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

    Chechen Suspected in Istanbul Attack, but Questions Remain

    Turkish sources say North Caucasus militants involved in bombing at Ataturk airport, but name of at least one alleged attacker raises doubts

    With Johnson Out, Can a New ‘Margaret Thatcher’ Save Britain?

    Contest to replace David Cameron as Britain’s prime minister started in earnest Thursday with top candidates outlining strategy to deal with Brexit fallout

    US Finds Progress Slow Against Human Trafficking in Africa

    Africa continues to be a major source and destination for human trafficking of all kinds -- from forced labor to sexual slavery, says State Department report

    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.
    Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Eitheri
    X
    Jim Malone
    June 29, 2016 6:16 PM
    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora