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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

Malawian court sentences Catholic priest, Police officer, medical practitioner to death for killing albino for rituals

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A Catholic priest, Rev. Father Thomas Muhosha, alongside a police officer, Chikondi Chileka and a medical practitioner, Lumbani Kamanga were on Tuesday, sentenced to death by a Malawian High Court judge, Dorothy Nyakaunda Kamanga, for allegedly conspiring to kill an albino, MacDonald Masambuka, for ritual purposes.

Judge Kamanga also sentenced the duo of Muhosha, Chileka and three others to 30 years imprisonment with hard labor on charges of transacting in human parts, while Kamanga, a clinician, also received an additional 60-year term on charges of extraction of human parts.

Masambuka had reportedly gone missing from his village on March 9, 2018, and a month later, his decapitated body was found buried in the garden of a home in the Machinga district in the south of Malawi where one of the suspects lived.

Documents presented in court showed that the victim’s brother, Cassim Masambuka had lured him to meet the brother’s friends with the ruse that he had found a woman who was willing to marry the albino after many women had rejected him because of his condition.

Cassim Masambuka was also sentenced to life in prison for murder along with a 14-year sentence for trafficking in persons.

The court heard that Cassim and MacDonald got to their destination, the others who had been lying in wait grabbed MacDonald by the neck and dragged him to the garden where they killed him, before cutting off his limbs and burning his body using gasoline.

Lead prosecutor, Pilirani Masanjala, who represented the government in the case, said he was happy with the judgment and praised the judge for the courage to hand out the convictions.

“It (judgement) ensures that all the persons who have been found, charged and convicted of all these heinous crimes will face the full arm of the law.

“So, that is something that for us, as directors for public prosecutions, we are happy to see that the courts are doing nowadays,” Masanjala said to reporters after the landmark judgement.

Attacks and killing of albinos for rituals in Malawi and other eastern and southern African countries have been on the increase despite efforts by the various governments to discourage the practice.

A representative of People With Albinism in Malawi, William Masapi, who lamented the practice of attacking albinos should be treated with such severe punishments to serve as a deterrent to others.

“Because we are also human beings. We need to enjoy life. We have responsibilities in this country; some of us are working in the government taking part in the development of this country. So, people should learn from today that we people with albinism are like them, Masapi said.

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Metro

Leading Egyptian judge declared wanted for allegedly murdering journalist wife

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The Egyptian police has mounted a huge manhunt for a leading judge who has been on the run after he allegedly murdered his television presenter wife earlier this month.

The police, in a statement on Tuesday, said the suspect, Judge Ayman Hajjaj, killed his wife, Shaimaa Gamal, at a farm and the discovery was made after an accomplice was arrested and he led the police to the location where the victim’s body with her face burnt with nitric acid, was recovered.

The Egyptian public prosecutor’s office said its investigations had proved that the TV anchor was last seen with her husband at shopping centre shortly before she was declared missing by her family and work colleagues.

The prosecutor’s office said an international arrest warrant has also been issued as Judge Hajjaj, who is the Deputy Chairman of Egypt’s powerful Council of State, had recently obtained visas for Canada and Poland.

Egyptian Security Services said it found the body of the popular broadcaster who became notorious a few years ago for appearing to snort heroin on live television, inside a villa farm in one of the cities of Giza Governorate, while investigations suggested that her husband was behind her murder.

The Giza Security Directorate said it had received a report stating that “Gamal, a TV presenter working on a private satellite channel, had been missing, as she was presenting a program entitled “The Troubleshooter”, had disappeared in mysterious circumstances 20 days ago, with all her phones are switched off.

“When her body was discovered, Shaima Gamal had her face distorted used nitric acid and fire water. Further investigations has revealed that Shaima Gamal was murdered by the hands of her husband, Judge Ayman Hajja, who is the Counselor and Vice-President of the State Council in Egypt.

“Later on, the police knew from his driver the place where Hajja buried Gamal in a villa in Abusir area in the Al-Badrashin district.

“He brutally murdered her by hitting her on the head with the grip of a pistol, then strangling her with a scarf and burying her after mutilating her face in the villa located in the Mansouriya area,” the Service said.

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