Abolish law on death penalty, body tells S. Sudan MPs

South Sudan parliamentary
South Sudanese MPs stand during a parliamentary session in Juba on 31 August 2011

The Centre for Peace and Justice (CPJ), a South Sudanese human rights body, has urged lawmakers the raise a motion calling for abolition of the death penalty from the country’s transitional constitution.

In a statement, CPJ’s executive director, Tito Anthony said lawmakers needed to be pushed to ensure the death penalty is scrapped off.

“Rights to life are one of inalienable and inherent rights that cannot be terminate or restricted, at any time and place or for any reasons,” said Tito.

“People will not learn the lesson from what they have done if you just sentence them to death, you need to punish someone for at least years in jail so that the jailed person will be able to transform himself [or herself] to a better person once released,” he added.

According to Tito, a jail sentence is not to punish individuals, but meant to transform any arrested person to a better person in society.

A South Sudan court on Monday sentenced the former spokesman of the rebel leader, Riek Machar to death, citing multiple provisions in the constitution as the basis upon which the verdict was reached.

Dak was facing several charges, including accusations of treason, several months after was unlawfully transferred from Kenya to South Sudan in November 2016. He spent over seven months in solitary confinement before finally being charged with abetment, treason, publishing or communicating false statements prejudicial to South Sudan, and undermining the authority of or insulting President Salva Kiir

The lead-defence lawyer in the case, Monyluak Alor Kuol described the verdict as a political decision.

“I do call on president kiir not to sign the death warrant of James Gatdet, for it a political case that can be handle with the peace Revitalization, in fact Gatdet should be release be now as to show government commitment to Cession of Hostilities Agreement,” said CPJ’s executive director