UN human rights arm urges South Sudan to stop executions

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Cécile Pouilly

South Sudan has carried out at least four executions since the beginning of November, according to reports received by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

Two men convicted of murder had been hanged in Juba on 12 November and two others in Wau on 18 November.

More than 200 individuals were believed to be on death row throughout the country, the agency added.

The UN Human rights office said the actual number of individuals executed was likely to be higher, as the government did not publicly disclose information about death sentences or judicial executions.

Cécile Pouilly, OHCHR Spokesperson told reporters in Geneva on Friday that it was unclear whether the four individuals executed in November had had any access to legal representation.

"The overwhelming majority of individuals in prison in South Sudan did not have legal representation or the right to free legal aid in serious criminal, civil, land and family matters. As a result, they were often unable to mount an adequate defence or to contest the use of forced confessions in court. In these circumstances, the high threshold set by international law for the use of the death penalty failed to be met."

Although South Sudan voted in favour of the UN General Assembly's moratorium on the use of the death penalty, at least 14 individuals were believed to have been executed since the country had gained its independence in July 2011.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration: 1’31″

 

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