JUBA – A General Court Martial in Yei River County of Central Equatoria State on Tuesday sentenced 20 soldiers to various jail terms over murder, rape, and looting.
The soldiers from the South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF) received jail terms that range from 2 to 10 years after being found guilty of murder rape and looting.
Others were given fine ranging from 250,000 to 1 million South Sudanese Pounds.
One suspect was acquitted due to a lack of sufficient evidence.
The soldiers arrested recently over murder, rape, and looting in the town of Yei first appeared in court on 3rd June.
Presiding Judge Col. Mayol Jiek, Deputy President of the General Court Martial who is also doubled as Legal Advisor to SSPD said the soldiers can appeal their sentences within 14 days.
“1 suspect was charged 1.9 million SSP for injuring a child and sentenced to five years imprisonment. One suspect was acquitted for lack of sufficient evidence,” Presiding Judge Col. Mayol read out the verdict on Monday in Yei.
“General Court Martial is here to bring to end impunity, lawlessness, and disorderly behaviors and actions against innocent people and against our nation,” Aggrey Cyrus Kanyikwa, Commissioner of Yei River County told reporters after the court session.
“As commissioner of Yei River County, I will ensure to fight the causes of murder, rape, and looting perpetrated by members of organized forces.”
The military court was established by the SSPDF general headquarters in 2020 to try soldiers accused of committing crimes against civilians, in the County.
In October 2020, the court-martial in Yei sentenced 24 SSPDF soldiers to prison for committing various crimes.
The combatants were arrested and convicted of committing crimes such as sexual violence between 2019 and 2020 in areas of Yei River, Central Equatoria State.
They are also charged with rape, looting, and killing, among others, at a time of heightened insecurities caused by the crackdown on insurgencies of holdout groups.