September 6, 2019 South Sudan NEWS PORTAL

(NAIROBI) – A missing case file is blocking appeals in the sexual assault case stemming from the July 11, 2016 attack on the Terrain hotel in JubaSouth Sudan, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and Legal Action Worldwide said today.

The case file has not been seen since it was sent to President Salva Kiir in 2018.

One year after 10 soldiers were convicted for the sexual assault and rape of at least five aid workers and the murder of a journalist during the attack, the Supreme Court is unable to move forward with appeals by the victims and those convicted because of the missing file.

“It is outrageous that a year after the conviction the parties’ appeals cannot be heard because of a missing case file,” said Antonia Mulvey, founder and executive director of Legal Action Worldwide. “The authorities should ensure that there are no deliberate attempts to obstruct justice and locate the file, so the Supreme Court can examine the appeal.”

For the case to proceed on appeal, a complete record of the case is required.

“The victims of this heinous attack, and their families, have suffered so much already – it’s unfathomably cruel to prolong their quest for justice,” said Seif Magango, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.”

The authorities should ensure the rights of victims to a remedy and of the accused to a fair trial, including their right to appeal and their right to be tried or to obtain justice without undue delay, the groups said.

In September 2018, the rape and sexual assault survivors and the family of John Gatluak Manguet, the journalist killed in the attack, appealed the court’s decision to award US$4,000 to each of the rape and sexual assault survivors, and 51 cows to the journalist’s family. They contended that the compensation was not commensurate with the crimes, and with the physical and mental trauma they have endured since the attack. The convicted soldiers also filed their intention to appeal the conviction.

“After the compensation was awarded, I felt violated again, I felt raped again by the justice system,” said Sabrina Prioli, one of the rape survivors. “Now we appeal because we want a formal compensation system that takes into account the gravity of the crime.”

The missing case file, which included the judgment, was sent to President Salva Kiir for confirmation before the judgment was delivered on September 6, 2018. The file has not been seen since. UN officials and diplomats strongly suspect the file was lost in the Office of the President.

For the case to proceed on appeal, a complete record of the case is required.

For more information about this story visit the International Human Rights watch Official Website.

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