Death Penalty Database

South Sudan

Information current as of: April 26, 2013

General

Official Country Name

Republic of South Sudan (South Sudan). [1]

Geographical Region

Africa (Northern Africa). [2]

Death Penalty Law Status

Retentionist. From its independence on July 9, 2011, to the end of 2012, South Sudan conducted at least 10 executions. It also imposed new death sentences in 2011 and 2012. [3]

Methods of Execution

Hanging.
South Sudan’s 2008 Code of Criminal Procedure (pre-independence) provides that execution is by hanging. [4]

References

[1] U.S. Dept. of State, Background Note: South Sudan, http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/171718.htm, Sep. 22, 2011.
[2] U.N., Composition of macro geographical (continental) regions, geographical sub-regions, and selected economic and other groupings, http://unstats.un.org/unsd/methods/m49/m49regin.htm, Feb. 11, 2013.
[3] Robert Leggat, List of Executed Prisoners Since September 2007, Corrections Advisory Section, Rule of Law and Security Institutions Support Office of the U.N. Mission in South Sudan, Nov. 21, 2011; Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2011, pp. 7, 52, ACT 50/001/2012, Mar. 27, 2012. Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2012, p. 49, ACT 50/001/2013, Apr. 10, 2012.
[4] South Sudan Code of Criminal Procedure, art. 275, Act No. 5 of 2008.

Country Details

Language(s)

English. [1]

Population

8,260,490. (as of June 2009). [2]

Number of Individuals Currently Under Sentence of Death

According to Human Rights Watch, there were over 200 prisoners on death row as of November 2012. [3] Amnesty reported that at least one death sentence was handed down in 2012, but there was no reliable indication of the exact number. [4]

Annual Number of Reported Executions

Executions in 2017 to date (last updated on October 18, 2017)

0. [5]

Executions in 2016

2. In July 2016, two South Sudanese soldiers were executed by firing squad after being convicted of murder by a military court 6 days after they were arrested. [6] Amnesty International corroborated executions in South Sudan in 2016, but had insufficient to provide a credible minimum figure. [7]

Per capita execution rate in 2016

Executions in 2015

Amnesty International confirmed that there were at least 5 executions but believes that more were carried out. [8]

Per capita execution rate in 2015

0 executions.

Executions in 2014

0. [9]

Per capita execution rate in 2014

0 executions

Executions in 2013

At least 4. [10]

Per capita execution rate in 2013

1 execution per 2,065,122 persons

Executions in 2012

At least 5. Amnesty International reports that 2 men were hanged in Juba prison on August 28, and that 3 more were executed in Wau prison on September 6. [11]

Per capita execution rate in 2012

1 execution per 1,652,098 persons

Executions in 2011

Five executions were reported during 2011, all of which occurred after independence. [12]

Per capita execution rate in 2011

1 execution per 1,652,098 persons

Executions in 2010

7. The most complete record we located by the relevant U.N. Mission lists 7 executions during 2010. [13]

Executions in 2009

10. The most complete record we located by the relevant U.N. Mission lists 10 executions during 2009. [14]

Executions in 2008

2. The most complete record we located by the relevant U.N. Mission lists 2 executions during 2008. [15]

Executions in 2007

0. The most complete record we located by the U.N. Mission in South Sudan listed no executions during 2007. However, the U.N. Mission only began collecting the data in September 2007. We didn't find any other sources reporting executions in 2007. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch reported in 2011 that at least 12 executions had occurred since January 2007, but did not note if or how many of those executions had occurred in 2007. As this number —12— is less than the total number of executions we have found reported for that period, we find no evidence of any execution taking place in 2007. [16]

Year of Last Known Execution

2016. [17]

References

[1] U.S. Dept. of State, Background Note: South Sudan, http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/171718.htm, Sep. 22, 2011.
[2] U.S. Dept. of State, Background Note: South Sudan, http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/171718.htm, Sep. 22, 2011.
[3] Human Rights Watch, South Sudan: Place Moratorium on Death Penalty, www.hrw.org/news/2012/11/04/south-sudan-place-moratorium-death-penalty, Nov. 5, 2012.
[4] Amnesty Intl., Death sentences and executions in 2012, p. 49, ACT 50/001/2013, Apr. 10, 2013.
[5] DPW Executions and Death Sentences Monitor.
[6] Sudan Tribune, Two South Sudanese Soldiers Executed in Wau, http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article59721, Jul. 23, 2016. Radio Tamazuj, Two SPLA soldiers executed by firing squad for killings in Wau, https://radiotamazuj.org/en/article/two-spla-soldiers-executed-firing-squad-killings-wau, Jul. 25, 2016.
[7] Amnesty International, Death sentences and executions in 2016, ACT 50/5740/2017, Apr. 11, 2017.
[8] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2015, ACT 50/3487/2016, Apr. 6, 2016.
[9] Amnesty Intl., Executions and Death Sentences in 2014, ACT 50/001/2015, Mar. 31, 2015.
[10] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2013, p. 50, ACT 50/001/2014, Mar. 26, 2014. All Africa, South Sudan: Amid a Shroud of Secrecy, the Government of South Sudan Quietly Executes Four People, http://allafrica.com/stories/201311270280.html, Nov. 26, 2013.
[11] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2012, p. 45, ACT 50/001/2013, Apr. 10, 2012. Julius N. Uma, South Sudan: UN Criticizes South Sudan Over Execution of Two Prisoners, Sudan Tribune, http://allafrica.com/stories/201209020297.html, Aug. 31, 2012.
[12] Robert Leggat, List of Executed Prisoners Since September 2007, Corrections Advisory Section, Rule of Law and Security Institutions Support Office of the U.N. Mission in South Sudan, Nov. 21, 2011; Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2011, pp. 7, 52, ACT 50/001/2012, Mar. 27, 2012.
[13] Robert Leggat, List of Executed Prisoners Since September 2007, Corrections Advisory Section, Rule of Law and Security Institutions Support Office of the U.N. Mission in South Sudan, Nov. 21, 2011.
[14] Robert Leggat, List of Executed Prisoners Since September 2007, Corrections Advisory Section, Rule of Law and Security Institutions Support Office of the U.N. Mission in South Sudan, Nov. 21, 2011.
[15] Robert Leggat, List of Executed Prisoners Since September 2007, Corrections Advisory Section, Rule of Law and Security Institutions Support Office of the U.N. Mission in South Sudan, Nov. 21, 2011; U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Report of the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Sudan, Sima Samar, para. 83, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/11/14, Jun. 2009.
[16] Robert Leggat, List of Executed Prisoners Since September 2007, Corrections Advisory Section, Rule of Law and Security Institutions Support Office of the U.N. Mission in South Sudan, Nov. 21, 2011; Amnesty Intl. & Human Rights Watch, South Sudan: A Human Rights Agenda, p. 4, AFR 65/001/2011, Jun. 30, 2011.
[17] Sudan Tribune, Two South Sudanese Soldiers Executed in Wau, http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article59721, Jul. 23, 2016. Radio Tamazuj, Two SPLA soldiers executed by firing squad for killings in Wau, https://radiotamazuj.org/en/article/two-spla-soldiers-executed-firing-squad-killings-wau, Jul. 25, 2016.

Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

Crimes Punishable by Death

Murder.
Although murder is punishable by death, there could be a conflict of law concerning the circumstances under which the death penalty applies. Under the penal code, intentional murder (including reckless killing) is punishable by death or life imprisonment. The penal code also provides for the application of a customary legal norm: “the nearest relatives of the deceased [may] opt for customary blood compensation.” [1] “Customary law” means the various customary laws of different ethnic groups in South Sudan, [2] and in the case of murder, it is customary to pay blood compensation in lieu of retaliation by the victim’s clan or tribe. In South Sudan, the death penalty is not applied under customary law. [3] (It is under the statutory law that the death penalty can be applied.) In at least one case, however, a prisoner was executed even after a court approved a settlement of blood compensation (through payment of cattle). It is not clear why the execution went forward, although it may have been that the prisoner’s family failed to pay the debt. [4]

Pursuant to article 207 of the Penal Code, murder committed by a person under sentence of life imprisonment appears to carry the mandatory death penalty (it is not clear whether the blood compensation exception applies). [5] Under the criminal procedure code, however, “if the accused is convicted of an offence punishable with death, and the Court sentences him or her to any punishment other than death, the Court shall in its judgment state the reasons why sentence of death was not passed on the accused.” [6] This could indicate that courts must explain whether a lighter sentence has been awarded after a payment of blood money, or it could indicate that courts have somewhat broader discretion than article 207 suggests.

Other Offenses Resulting in Death.
The penal law of South Sudan permits the death penalty for bearing false witness resulting in an innocent person’s execution or for fabricating such evidence or using as true evidence known to be false. [7] Additionally, if any one of five or more persons jointly committing robbery commits murder as part of the robbery, all the participants of the joint robbery are punishable by death.

Terrorism-Related Offenses Resulting in Death.
Terrorism (or banditry, insurgency or sabotage) resulting in death is punishable by death. [8]

Drug Trafficking Not Resulting in Death.
Aggravated drug trafficking is punishable by a discretionary death penalty, but in the presence of mitigating factors, a death sentence is not permissible. [9]

Treason.
Treason against South Sudan is punishable by death. [10]

Military Offenses Not Resulting in Death.
In our research of South Sudan’s Penal Code, we did not find any military offenses punishable by death. [11] We did not find a military code.

Other Offenses Not Resulting in Death.
Attempted murder by a person under sentence of life imprisonment in connection with a previous murder, causing injury, is punishable by death. [12]

Comments.
Article 252 of the Code of Criminal Procedure states that, subject to certain exceptions, no death sentence shall be imposed on an accomplice. [13]

We did not find the military law for Sudan or South Sudan. A U.N. report indicates that the regular military may be governed by regulatory codes. [14]

It is possible that individuals currently on death row were convicted under previous laws, which might carry a more expansive death penalty than that described here. For example, in 2009 and 2010, prisoners were executed under art. 130 of the then applicable Criminal Act of Sudan (1991), [15] under which the penalty for murder is death unless the victim’s family pardons the offender, usually for a payment of qisas (blood money compensation under Shari’a law). We are unsure whether the current penal code, which authorizes blood compensation under customary law, would result in the same outcome as the previous law authorizing the payment of qisas. [16]

Does the country have a mandatory death penalty?

Unsure. Unsure. Murder committed by a person under a sentence of life imprisonment may be interpreted as carrying the mandatory death penalty (“Whoever while serving the sentence of life imprisonment, commits murder …shall… be sentenced to death.”). [17] However, the Code of Criminal Procedure implies that courts have discretion in all cases (by providing that where a court does not issue a death sentence for a death-eligible offense, it must give reasons.) [18]

Additionally, because some individuals currently under sentence of death were convicted under earlier penal codes, those prisoners may have been convicted under a more expansive mandatory death penalty. For instance, in 2009 and 2010 individuals were executed under art. 130 of the Criminal Act of Sudan (1991), [19] under which the penalty for murder is death unless the victim’s family pardons the offender, usually for a payment of qisas (blood money compensation under Shari’a law). [20] These individuals thus faced a mandatory death penalty, [21] and individuals currently on death row may have as well.

For Which Offenses, If Any, Is a Mandatory Death Sentence Imposed?

Murder.
Murder committed by a person under a sentence of life imprisonment may be interpreted as carrying the mandatory death penalty (“Whoever while serving the sentence of life imprisonment, commits murder …shall… be sentenced to death.”). [22] However, the Code of Criminal Procedure implies that courts have discretion in all cases (by providing that where a court does not issue a death sentence for a death-eligible offense, it must give reasons.) [23]

Additionally, because some individuals currently under sentence of death were convicted under earlier penal codes, those prisoners may have been convicted under a more expansive mandatory death penalty. For instance, in 2009 and 2010 individuals were executed under art. 130 of the Criminal Act of Sudan (1991), [24] under which the penalty for murder is death unless the victim’s family pardons the offender, usually for a payment of qisas (blood money compensation under Shari’a law). [25] These individuals thus faced a mandatory death penalty, [26] and individuals currently on death row may have as well.

Crimes For Which Individuals Have Been Executed Since January 2008:

Murder.
The Rule of Law and Security Institutions Support Office of the U.N. Mission in South Sudan lists 24 executions from January 2008 through November 2011; all of those executions were for murder. [27] All 5 persons executed after independence in 2011 had been sentenced for murder. [28]

We were unable to determine for which offenses the two persons executed in August 2012 had been convicted. [29]

Categories of Offenders Excluded From the Death Penalty:

Individuals Below Age 18 At Time of Crime.
According to the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan [30] and the Penal Code, [31] individuals under the age of 18 cannot be executed. It is unclear how this is applied in practice, because Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch reported in June 2011 that some individuals were being held under sentence of death for crimes committed as juveniles. [32] It is likely that a number of individuals currently held under sentence of death in South Sudan were prosecuted under earlier Penal Codes, at least one of which did not exclude individuals under the age of 18 from the death penalty. [33]

Pregnant Women.
The Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan [34] and the Code of Criminal Procedure [35] prohibit the execution of a woman during pregnancy.

Women With Small Children.
The Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan [36] and the Code of Criminal Procedure [37] prohibit the execution of a woman while her children remain under the age of two. In practice, women with dependent children are executed—for instance, this occurred in 2009, though we were unable to obtain information about the age of the child. [38]

Intellectually Disabled.
Under the South Sudan Penal Code, an individual may not be charged with murder if he “was under the influence of mental abnormality due to a mental retardation or an injury or a disease of the mind to an extent that substantially affects his ability to direct or control his or her act.” [39]

Mentally Ill.
Under the South Sudan Penal Code, an individual may not be charged with murder if he “was under the influence of mental abnormality due to a mental retardation or an injury or a disease of the mind to an extent that substantially affects his ability to direct or control his or her act.” , [40] and a trial should be suspended while a mentally ill person is incapable of understanding the proceedings. [41] We did not find a provision prohibiting the execution of an individual who becomes insane after sentencing.

Elderly.
The Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan, [42] the Penal Code [43] and the Code of Criminal Procedure [44] prohibit the execution of an individual who reaches the age of 70 years.

Comments.
Prisoners executed over the past several years have included individuals convicted under Sudan’s Penal Code provisions for murder and other Penal Codes applicable prior to the enactment of the 2008 South Sudan Penal Code and Code of Criminal Procedure. [45] For some individuals, the laws of the nation of Sudan (not South Sudan or its precursors) were applied. For instance, in 2009 and 2010 individuals were executed in southern Sudan under art. 130 of the Criminal Act of Sudan (1991), [46] under which the penalty for murder is death unless the victim’s family pardons the offender, usually for a payment of qisas (blood money compensation under Shari’a law). [47] It is likely that a number of individuals currently held under sentence of death in South Sudan were prosecuted under earlier Penal Codes, at least one of which did not exclude individuals under the age of 18 from the death penalty. [48] The laws of Sudan as of 1991 did contain limited protections for insane persons, [49] and as early as 1998 the Constitution of Sudan did exclude the elderly from application of the death penalty and offer limited protections to pregnant women and women with small children (this is also reflected in Sudan’s 2005 Constitution). All recent executions carried out pursuant to the laws of the state of Sudan in the territory of South Sudan, before and after independence, have been for murder offenses. [50]

References

[1] South Sudan Penal Code, art. 206, Act No. 9 of 2008.
[2] Akino Kowashi, affiliated with South Sudan Protection Cluster, e-mail to DPW, DPW South Sudan Doc. E-1, Nov. 16, 2011.
[3] David Deng, affiliated with South Sudan Law Society, e-mail to DPW, DPW South Sudan Doc. E-2, Nov. 20, 2011.
[4] Robert Leggat, List of Executed Prisoners Since September 2007, Corrections Advisory Section, Rule of Law and Security Institutions Support Office of the U.N. Mission in South Sudan, Nov. 21, 2011.
[5] South Sudan Penal Code, arts. 206, 207, Act No. 9 of 2008.
[6] South Sudan Criminal Procedure Code, art. 251, Act No. 5 of 2008.
[7] South Sudan Penal Code, arts. 131(2), 133-138, Act No. 9 of 2008.
[8] South Sudan Penal Code, art. 67(2), Act No. 9 of 2008.
[9] South Sudan Penal Code, art. 383, Act No. 9 of 2008.
[10] South Sudan Penal Code, art. 64, Act No. 9 of 2008.
[11] South Sudan Penal Code, arts.77, 78, Act No. 9 of 2008.
[12] South Sudan Penal Code, art. 208(3), Act No. 9 of 2008.
[13] South Sudan Criminal Procedure Code, art. 252, Act. No. 5 of 2008.
[14] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Human Rights Situations that Require the Council’s Attention, para. 18, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/6/19, Nov. 28, 2007.
[15] Robert Leggat, List of Executed Prisoners Since September 2007, Corrections Advisory Section, Rule of Law and Security Institutions Support Office of the U.N. Mission in South Sudan, Nov. 21, 2011.
[16] Criminal Act of the Sudan 1991, art. 130.
[17] South Sudan Penal Code, arts. 206, 207, Act No. 9 of 2008.
[18] South Sudan Criminal Procedure Code, art. 251, Act No. 5 of 2008.
[19] Robert Leggat, List of Executed Prisoners Since September 2007, Corrections Advisory Section, Rule of Law and Security Institutions Support Office of the U.N. Mission in South Sudan, Nov. 21, 2011.
[20] Criminal Act of the Sudan 1991, art. 130.
[21] Whether the death penalty is mandatory turns on whether the judiciary has discretion. If discretion is solely the function of the executive or the victim’s family, then the judiciary does not have discretion, and the death penalty is considered mandatory by international standards.
[22] South Sudan Penal Code, arts. 206, 207, Act No. 9 of 2008.
[23] South Sudan Criminal Procedure Code, art. 251, Act No. 5 of 2008.
[24] Robert Leggat, List of Executed Prisoners Since September 2007, Corrections Advisory Section, Rule of Law and Security Institutions Support Office of the U.N. Mission in South Sudan, Nov. 21, 2011.
[25] Criminal Act of the Sudan 1991, art. 130.
[26] Whether the death penalty is mandatory turns on whether the judiciary has discretion. If discretion is solely the function of the executive or the victim’s family, then the judiciary does not have discretion, and the death penalty is considered mandatory by international standards.
[27] Robert Leggat, List of Executed Prisoners Since September 2007, Rule of Law and Security Institutions Support Office of the U.N. Mission in South Sudan, Nov. 21, 2011.
[28] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2011, p. 52, ACT 50/001/2012, Mar. 27, 2012.
[29] Julius N. Uma, South Sudan: UN Criticizes South Sudan Over Execution of Two Prisoners, Sudan Tribune, http://allafrica.com/stories/201209020297.html, Aug. 31, 2012.
[30] Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan, art. 21(2), Jul. 9, 2011.
[31] South Sudan Penal Code, art. 9(b), Act No. 9 of 2008.
[32] Amnesty Intl. & Human Rights Watch, South Sudan: A Human Rights Agenda, p. 4, AFR 65/001/2011, Jun. 30, 2011.
[33] According to the 2010 Concluding Observations of the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child, the Sudan Child Act of 2010 prohibits the passing of a death sentence against an individual under the age of 18, while the National Constitution of Sudan explicitly permits (in any language) the execution of children for hudud and retributive penalties. U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child, Concluding Observations, paras. 35-36, U.N. Doc. CRC/C/SDN/CO/3-4, Oct. 22, 2010; Interim National Constitution of the Sudan, art. 36, 2005; U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Sudan, Denial of Fair Public Trial, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/af/135978.htm, Mar. 11, 2010. In May 2009, an individual was executed in Sudan for a hudud crime committed as a juvenile. The Supreme Court, overruling the decision of the Nyala Appellate Court, explicitly held that the Constitution permitted such an execution and that the 2004 Child Act (prohibiting such executions) was irrelevant since the defendant was over the age of 15, triggering the conflicting 1991 Criminal Act. U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Report of the Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, Gabriela Carina Knaul de Albuquerque e Silva, paras. 1057-1058, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/14/26/Add.1, Jun. 18, 2010.
[34] Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan, art. 21(3), Jul. 9, 2011.
[35] South Sudan Criminal Procedure Code, art. 277(b), Act No. 5 of 2008.
[36] Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan, art. 21(3), Jul. 9, 2011.
[37] South Sudan Criminal Procedure Code, art. 277(d), Act No. 5 of 2008.
[38] Robert Leggat, List of Executed Prisoners Since September 2007, Corrections Advisory Section, Rule of Law and Security Institutions Support Office of the U.N. Mission in South Sudan, Nov. 21, 2011.
[39] South Sudan Penal Code, art. 210(7).
[40] South Sudan Penal Code, arts. 34, 210(7).
[41] South Sudan Criminal Procedure Code, arts. 191, 206, Act No. 5 of 2008.
[42] Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan, art. 21(2), Jul. 9, 2011.
[43] South Sudan Penal Code, art. 9(c), Act No. 9 of 2008.
[44] South Sudan Criminal Procedure Code, art. 277(a), Act No. 5 of 2008.
[45] Robert Leggat, List of Executed Prisoners Since September 2007, Corrections Advisory Section, Rule of Law and Security Institutions Support Office of the U.N. Mission in South Sudan, Nov. 21, 2011.
[46] Robert Leggat, List of Executed Prisoners Since September 2007, Corrections Advisory Section, Rule of Law and Security Institutions Support Office of the U.N. Mission in South Sudan, Nov. 21, 2011.
[47] Criminal Act of the Sudan 1991, art. 130.
[48] According to the 2010 Concluding Observations of the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child, the Sudan Child Act of 2010 prohibits the passing of a death sentence against an individual under the age of 18, while the National Constitution of Sudan explicitly permits (in any language) the execution of children for hudud and retributive penalties. U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child, Concluding Observations, paras. 35-36, U.N. Doc. CRC/C/SDN/CO/3-4, Oct. 22, 2010; Interim National Constitution of the Sudan, art. 36, 2005; U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Sudan, Denial of Fair Public Trial, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/af/135978.htm, Mar. 11, 2010. In May 2009, an individual was executed in Sudan for a hudud crime committed as a juvenile. The Supreme Court, overruling the decision of the Nyala Appellate Court, explicitly held that the Constitution permitted such an execution and that the 2004 Child Act (prohibiting such executions) was irrelevant since the defendant was over the age of 15, triggering the conflicting 1991 Criminal Act. U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Report of the Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, Gabriela Carina Knaul de Albuquerque e Silva, paras. 1057-1058, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/14/26/Add.1, Jun. 18, 2010.
[49] Criminal Act of Sudan 1991, art. 31(d).
[50] Robert Leggat, List of Executed Prisoners Since September 2007, Corrections Advisory Section, Rule of Law and Security Institutions Support Office of the U.N. Mission in South Sudan, Nov. 21, 2011.

International Commitments

ICCPR

Party?

No. While Sudan is a party to the ICCPR, U.N. records do not indicate that the newly formed nation of South Sudan has acceded in its own right. [1]

Date of Accession

Not Applicable.

Signed?

No. [2]

Date of Signature

Not Applicable.

First Optional Protocol to the ICCPR, Recognizing Jurisdiction of the Human Rights Committee

Party?

No. [3]

Date of Accession

Not Applicable.

Signed?

No. [4]

Date of Signature

Not Applicable.

Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR, Toward the Abolition of the Death Penalty

Party?

No. [5]

Date of Accession

Not Applicable.

Signed?

No. [6]

Date of Signature

Not Applicable.

American Convention on Human Rights

Party?

Not Applicable.

Date of Accession

Signed?

Not Applicable.

Date of Signature

Death Penalty Protocol to the ACHR

Party?

Not Applicable.

Date of Accession

Signed?

Not Applicable.

Date of Signature

African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR)

Party?

No. [7]

Date of Accession

Not Applicable.

Signed?

Yes. [8]

Date of Signature

January 24, 2013. [9]

Protocol to the ACHPR on the Rights of Women in Africa

Party?

No. [10]

Date of Accession

Not Applicable.

Signed?

Yes. [11]

Date of Signature

January 24, 2013. [12]

African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child

Party?

No. [13]

Date of Accession

Not Applicable.

Signed?

Yes. [14]

Date of Signature

January 24, 2013. [15]

Arab Charter on Human Rights

Party?

Date of Accession

Signed?

Date of Signature

2016 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [16]

Vote

In Favor. [17]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

No. [18]

2014 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [19]

Vote

In Favor. [20]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

No. [21]

2012 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [22]

Vote

In Favor. [23]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

No. [24]

2010 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

Not Applicable. The state of South Sudan was formed on July 9, 2011.

Vote

Not Applicable. The state of South Sudan was formed on July 9, 2011.

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

Not Applicable. The state of South Sudan was formed on July 9, 2011.

2008 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

Not Applicable. The state of South Sudan was formed on July 9, 2011.

Vote

Not Applicable. The state of South Sudan was formed on July 9, 2011.

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

Not Applicable. The state of South Sudan was formed on July 9, 2011.

2007 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

Not Applicable. The state of South Sudan was formed on July 9, 2011.

Vote

Not Applicable. The state of South Sudan was formed on July 9, 2011.

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

Not Applicable. The state of South Sudan was formed on July 9, 2011.

References

[1] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-4&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Apr. 26, 2013.
[2] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-4&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Apr. 26, 2013.
[3] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, Optional Prot. to the ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-5&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Apr. 26, 2013.
[4] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, Optional Prot. to the ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-5&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Apr. 26, 2013.
[5] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, Second Optional Prot. to the ICCPR, Aiming at the Abolition of the Death Penalty, 1642 U.N.T.S. 414, Dec. 15, 1989, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-12&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Apr. 26, 2013.
[6] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, Second Optional Prot. to the ICCPR, Aiming at the Abolition of the Death Penalty, 1642 U.N.T.S. 414, Dec. 15, 1989, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-12&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Apr. 26, 2013.
[7] African Union, List of countries which have signed, ratified/acceded to the African Charter of Human and People’s Rights, Doc. 0002, http://au.int/en/sites/default/files/African%20Charter%20on%20Human%20and%20Peoples'%20Rights.pdf, Feb. 21, 2013.
[8] African Union, List of countries which have signed, ratified/acceded to the African Charter of Human and People’s Rights, Doc. 0002, http://au.int/en/sites/default/files/African%20Charter%20on%20Human%20and%20Peoples'%20Rights.pdf, Feb. 21, 2013.
[9] African Union, List of countries which have signed, ratified/acceded to the African Charter of Human and People’s Rights, Doc. 0002, http://au.int/en/sites/default/files/African%20Charter%20on%20Human%20and%20Peoples'%20Rights.pdf, Feb. 21, 2013.
[10] African Union, List of countries which have signed, ratified/acceded to the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, Doc. 0025, http://au.int/en/sites/default/files/Rights%20of%20Women.pdf, Feb. 21, 2013.
[11] African Union, List of countries which have signed, ratified/acceded to the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, Doc. 0025, http://au.int/en/sites/default/files/Rights%20of%20Women.pdf, Feb. 21, 2013.
[12] African Union, List of countries which have signed, ratified/acceded to the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, Doc. 0025, http://au.int/en/sites/default/files/Rights%20of%20Women.pdf, Feb. 21, 2013.
[13] African Union, Signatories, Accessions, and Ratifications, African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, Doc. 0003, http://au.int/en/sites/default/files/Welfare%20of%20the%20Child_0.pdf, Feb. 21, 2013.
[14] African Union, Signatories, Accessions, and Ratifications, African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, Doc. 0003, http://au.int/en/sites/default/files/Welfare%20of%20the%20Child_0.pdf, Feb. 21, 2013.
[15] African Union, Signatories, Accessions, and Ratifications, African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, Doc. 0003, http://au.int/en/sites/default/files/Welfare%20of%20the%20Child_0.pdf, Feb. 21, 2013.
[16] U.N.G.A., 71st Session, Promotion and protection of human rights: human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, paras. 54-71 U.N. Doc. A/71/484/Add.2, Dec. 6, 2016.
[17] U.N.G.A., 71st Session, Promotion and protection of human rights: human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, paras. 54-71 U.N. Doc. A/71/484/Add.2, Dec. 6, 2016.
[18] U.N.G.A., 71st Session, Note Verbale dated 7 September 2017, U.N. Doc. A/71/1047, Sep. 13, 2017.
[19] U.N.G.A., 69th Session, Promotion and Protection of Human Rights: human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, paras. 141, 144, U.N. Doc. A/69/488/Add.2, Dec. 8, 2014.
[20] U.N.G.A., 69th Session, 73rd Plenary Meeting, pp. 17-18, U.N. Doc. A/69/PV.73, Dec. 18, 2014.
[21] U.N.G.A., 69th Session, Note Verbale dated 28 July 2015, U.N. Doc. A/69/993, Jul. 29, 2015.
[22] U.N.G.A., 67th Session, Promotion and Protection of Human Rights: human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, paras. 95-96, U.N. Doc. A/67/457/Add.2, Dec. 8, 2012.
[23] U.N.G.A., 67th Session, 60th Plenary Meeting, pp. 16-17, U.N. Doc. A/67/PV.60, Dec. 20, 2012.
[24] U.N.G.A., 67th Session, Note Verbale dated 16 April 2013, U.N. Doc. A/67/841, Apr. 23, 2013.

Death Penalty In Law

Does the country’s constitution make reference to capital punishment?

Article 11 of the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan states that “no one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his or her life.” [1] The Constitution provides that the death penalty shall be restricted to “extremely serious offences in accordance with the law.” It also prohibits its imposition on individuals under the age of 18 or over the age of 70 and the execution of pregnant women or women with children under the age of 2. [2]

Does the country’s constitution make reference to international law?

The Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan provides: “All rights and freedoms enshrined in international human rights treaties, covenants and instruments ratified or acceded to by the Republic of South Sudan shall be an integral part of this Bill.” [3]

Have there been any significant changes in the application of the death penalty over the last several years?

Arguably, South Sudan has restricted the written, legal scope of the death penalty over the past several years. In 2008, southern Sudan promulgated its own penal law with significantly fewer death eligible offenses and virtually no use of the mandatory death penalty. [4] South Sudan’s Transitional Constitution (2011) also seems to restrict the constitutionally permissible scope of the death penalty. [5] The nation’s promulgation of its secular law occurs alongside a longstanding revolution against Sudan, but it should be noted that technically Sudan’s law had already long provided for a more limited death penalty in the territory now constituting South Sudan. [6]

This more restricted “legal scope” is of limited relevance to individuals who actually face execution. In recent years, individuals have been executed for murder convictions under several penal codes—the 1991 Sudan Criminal Act, the 1994 Sudan Criminal Procedure Act and the 2003 New Sudan Penal Code. [7] While the 2003 Penal Code is similar to the 2008 Penal Code in effect today, [8] the older laws of Sudan (not South Sudan) applied the mandatory death penalty. [9] Thus, in recent years southern Sudan has executed and may hold under sentence of death individuals convicted under statutes that, even as written, fail to provide adequate safeguards against arbitrary application of the death penalty.

Finally, the written law seems not to define the law that is actually applied by South Sudan courts. Over the past few years offenders have been executed in what is now South Sudan despite a reported lack of safeguards such as representation at trial. [10] In fact, over the past several years almost no one who has been executed was represented at trial. [11] In-country experts state that the death penalty is being “very casually applied…with little oversight,” [12] and records of executions in recent years support that assessment. [13] The safeguards of the Constitution and 2008 Penal Code are not effectively applied, with even “heat of passion” killings resulting in the death penalty. [14] This could be in part because the formal courts might not always be involved in trying capital cases. [15]

Records of executions over the past several years strongly suggest that a lack of adequate representation and access to appellate review [16] has resulted in arbitrary executions. It is not clear that South Sudan’s enactment of laws limiting the scope of the death penalty or providing safeguards against arbitrariness are being effectively applied. In 2012, Human Rights Watch reported that of the 10 death row inmates it had spoken to, only one had a lawyer. Seven of those interviewed stated that they had acted in self-defense, that the killing was accidental, or that they were not present when the incident occurred; they were not able to effectively present these defenses in court. [17] In a report published in April 2011, UNODC found that there were fewer than 50 lawyers in the southern part of what was then Sudan, and no legal aid lawyers at all (all 10 legal aid lawyers in the country were in Khartoum). In interviews with the then 46 condemned inmates at Juba prison, UNODC found that not a single one had been represented at trial. [18]

A government representative stated to the U.N. Human Rights Council in September 2012 that “South Sudan agrees with… the logic of abolishing the death penalty. But we believe that this is a process that could be approached gradually.” [19] According to Amnesty International, a government spokesperson confirmed in November 2012 that death penalty provisions would be reviewed as part of the ongoing process of constitutional revision to replace the Transitional Constitution of 2011. [20] In December 2012, South Sudan voted in favor of the U.N. General Assembly’s resolution to impose a global moratorium on the use of the death penalty. [21]

Is there currently an official moratorium on executions within the country?

No—executions continued into 2012. [22]

Have there been any significant published cases concerning the death penalty in national courts?

Perhaps due to a lack of development of the judiciary in this newly independent nation, [23] we have not found any significant published cases by South Sudan courts. Records of executions over the past several years suggest that appellate courts infrequently review capital convictions; additionally, when higher courts issue rulings on capital convictions it is sometimes unclear whether those rulings are enforced. [24]

Where can one locate or access judicial decisions regarding the death penalty?

We have not found online resources for cases from South Sudan courts.

What is the clemency process?

The 2011 Transitional Constitution vests in the President the power to “confirm death sentences, grant pardons, and remit convictions or penalties according to this Constitution and the law.” [25] The Code of Criminal Procedure explains that the Magistrate or President of the convicting court must issue a warrant for the convict’s imprisonment pending review by the Supreme Court. If the Supreme Court confirms a death sentence, it must submit the case to the President for confirmation, whereupon the President may confirm or commute the sentence or pardon the offender. [26] The Code of Criminal Procedure could be read to provide for an advisory body to the President in making such decisions. [27]

The law also permits private settlements in murder cases. [28] This occurs in practice. [29]

According to the Rule of Law and Security Institutions Support Office of the U.N. Mission in South Sudan, it appears that recent executions have been pursuant to death warrants, but the Office withholds comments on the adequacy of any process involved. [30]

One report suggests that clemency is rarely, if ever, granted. [31]

Are jury trials provided for defendants charged with capital offenses?

We did not find a law guaranteeing a jury trial. In practice, customary courts may (in some states) handle even serious criminal cases. [32]

Brief Description of Appellate Process

In South Sudan, the Code of Criminal Procedure Act of 2008 provides that the Supreme Court has the authority to review and confirm all sentences of death or life imprisonment, and the Courts of Appeal have appellate jurisdiction over the sentences of the High Court, which has original jurisdiction over any offense for which a sentence of death or life imprisonment is applicable. [33]

In practice, customary courts may (in some states) handle even serious criminal cases, [34] and the formal court system remains inadequate to handle the task of dispensing justice. [35] Records suggest that a lack of access to counsel and other factors have been a factor in limiting meaningful access to the appellate courts prior to a convict’s execution. [36] Additionally, it is unclear whether the decisions of higher courts are always enforced. [37] One report suggests that death sentences are very rarely overturned on appeal. [38]

