July 28, 2021 (JUBA) – South Sudan authorities should investigate officials and security forces over the spate of extra-judicial killings in Warrap State, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said Thursday.
- Map of South Sudan showing Warrap state in red
South Sudanese security forces, allegedly acting on orders of Warrap governor, Aleu Ayieny Aleu, executed at least eight suspected criminals, including two children, as part of an anti-crime campaign in the state.
According to HRW, between April and June, security forces executed at least 21 people accused of murder, theft and other offenses.
At least eight of the killings, it said, were verified.
“If Governor Aleu authorized summary killings instead of legal proceedings against suspected criminals, he is abusing his power and undermining the rule of law,” said Nyagoah Tut Pur, South Sudan researcher at HRW.
“President Kiir should ensure credible and transparent investigations into these serious violations of the right to life, bring those responsible to account and ensure compensation for the victims’ families,” she added.
The group said customary chiefs have no legal authority over murder cases and the proceedings and judgments from customary courts routinely contradict human rights principles.
By allowing customary authorities to sanction killings, the state authorities are violating domestic criminal laws and international human rights law, ranging from the rights to a fair trial and due process, to their right to life, it observed.
The rights body urged South Sudanese authorities to immediately halt and ensure justice for the unlawful killings, which constitute serious violations of international law. It further appealed to authorities to develop the police and judiciary’s ability to deal effectively with intercommunal violence, other crimes, and their punishment.
On Monday, the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) called for an end to extrajudicial executions following the killing of at least 42 people accused of criminal activity.
Since March, UNMISS’ Human Rights Division said it has documented at least 14 incidents of extrajudicial killings in Warrap, resulting in the execution of 29 males, including boys and elderly men.