South Sudan: sentencing of soldiers for Juba hotel attack welcomed
Journalist murdered and aid workers gang-raped in the Terrain Hotel attack in 2016
‘Today’s convictions and sentences represent a first step towards ending chronic impunity in South Sudan’ - Seif Magango
Following the conviction and sentencing of ten South Sudanese soldiers in connection with the killing of a journalist and the rape of aid workers during an attack on the Terrain Hotel in the capital Juba in 2016, Seif Magango, Amnesty International’s East Africa Deputy Director, said:
“After much foot dragging, today’s convictions and sentences represent a first step towards ending chronic impunity in South Sudan, where both government forces and the armed opposition have committed human rights violations and crimes under international law, with complete disregard for human life.
“These convictions must lead to the crucial next step of ensuring justice for all crimes committed in the ongoing armed conflict by, first and foremost, setting up the much-delayed Hybrid Court for South Sudan agreed in 2015.
“South Sudanese leaders must keep up the momentum towards ending the climate of impunity in the country.”
Storming of the Terrain Hotel
South Sudanese soldiers stormed the Terrain Hotel in Juba on 11 July 2016, summarily killing the journalist John Gatluak Nhial, gang-raping foreign aid workers and shooting one in the leg, while beating up many others and looting property.
Of the 11 soldiers charged, two were found guilty of involvement in John Gatluak Nhial’s murder and sentenced to life in prison. Three others were found guilty of raping aid workers, four of sexual harassment, and one was found guilty of theft and armed robbery. They have been sentenced to between seven and 14 years in jail.
One of the soldiers was acquitted for lack of evidence, while another died in jail during the trial.