

      repondre message

  • 5 July 11:36, by Theallseeingeye

    Eastern is right Mr Point, we cannot just sit back lick Jienge butts and pretend this shit are not happening, we are not afraid anymore because we had witnessed hell already and if this Jienge acts is going to take us all back there (hell) we have no problem of escorting them because we had been there be4. we must speak of this loudly and clear.

    thanks Eastern

    repondre message

    • 5 July 11:59, by Eastern

      Thanks,

      My free speech is not negotiable....

      repondre message

  • 5 July 15:23, by quiz

    Thx Mr.Onyango for identified useless tribal soldiers who killed & raped innocents ppl. I know physically & by name that an American lady who raped in Terran Hotel, she is good & sociable human being indeed. zes hopeless defend lawyer deserve fine as well for denying the fact in court. I thinks he doesn,t respect the conduct codes of judge. I think is relative to perpetrators by blood

    repondre message

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