S Sudan judge orders rape victims to appear at trial

Juba - Aid workers that were raped during an attack on their compound in South Sudan must testify in-person against a group of soldiers on trial for the assault, a judge ruled on Friday.

The decision is the latest frustration for victims of the attack on the Terrain compound in the capital Juba, which occurred during fierce fighting in the city last year and cast a spotlight on atrocities committed by government troops during the country's three-year civil war.

Twelve soldiers are charged in military court with looting and raping at least five foreign aid workers and murdering prominent journalist John Gatluak during the attack on the residence.

Judge Brigadier General Knight Brunney rejected a prosecutor's request to have the foreign victims, who are no longer in South Sudan, give testimony outside the country or by video conference.

"The victims must come before the court personally and the court rejects all the requests to take the statement of the victims outside the country or video conference," presiding Judge Knight Brunney said.

"All these requests are not leading the court to truth," he added.

Prosecutor Mayiel Jiek told the court that it would be "very difficult" for the victims to travel to Juba to give testimony in the trial.

"Their coming to South Sudan and living will cost them a lot of money," Jiek told the court.

The prosecution's case has been plagued by setbacks since the trial started in May.

Earlier, the court had rejected the death certificate for Gatluak, meaning there is no legal proof that a body which an earlier witness had testified seeing in the compound on the night of the attack was his.

Two witnesses who testified on Friday - a commander of the forces around Terrain at the time of clashes and a military intelligence officer - admitted to commanding the suspects but denied the charges against them.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
Matric results are out! Are you happy with your child's result?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
No, the pandemic really messed up their ability to focus
35% - 102 votes
Yes, they did well given the circumstances
65% - 193 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
15.10
+0.9%
Rand - Pound
20.46
+0.1%
Rand - Euro
17.13
+0.0%
Rand - Aus dollar
10.85
-0.1%
Rand - Yen
0.13
+0.1%
Gold
1,834.71
0.0%
Silver
24.29
0.0%
Palladium
2,111.50
0.0%
Platinum
1,034.00
0.0%
Brent Crude
87.89
-0.6%
Top 40
68,186
-2.1%
All Share
74,835
-1.9%
Resource 10
74,924
-3.0%
Industrial 25
94,147
-1.8%
Financial 15
15,076
-0.2%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE