The United Nations has welcomed the move by a South Sudanese District Court Martial to convict 13 members of the South Sudanese People’s Defence Forces (SSPDF) of sexual offences last month.
Through a press statement dated November 3, Special Representative of the Secretary-General Pramila Patten expressed her joy in the positive steps that the SSPDF is taking in bringing to justice perpetrators of sexual violence.
“I also welcome the recent convictions in civilian courts in Kuajok and Wau of two SSPDF soldiers for gang rape and rape respectively of underage girls, one South Sudan National Police Service (SSNPS) officer for rape and three members of the pro-Riek Machar Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition (SPLA-IO) for rape in Yambio and Wau court,” noted Pratten.
According to the UN, these recent verdicts “not only send a message to perpetrators about the consequences of their actions but also reaffirms the government commitment to a zero-tolerance policy for conflict-related sexual violence.”
Rape is an offence under Article 247 of the Penal Code Act of South Sudan.
The office also applauded the rape survivors who sought justice and testified and the civil society for their advocacy role and support they have offered rape survivors.
The UN has affirmed that it will keep working hand in hand with the South Sudan government to ensure that it fulfills its commitments under the Joint Communique signed on 11 October 2014 in order to avert sexual violence and ensure justice prevails for rape survivors.