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South Sudan: UN to investigate 142 persons for violations of human rights

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The United Nations (UN) human rights body has come up with a list of 142 persons to be probed over grave human rights abuses amounting to war crimes, in South Sudan.

The 142 individuals are being accused of grievous crimes such as massacres, torture, abductions, detentions, looting, burning of villages, forced displacement, rape and sexual violence, the UN Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan said.

The UN Commission on human rights in South Sudan came up with a latest report last Friday, saying it had “reasonable grounds to believe that members of the Government of South Sudan have engaged in acts … amounting to war crimes” in the southwestern districts of Central Equatoria and Western Equatoria.

“It [the commission] has drawn up a list of 142 individuals who warrant investigation for a range of crimes under national and international law,” Chairwoman of the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan, Yasmin Sooka told the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva in a statement.

The report described terrible rights abuses such as mass rapes, sexual slavery of women, deliberate killing of dozens of children, including at least one infant who was beaten to death by soldiers in front of the mother.

“The notion that the localised violence is not linked to the State or to national-level conflicts, as suggested by the Government and South Sudanese military elites, is a fallacy,” Sooka said.

“These localised killings, massacres, torture, abductions, detentions, looting, burning of villages, and forced displacement, as well as the rape, and sexual violence, are a reflection of the intense political contestation for power … at a national level.”

“Nearly all 14 of the UN’s risk factors for atrocity crimes are now present in South Sudan,” Sooka added.

Hundreds of civilians were killed in cold-blooded conflict between rival armed groups in Sudan’s southwest between June and September, 2021, according to the UN.

South Sudan, the youngest country in the world, who got independence in 2011, has been a victim of severe instability. The UN had warned last month that the country risks sliding into war as violence amongst ethnic groups and political infighting threatens an already weak peace process.

There has been no official response by the government of South Sudan to the  development.

Metro

South African serial rapist gets four life imprisonment terms

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A South African serial rapist and killer, Philani Justice Nkosi, has been sentenced to four life imprisonment terms by a Mpumalanga High Court for rape and murder.

The court also sentenced the 35-year-old to 15 years imprisonment after he was found guilty of murdering one of his victims who recognised him.

Nkosi was sentenced on Friday after the court found him guilty of one count of murder, three counts of rape and robbery with aggravating circumstances.

National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson, Monica Nyuswa, who expressed satisfaction with the sentence, said Nkosi committed the offences between 2014 and 2018 in Bhuga Trust and Halfway Trust in KaBokweni.

“In one incident which stands out, the accused attacked a 12-year-old victim while she was on the way to the local shop. He dragged her to the nearby bush, raped and strangled her to death,” Nyuswa said.

“He also raped another woman in March 2016, stabbed and robbed her of cash.

“The accused continued with his crime spree until December 2018 when he raped an adult woman who was on her way home from work.

“The matter was reported to the police, and the accused was subsequently arrested and linked to other crimes through DNA,” Nyuswa said.

Nkosi who pleaded not guilty to the crimes, claimed the two rape survivors were prostitutes and that the deceased was his girlfriend.

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Tanzanian court sentences 11 people to death for killing South African conservationist

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A Tanzanian High Court has sentenced 11 people to death after they were found guilty of killing a South African conservationist, Wayne Lotter, who was murdered in Dar es Salaam in 2017.

The convicts include nine Tanzanians and two citizens of neighbouring Burundi.

The victim was a renowned anti-poaching activist who was singled out by the convicts for disrupting their illegal poaching activities, according to prosecutors while testifying in court on Friday.

State prosecutors told Judge Leila Mgonya that the 51-year-old Lotter who was based in Tanzania, was a founder of the PAMS Foundation, an NGO which worked to stop the poaching of elephants and trafficking of ivory in the East African country.

He was shot dead in Dar es Salaam when the taxi he was travelling in was ambushed and though the exact motive for his killing is still unknown, his colleagues believe he was singled out for his work on protecting elephants, local media reports.

While handing down the death sentences, Judge Mgonya said there was compelling evidence that linked the 11 to the two counts of conspiracy to commit murder and murder on which they were charged

“Some of the suspects, in their statements recorded by police officers, confessed to have taken part in the conspiracy meetings and in killing. The evidence provided was strong enough to convict them,” the judge said.

Tanzania is one of the worst hit African countries in terms of elephant poaching, with a data released early this year noting that more than 66,000 elephants have been lost in the last 10 years due to the activities of illegal poachers.

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