South Sudan

SPLA court demands testimony from rape survivors

South Sudan’s court martial on Thursday demanded the names and presence of the five foreign aid workers who were allegedly raped to come to the court.

The trial concerns an attack on the Terrain Hotel, home to many foreign aid workers. The incident occurred in Juba on July 11 last year as President Kiir’s troops won a battle over opposition troops loyal forces loyal to former Vice President Riek Machar.

Colonel Deng Manyiel, a judge member in the court proceedings, spoke after the cross-examination of two witnesses, a driver and a cook who were present at the Terrain Hotel at the time the alleged soldiers broke into the compound, also said the names of those rape survivors should be disclosed.

“One, medical examination of victims, those who met in Nairobi, we want them. Two, we need the names of those who were raped, because this is an international issue, we want to clean our image of the SPLA army because we are taken wrongly, and there are negative allegations against the government,” he said.

12 soldiers currently stand trial for the gang-rapes of five foreign aid workers and the murder of one local journalist in Juba.

Meanwhile, the Chief Prosecutor Colonel Mayiel Jek told the court that they are still hearing eye witnesses’ accounts and then the rape victims will soon be needed.

“We didn’t finish up to now, and all the witnesses and victims are coming step by step according to their importance. We didn’t close the case of witnesses and also other witnesses are not yet here,” he said.

Santo Domic Chol, SPLA spokesperson said SPLA court is to provide justice to all not victims and perpetrators because the SPLA is not politicians. “We are not here to protect the name of the SPLA,” he said.

“We really respect the protection of personalities and if the victims opt their names should be protected for a certain period of time until they face the court, I think it is good to them,” he said.

“Of course, they (victims) they are going to be here, there is no way that you can conduct a court without the appearance of the victim,” Domic added.

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