References

[1] Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan, art. 11, Jul. 9, 2011
[2] Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan, art. 21, Jul. 9, 2011.
[3] Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan, art. 9(3), Jul. 9, 2011.
[4] South Sudan Penal Code, Act No. 9 of 2008.
[5] Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan, art. 21, Jul. 9, 2011.
[6] For instance, see the Criminal Act of Sudan of 1991, art. 146(4), which provides for a much lighter penalty for adultery in South Sudan.
[7] Robert Leggat, List of Executed Prisoners Since September 2007, Corrections Advisory Section, Rule of Law and Security Institutions Support Office of the U.N. Mission in South Sudan, Nov. 21, 2011.
[8] South Sudan Penal Code, art. 206, Act No. 9 of 2008; Laws of the New Sudan, The Penal Code (Provisional Order) 2003, art. 251, 2003.
[9] Criminal Act of the Sudan 1991, art. 130.
[10] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Report of the independent expert on the situation of human rights in the Sudan, Mohammed Chande Othman, para. 47, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/18/40, Aug. 22, 2011 (reporting executions in regions in South Sudan during 2010); U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Report of the independent expert on the situation of human rights in the Sudan, Mohammed Chande Othman, para. 40, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/14/41, May 26, 2010 (reporting 7 executions in November 2009 in southern Sudan); U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Report of the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Sudan, Sima Samar, para. 83, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/11/14, Jun. 2009 (reporting that executions occurred in Juba and Wau in June and August of 2008, for at least 2 executions in southern Sudan).
[11] David Deng, affiliated with South Sudan Law Society, e-mail to DPW, DPW South Sudan Doc. E-2, Nov. 20, 2011; Elizabeth Ashamu, affiliated with Human Rights Watch, e-mail to DPW, DPW South Sudan Doc. E-3, Nov. 20, 2011; Robert Leggat, List of Executed Prisoners Since September 2007, Corrections Advisory Section, Rule of Law and Security Institutions Support Office of the U.N. Mission in South Sudan, Nov. 21, 2011.
[12] David Deng, affiliated with South Sudan Law Society, e-mail to DPW, DPW South Sudan Doc. E-2, Nov. 20, 2011.
[13] Robert Leggat, List of Executed Prisoners Since September 2007, Corrections Advisory Section, Rule of Law and Security Institutions Support Office of the U.N. Mission in South Sudan, Nov. 21, 2011.
[14] David Deng, affiliated with South Sudan Law Society, e-mail to DPW, DPW South Sudan Doc. E-2, Nov. 20, 2011.
[15] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Report of the independent expert on the situation of human rights in the Sudan, Mohammed Chande Othman, paras. 38-39, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/14/41, May 26, 2010; Akino Kowashi, affiliated with South Sudan Protection Cluster, e-mail to DPW, DPW South Sudan Doc. E-1, Nov. 16, 2011; U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Report of the independent expert on the situation of human rights in the Sudan, Mohammed Chande Othman, para. 47, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/18/40, Aug. 22, 2011.
[16] Robert Leggat, List of Executed Prisoners Since September 2007, Corrections Advisory Section, Rule of Law and Security Institutions Support Office of the U.N. Mission in South Sudan, Nov. 21, 2011.
[17] Human Rights Watch, “Prison Is Not For Me”: Arbitrary Detention in South Sudan, pp. 42-43, http://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/southsudan0612ForUpload_1.pdf, Jun. 21, 2012.
[18] UNODC, Access to Legal Aid in Criminal Justice Systems in Africa: Survey Report, pp. 10, 12, http://www.unodc.org/pdf/criminal_justice/Survey_Report_on_Access_to_Legal_Aid_in_Africa.pdf, Apr. 2011.
[19] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2012, p. 45, ACT 50/001/2013, Apr. 10, 2013.
[20] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2012, p. 45, ACT 50/001/2013, Apr. 10, 2013.
[21] U.N.G.A., 60th Plenary Meeting, Draft Resolution: Moratorium on the Use of the Death Penalty, U.N. Doc. A/67/457/Add.2, Dec. 20, 2012.
[22] Julius N. Uma, South Sudan: UN Criticizes South Sudan Over Execution of Two Prisoners, Sudan Tribune, http://allafrica.com/stories/201209020297.html, Aug. 31, 2012.
[23] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Report of the independent expert on the situation of human rights in the Sudan, Mohammed Chande Othman, para. 47, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/18/40, Aug. 22, 2011 (reporting executions in regions in southern Sudan during 2010).
[24] Robert Leggat, List of Executed Prisoners Since September 2007, Corrections Advisory Section, Rule of Law and Security Institutions Support Office of the U.N. Mission in South Sudan, Nov. 21, 2011.
[25] Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan, art. 101(h), Jul. 9, 2011.
[26] South Sudan Code of Criminal Procedure, arts. 276, 285, 289(a), Act No. 5 of 2008.
[27] South Sudan Code of Criminal Procedure, art. 286(4), Act No. 5 of 2008.
[28] South Sudan Penal Code, art. 206, Act No. 9 of 2008; Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2011, p. 52, ACT 50/001/2012, Mar. 27, 2012.
[29] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Report of the independent expert on the situation of human rights in the Sudan, Mohammed Chande Othman, para. 48, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/18/40, Aug. 22, 2011.
[30] Robert Leggat, List of Executed Prisoners Since September 2007, Corrections Advisory Section, Rule of Law and Security Institutions Support Office of the U.N. Mission in South Sudan, Nov. 21, 2011.
[31] IRIN, South Sudan: Calls to end the death penalty, improve prison conditions, irinnews.org/report/96713/SOUTH-SUDAN-Calls-to-end-the-death-penalty-improve-prison-conditions, Nov. 5, 2012.
[32] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Report of the independent expert on the situation of human rights in the Sudan, Mohammed Chande Othman, paras. 38-39, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/14/41, May 26, 2010.
[33] South Sudan Code of Criminal Procedure, arts. 8(4)(a), 10(c)&(e), 11(b), 12(a), 258, 259(1), 264, 276(1), Act No. 5 of 2008.
[34] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Report of the independent expert on the situation of human rights in the Sudan, Mohammed Chande Othman, paras. 38-39, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/14/41, May 26, 2010.
[35] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Report of the independent expert on the situation of human rights in the Sudan, Mohammed Chande Othman, para. 47, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/18/40, Aug. 22, 2011.
[36] Robert Leggat, List of Executed Prisoners Since September 2007, Corrections Advisory Section, Rule of Law and Security Institutions Support Office of the U.N. Mission in South Sudan, Nov. 21, 2011; Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2011, p. 52, ACT 50/001/2012, Mar. 27, 2012.
[37] Robert Leggat, List of Executed Prisoners Since September 2007, Corrections Advisory Section, Rule of Law and Security Institutions Support Office of the U.N. Mission in South Sudan, Nov. 21, 2011.
[38] IRIN, South Sudan: Calls to end the death penalty, improve prison conditions, irinnews.org/report/96713/SOUTH-SUDAN-Calls-to-end-the-death-penalty-improve-prison-conditions, Nov. 5, 2012.

Death Penalty In Practice

Where Are Death-Sentenced Prisoners incarcerated?

According to U.N. experts, executions are conducted at three locations: Juba Prison (Central Equatoria State), Wau Prison (Western Bahr el Ghazal State) and Malakal Prison (Upper Nile State). [1] Government records indicate that individuals may be held under sentence of death in many or all of the 10 states, [2] presumably before they are transferred for execution. The vast majority of individuals held under sentence of death are imprisoned in Juba, Wau or Malakal. [3]

Description of Prison Conditions

Prison conditions are seriously inadequate in South Sudan, and the treatment of death-sentenced prisoners in particular contravenes international and domestic standards for the use of restraints. In June 2012, Human Rights Watch issued a comprehensive report on prisons and the criminal justice system in South Sudan and concluded that that “South Sudan’s prisons clearly do not comply with international or domestic law and standards on prisoners’ welfare, and much of what Human Rights Watch witnessed violates the prohibition on inhuman and degrading conditions.” [4]

