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

Jihadist Assassin says Goal of Tunisia Murders Was Chaos

Abu Muqatil at-Tunusi’s remarks in a propaganda interview also cast light on attack on Bardo Museum More

Russia Denies License to Tatar-Language TV Station in Crimea

OSCE official says denial shows 'politically selective censorship of free and independent voices in Crimea is continuing' More

Kenyan Startups Tackle Expensive Remittances Through Bitcoin

Some think services could give Western Union a run for its money, though others say it’s still got a long way to go More

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.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leadersi
X
Aru Pande
April 01, 2015 9:09 PM
The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leaders

The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Buhari: Nigeria Has ‘Embraced Democracy’

Nigeria woke up to a new president-elect Wednesday, Muhammadu Buhari. But people say democracy is the real winner as the country embarks on its first peaceful handover of power since the end of military rule in 1999. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Abuja.
Video

Video Tiny Camera Sees Inside Blood Vessels

Ahead of any surgical procedure, doctors try to learn as much as possible about the state of the organs they plan to operate on. A new camera developed in the Netherlands can now make that easier - giving surgeons an incredibly detailed look inside blood vessels, all the way to the patient’s heart. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Latin American Groups Seek Fans at Texas Music Festival

Latin American music groups played all over Austin, Texas, during the recent South by Southwest festival, and some made fans out of locals as well as people from around the world who had come to hear music. Such exposure can boost such groups' image back home. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Stockton Community, Police, Work to Improve Relations

Relations are tense between minority communities and police departments around the United States following police shootings that have generated widely-publicized protests. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Stockton, California, where police and community groups are working toward solutions, with backing from Washington.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More