South Sudan Law Society Welcomes the Pardon of Peter Abdelrahman Sule, Dr. Lam Akol, Gabriel Tanginye, Gatwech Dual Mabor Dhol, and Simon Gatwech Joak with Reservations
South Sudan Law Society
Access to Justice for All
P.O. Box Private Bag. Juba South Sudan
Tel.: +249 (0) 955073591 / + 249 (0) 955148989 Sat. Phone: +8821644446320
Press Statement for Immediate release
Juba, October 24, 2013 (SSNA) -- South Sudan Law Society (SSLS) welcomed President Salva Kiir’s decision to give amnesty and release Peter Abdelrahman Sule, Dr. Lam Akol, Gabriel Tanginye, Gatwech Dual Mabor Dhol and Simon Gatwech Joak. The Law Society commends the President for pursuing a peaceful approach in resolving problems in the new nation and giving a chance to reconciliation, unity and peace for the betterment of the nation. The President has demonstrated this in the recent past when he granted amnesty to David Yau Yau and his group.
SSLS believes in the rule of law, peaceful transfer of power and change of government through regular democratic elections as the grand norm for any modern state. It reiterates the constitutional preamble which states that South Sudan is to be founded on the pillars of unity, justice, equality, respect for human rights and the rule of law.
The alleged crimes committed by the pardoned persons which culminated into their arrest and detention were matters within public knowledge. As such, the citizens were keen to see due process take place through the courts of Law as provided under the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan 2011 and the Penal laws. While their release is good for unity and peace, it raises unanswered questions of accountability to the victims and also issues regarding the observance of the rule of law in South Sudan.
The Society is concerned that the pardoned persons had been detained without a fair trial for which they were entitled to. Also, their Constitutional rights to be produced before a competent court and to a fair, speedy trial were violated.
SSLS is concerned that the rule of law cannot be upheld and human rights respected unless all arrested suspects irrespective of their status in South Sudan are brought to book and accorded a fair trial in the competent courts of South Sudan within a reasonable time for justice to be seen as done as required by law.
The Amnesty granted to these persons is a precedent that may be followed by persons who try to overthrow the government in the future or by those who will violate human rights. The constitution of South Sudan provides for equality before the law and therefore citizens who do not comply with the law should be subjected to the force of the law for there to be justice, rule of law, peace and prosperity of the country.
It will not surprise South Sudanese if the released persons file a civil suit against the government of South Sudan in the courts of law for false imprisonment reason being that they were arrested for offences for which they were never charged or arraigned in court.
SSLS recommends that the South Sudan National Legislative Assembly enacts an Amnesty law which will clearly stipulate the conditions to be fulfilled in order to receive amnesty. Among others, that the person should take responsibility for his/her criminal acts, admit to the commission of the crime and offer a sincere apology while committing never to repeat the same acts again. This will ensure accountability.
The society further recommends that “the Amnesty law” put strict qualifications for amnesty so that future perpetrators of human rights violations and those intending to unlawfully overthrow the government are held accountable for their actions in the courts of law.
For more Information, you can contact Communications Office-SSLS:
Peter Gai Manyuon
Senior Information and Communications Officer,
South Sudan Law Society-SSLS.
Telephone +211(0)956257038, +211(0)912230674