South Sudan: UN concerned about unlawful killings of 25 people in Warrap state
Translated and edited by: The Committee for Justice
Geneva, 5 September 2021
UN experts have expressed their grave concerns about the alleged unlawful killing of at least 25 people in Warrap State, South Sudan.
The experts explained in a UN memorandum sent to the Government of South Sudan, on 5 July 2021, that between March and June 2021, at least twenty-five people (male individuals, including a boy and two elderly men), allegedly accused of involvement in general crimes and cattle rustling, were killed in the provinces of North and East Tonj, by orders of the local authorities.
The experts added that the alleged victims were arrested by law enforcement officers or community leaders, tried summarily without access to any formal legal process, sentenced to death, executed by firing squad, and reportedly tied to trees before being shot, and their bodies were then left exposed to serve as an example to the local communities.
The experts noted that the security environment in Warrap State is rapidly deteriorating, with the local population becoming trapped in a climate of heightened fear, due to the increased risk of loss of life and other life-threatening situations, in a general context of impunity.
The experts expressed concern that such operations amount to a violation of the right to life, liberty and security of persons, as enshrined in Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and may constitute a violation of the absolute prohibition of torture enshrined in Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The experts called on the Government of Southern Sudan to urgently take effective measures to prevent arbitrary deprivation of life, and to adequately address the escalating wave of violence and impunity in Warrap State.
At the conclusion of their memorandum, the experts called on the Government of Southern Sudan to indicate whether any step has been taken or is to be taken to investigate the allegations in compliance with international standards, provide information on the current status of this investigation, and explain whether it has led to any result.
The experts also requested information on whether any support and/or compensation measures would be provided for the families of the victims, as appropriate.