News / Africa

    S. Sudan to Launch Legal Action Against Detained Officials

    South Sudan's President Salva Kiir speaks after meeting with Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir, in the capital Juba, South Sudan, Jan. 6, 2014.
    South Sudan's President Salva Kiir speaks after meeting with Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir, in the capital Juba, South Sudan, Jan. 6, 2014.
    Peter Clottey
    South Sudan’s foreign minister says President Salva Kiir has instructed the minister of justice to expedite “legal processes” against the detained officials accused of plotting to overthrow the government in Juba.

    Barnaba Marial Benjamin also called for the faction led by former vice president Riek Machar to show commitment at the ongoing peace negotiations in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, to end the conflict and stabilize the security situation.

    Benjamin’s comments followed demands by the international community, including the U.N. Security Council, for the release of the detained officials as part of the peace process to end South Sudan’s conflict.

    No release until 'legal processes’ conducted                                                             
    The administration in Juba has informed the international community, including U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, the detained officials could only be released after the conclusion of the “legal processes,” according to Benjamin.

    “Once these legal processes are initiated, investigation is done [and] charges are made, then there is within our constitution a point at which the president can intervene,” said Benjamin.  “That is when it is possible for the president not to break the constitution, where he can be able to effect the release the detainees according to legal results that come out of that.  So I can assure you that the president is committed to that.”

    If Mr. Kiir just releases them, Benjamin says, the detained officials can turn around and take the president and even the country to court and argue they were arrested without evidence.

    He said the international community could also ensure the release of the detainees is on the agenda at the ongoing peace talks in neighboring Ethiopia. 

    “Let it then be in the agenda of the dialogue as one of the articles as cessation of hostilities.  Let them put the issue of detainees to be discussed by the delegations that are in Addis [Ababa],” said Benjamin.

    Some analysts say the government has exceeded the number of days allowed by law to continue to detain the officials without charges or prosecution.  Benjamin conceded the legal process has been slow.

    “They should not be held beyond the limited time and that is why the president has urged the minister of justice to expedite [the process] because they also have their constitutional rights that need to be protected,” said Benjamin.

    He expressed optimism the peace negotiations will soon lead to a political solution to end the violence.

    “We are fully committed to resolving this issue,” said Benjamin.  “We have assured the IGAD countries; we have assured the African Union and even our friends including the United Nations that the [government and] is committed to peace is committed to resolving this issue peacefully.”

    Who started the conflict?

    Some observers have criticized the administration in Juba for the ongoing conflict that has left more than 1,000 dead and tens of thousands displaced from their homes.  They contend the government is also to blame for the ongoing conflict.

    Benjamin disagrees. “The government has the constitutional mandate to protect the sovereignty of the Republic of South Sudan,” he said.

    “It is the other side that is attacking the government positions. That is why they occupied Bor, [and] Bentiu.  It is incumbent on the government to see that these people do not occupy those positions, because this is sovereignty issues.”

    Clottey interview with Barnaba Marial Benjamin, South Sudan foreign minister
    Clottey interview with Barnaba Marial Benjamin, South Sudan foreign ministeri
    || 0:00:00
    ...    
     
    X

    You May Like

    Turkey, US Splits Deepen Over Support for Kurdish Militants

    Ankara summons American ambassador to protest remarks by State Department spokesman who said Washington does not consider Syria's Kurdish Democracy Union Party (PYD) a terrorist organization

    Obama Seeking $19 Billion for National Cybersecurity

    Move, touted as attempt to build broad, cohesive federal response to cyberthreats, calls for increase in cybersecurity spending across all government agencies

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire, who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the wars in Iraq, Syria and Yemen

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Ten States 'One Country from: Wau
    January 13, 2014 6:26 AM
    The detaines shouldn't be released untill the faced the law of justice and Country court..
    No Releasement
    In Response

    by: Anonymous
    January 14, 2014 12:59 AM
    yes, he is stupid.

    by: Kuer Bul
    January 13, 2014 5:42 AM
    Atlease the UN has pressured the president to think of taking the detainees to prove themselves in court.Detaining without trial is a crime.

    by: Wilson Manyuon from: U S A
    January 13, 2014 2:26 AM
    It is believed that the International community always support the Rule Law and accountability. Is,t it odd that this same International community,united states included that are asking the President South Sudan to release the detainees?
    If they were not part of the attempted coup,then let them proof it in the court of Law. Every country have the right to follow their Law of the land. It is this same Law (constitution) that the President sworn in to protect.

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clownsi
    X
    February 09, 2016 8:04 PM
    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay Prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Middle East Affairs and national security.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.