South Sudan Soldiers Sentenced to Death, Jail for July Crimes

A South Sudanese military court sentenced one soldier to death and others to jail terms for crimes including murder, rape and looting committed during violence in the capital in early July.

A total of 77 soldiers were sentenced on Friday, army spokesman Lul Ruai Koang told reporters in the capital, Juba, calling it “a day for justice.” One was given a 14-year jail term for the rape of a 14-year-old girl and another the same term for embezzling soldiers’ pay.

Another soldier was sentenced to death by firing squad for ordering the killing of three civilians, while others were given jail-terms ranging from three months to five years for various crimes.

At least 270 people were killed in about five days of fighting in the city that began July 8 between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and his then-deputy, Riek Machar. That threw into turmoil a transitional government aimed at ending more than two years of civil war that has claimed tens of thousands of lives.

Uniformed fighters, including from the government army, killed, raped and stole from civilians during and after the clashes, Human Rights Watch said in a report last month. On July 11, government forces overran a compound where staff from some international organizations had sought refuge, it said. The troops executed a journalist, raped several women and beat dozens of other staff, according to the New York-based rights group. Koang didn’t say whether any of those sentenced Friday had been involved in that attack.

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