Press Release: For Immediate Release

New York, 7 September 2018: Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Ms. Pramila Patten, welcomes the decision of the special tribunal to sentence ten soldiers for murder, rape and other crimes committed at the Terrain hotel compound in Juba in 2016. The attack took place in the context of military operations by the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA). During the fighting, SPLA forces attacked the compound in Juba housing humanitarian workers and other employees of international organisations. A journalist was murdered, and five international aid workers were raped.

“Victims and survivors of this horrific attack deserved justice. While this will not diminish the trauma, pain and suffering they endured, it is important that the perpetrators have finally been held publicly accountable”, said Special Representative Patten. “When the political will exists, it is possible to effectively prosecute crimes of conflict-related sexual violence. This trial sets an important precedent for the prosecution of rape as a war crime in South Sudan”, Special Representative Patten added.

The outcome of the trial sends a powerful message: perpetrators of sexual violence will be prosecuted and punished. However, questions remain about whether accountability for these crimes has reached high enough up the chain of command.

Victims and witnesses faced a number of challenges throughout the judicial process, which began in May 2017, but demonstrated courage, patience and perseverance. Statements from the victims of sexual violence, attesting to their brutal ordeal of being raped, gang-raped, beaten and robbed at gunpoint by government soldiers, were heard in closed session following the Court’s acceptance of the Prosecution’s application to allow victims to give testimony via videoconference in order to protect their identities.

“The Government of South Sudan bears the primary responsibility for protecting its people”, said Special Representative Patten. “During my recent visit to the country, the Government affirmed its willingness to implement the Joint Communiqué to end sexual violence signed with the United Nations in 2014. My Office stands ready to support the Government in this endeavor,” she added.

“While I commend these convictions, I also urge the Government to prosecute all perpetrators of sexual violence crimes and ensure that all victims receive justice, services and reparations”, concluded Special Representative Patten.

For media inquiries, please contact:

Ms. Géraldine Boezio, Office of the Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict

Tel: +1 917 367 3306   Email: geraldine.boezio@un.org

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