South Sudan sentences South African to hang over aid to rebel chief

South Sudan to hang S. African over aid to rebel chief

"Ultimately, this is the only way to stop the rampant devastation of millions of human lives by South Sudan's leaders", said Sooka.

South Sudan's civilians had their eyes gouged out, were castrated and were forced to rape each other by the country's warring sides, according to United Nations rights investigators who have collected evidence against more than 40 senior military figures.

Retired army colonel William John Endley was a former adviser to ex-vice-president Riek Machar, whose rebel forces have been fighting against the government of President Salva Kiir since 2013.

South Sudan's special high court has sentenced a South African military veteran to execution by hanging. The report documents acts of murder, torture, unlawful seizure of property, sexual violence and unlawful detention committed by members of the country's rival military factions. It says some victims had their eyes gouged out, their throats slit or they were castrated. The same woman also had to watch her husband being castrated.

The report, which chronicles the harrowing testimonies of 230 people, reveals the extent of the cruelty against South Sudanese civilians and how sexual violence is used as a tool of war.

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The report said numerous cases were "reminiscent of Bosnia", in particular the accounts of civilians who were forced to rape their relatives.

According to the verdict, 55-year-old is guilty of illegal entry into South Sudan, supplying opposition groups with arms and ammunition and spying against the government with intent to overthrow the regime. The panel said that children had been forced to kill civilians and loot and had faced corporal punishment if they did not obey. It said that examining only part of this evidence had helped it identify 38 high-ranking military officers and three state governors responsible for serious rights violations and global crimes.

Meanwhile, a separate report authored by the UN Mission in the country (UNMISS) and the Organization's human rights wing, OHCHR, indicated that undue restrictions on freedom of expression are having a "chilling effect" and further shrinking the space for debate and dissent in war-torn South Sudan. These individuals "should face prosecution", the commission said.

Whether the investigators' evidence will result in prosecutions depends on the African Union.

Despite deep global frustration over the failure of South Sudan's leaders to implement the 2015 peace agreement or a December cease-fire, Clapham also expressed confidence in the African Union, saying it was determined to go ahead with setting up the court and had already begun preparations.

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