By: Tong Kot Kuocnin, Tong Law Chambers, Juba, JAN/20/2017, SSN;
When the people of South Sudan voted overwhelmingly for an independent State, the choice of life over death, it was a choice made as to what kind of future we and the generation to come will enjoy, it was a choice made that we and our offsprings will have a life of freedom, justice and equal rights for all.
This, however, is not the case in Yirol. This hope has been dashed away by the inhumane acts perpetrated on the innocent and vulnerable persons whose freedom and liberties have been unlawfully and arbitrarily restrained.
Mabur-Zeed detention center in Yirol is such an illegal detention center in which most devastating, cruel, degrading and inhumane acts are being meted on the prisoners on daily basis.
As the title of this article suggests, not only did the authorities in Yirol authorized and ordered arbitrary and indefinite detention, incommunicado detention, intimidations and extortion which are common practices, beatings and torture are quite taking a toll as an order of the day.
But most heinous of all, the government ordered a shoot-to-kill on five (5) detainees without any proper due process of the law. The five (5) detainees were shot dead on the orders of the governor of the state in which one (1) died on spot, two (2) died lying on the ground around the detention center as they were refused any medical attention on the orders of the governor.
Worst still, the bodies of the other two (2) detainees were found floating on the waters of Lake Yirol, having been shot and left at the river-bank. This is the state of human rights in Yirol.
Yirol that was hoped by all to be the most peaceful, loving and respectful and the one that is said to be most stable, secured and would rapidly get developed among the 28 states, unfortunately is in complete pain of human rights abuses and violations.
In this part of the world, we’re being subjected to arbitrary, indefinite and incommunicado detention; and we’re being extorted and intimidated on daily basis if one speaks out on matters that concern the wellbeing and welfare of the state and its people and at certain point being killed.
Who authorized the killing of detainees at Mabur-Zeed detention center in Yirol?
Obviously, there’s just no any other person more superior in that particular part of the world other than the governor himself. Reports from most reliable sources and most truth-worthy verified information proved that it was indeed the governor himself who ordered the killings of the detainees under the pretext that they’re thieves who deserve not to live but be killed like chickens.
It was reported too from the close associated circles and right-hand people who fenced the governor that it was the same governor who refused the medics to attend to the badly injured detainees until they died of their gunshot wounds lying on the ground in Mabur-Zeed detention facility.
What kind of leadership is this? This practice of incessant violation of the individual’s rights amounts to a blatant violation of the provisions of article 11 of the Transitional Constitution of South Sudan, 2011, which guaranteed that every person has the inherent right to life, dignity and the integrity of his/her person which shall be protected by law; and no one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his or her life.
Not only that, continued indefinite and incommunicado detention of uncharged detainees is a clear violation of the spirit of article 12 of the TCSS, 2011, which as well stipulates that every person has the right to liberty and security of person; no person shall be subjected to arrest, detention, deprivation or restriction of his or her liberty except for specified reasons and in accordance with procedures prescribed by law.
A lot is desired to be said here. As the state authorities beginning with the governor himself have no any idea of what it means to observe tripartite principles of the rule of law, respect for human rights and dignity of the person as well as good governance, the law continued to be kept at bay and rights continued to be violated with impunity.
This is the case of detainees at Mabur-Zeed detention center who are subjected to torture on daily basis which violates the provisions of article 18 of the TCSS, 2011, which guarantees that no person shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment.
Who does this law protect really? The worst of all is the violation of the right to life which is strictly prohibited under article 21(1) of the TCSS, 2011, that no death penalty shall be imposed, save as punishment for extremely serious offences in accordance with the law.
Nobody should be arbitrarily deprived of his or her life whatsoever the case. I wish the governor has a wise legal advisor to give him tips on how to deal with people who have come into contact with the law and those who are in conflict with the law, and if he does then I believe his legal advisor reads the law upside down or a fresh graduate who has no any idea of how to give wise legal advice concerning people who have come into contact with the law and those who’re in conflict with the law.
These are two different categories of people you’re dealing with on daily basis. It is however highly recommended that a fact-finding committee has to be constituted to investigate the circumstances that led to the death of these innocent detainees and a proper recommendation as to who is responsible for their death be made public and those responsible be made to answer for wrong doing.
The writer is a Barrister at Law at Tong Law Chambers and can reached at firstname.lastname@example.org