Overcrowding is a serious problem, especially for death row prisoners. The number of prison inmates in South Sudan quadrupled between 2005 and 2011, leading not only to severe overcrowding but also to minors being detained together with adults and sometimes even women with men. [5] In 2010, the UN expert for human rights in southern Sudan found that all the prisons he visited in Juba, Aweil and Wau were overcrowded, with more than 957 inmates being held in Juba in a facility intended for 500 inmates. [6] In 2011 in Juba prison, more than 90 death row prisoners were held in 14 small cells. [7] As a result of overcrowding, in all 12 prisons visited by Human Rights Watch, children – some as young as 13 – were detained together with adults. [8] Prisoners on remand were also detained with convicted prisoners. Female prisoners are not sufficiently separated from males. [9]

Prisoners report that overcrowding makes sleeping very difficult. The heat is extreme and breathing difficult. Moreover, prisoners reported that: “If you try to stretch out, you will hit people,” or “If someone moves another prisoner’s blanket, then a fight will break out.” Occasionally, prisoners report being forced to sleep in turns. [10]

The Prison Service’s policy is that death sentenced prisoners should be held in separate cells for security reasons, but because this is impracticable condemned prisoners constantly wear leg shackles instead, a violation of human rights standards. [11] Inmates accused of or convicted of murder are also permanently chained. One inmate told Human Rights Watch: “They [chains] get very hot, and they cause you to reduce in weight…You must also bathe with the chains on, [although] you cannot take off your pants.” The irons frequently cause wounds around the ankles, which sometimes become infected. A prison nurse stated: “These chains are not fit for human beings.” [12]

Infrastructure is rudimentary and in some cases, damaged and crumbling. Cells and dormitories lack ventilation, and in many cases electricity, running water and toilet facilities. Renovation work has begun in certain prisons but not in others. Most prisoners, with the exception of those in Juba Prison, sleep on the floor on a piece of cardboard or a ragged sheet, causing cases of skin rash. [13] Water and soap supplies are insufficient and inmates are forced to wait long periods without washing themselves or their clothes. [14] Prisoners often have no access to toilets at night, when they are locked in cells or dormitories. The number of toilets is insufficient: in Tonj prison, for instance, there are 2 toilets for 300 prisoners. Because cleaning supplies such as disinfectant and sponges are at times unavailable for months on end, toilets are filthy. [15]

Without proper food or hygiene, prisoners are vulnerable to illness. Many prisoners report eating only once a day, and occasionally not at all for one or two days. A few inmates are able to supplement their diet by purchasing food or having it brought by close relatives. No special diets are provided for pregnant or breastfeeding mothers. [16] Common health conditions include skin conditions, diarrhea, lice and ticks, malaria and fever. Indeed, Human Rights Watch concluded that “very rarely would an inmate enjoy good health while incarcerated in South Sudan.” [17]

Ill health is compounded by the unavailability of health care. Not a single prison visited by Human Rights Watch was equipped with a clinic able to deliver “basic health care.” Some prisons have no clinic at all; others might have a one-room office that cannot fit a single bed. Clinics, when they exist, have no running water or disinfectant, and very limited access to medication. One prison director admitted that inmates have died from lack of medication. There is an ongoing dispute between the Ministry of Health and the Prisons Service over which department is responsible for the purchase of medication, resulting in neither budgeting for the expense. Inmates have difficulty accessing outside clinics or hospitals, either because prison officials refuse to take them, because there is no available vehicle or fuel, or because the hospitals themselves refuse to treat prison inmates. HIV-positive prisoners and other seriously ill prisoners are left untreated. [18] Though the Prisons Service does not track the number of deaths in prison, Human Rights Watch reports several deaths due to disease in prison. [19]

Prisoners are routinely disciplined with beatings that amount to torture. Fighting or disobeying a guard is punished by 5 to 10 lashings with sticks, canes or whips. Attempting escape or smuggling in contraband leads to more severe beatings followed by periods of solitary confinement and deprivation of food and water. In one prison, guards walk around carrying whips. [20] Wounds and bleeding resulting from beatings go untreated. [21]

Prison labor is almost always unremunerated. Prisoners may be beaten if they refuse to work, even if they say they are ill. [22]

Human Rights Watch also found that a number of the people in prison in South Sudan should not have been in prison at all, including people detained by proxy (to force the appearance of a close relative, for instance), people charged with “customary” crimes not set out in the Penal Code (such as “elopement” or “adultery”), people imprisoned for debt, and people with severe mental illness, the latter often in particularly inhuman and degrading conditions. [23]

Government officials are keen to acknowledge the urgent need for reform of the prison system, but funds are lacking, and implementation is uncoordinated and slow. [24]

Are there any known foreign nationals currently under sentence of death?

Media reports indicate that one Ugandan national is on death row in South Sudan. [25]

What are the nationalities of the known foreign nationals on death row?

Media reports indicate that one Ugandan national is on death row in South Sudan. [26]

Are there any known women currently under sentence of death?

South Sudan’s government records indicated that 3 women were held under sentence of death in Juba Central Prison as of Nov. 2, 2011. [27] As of October 2011, one woman on death row in Juba Central Prison was imprisoned with her one-year-old son. [28]

Are there any reports of individuals currently under sentence of death who may have been under the age of 18 at the time the crime was committed?

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch report that some individuals are on death row for offenses committed as juveniles, noting that juveniles may be tried as adults and that the foundations have not been laid for extending the protections that the law affords to juveniles. [29] It is likely that a number of individuals currently held under sentence of death in South Sudan were prosecuted under earlier Penal Codes, at least one of which did not exclude individuals under the age of 18 from the death penalty. [30]

Comments regarding the racial/ethnic composition on death row

While we did not find statistics for the entire death row population in South Sudan, information we did obtain about the ethnic composition of death row is inconclusive—for instance, in Northern Bahr el Ghazal all 14 condemned prisoners are from the Dinka tribe, [31] which is the largest ethnic tribal group in South Sudan and is associated with the Bahr el Ghazal region. Further research is necessary to determine whether the death penalty is applied in a discriminatory fashion to any of the ethnic groups in South Sudan.

In practice, customary courts may handle even serious criminal cases, [32] and the formal court system remains inadequate to handle the task of dispensing justice. [33] It is worth investigating whether inadequate distribution of resources has a discriminatory effect in delivering the protections of the law equally to individuals of the various ethnic groups in South Sudan.

Are there lawyers available for indigent defendants facing capital trials?

There is a theoretical right to be represented by counsel in serious criminal cases. Under the Code of Criminal Procedure, a pauper accused of a serious offense has the right to appointed counsel if the Minister of Legal Affairs and Constitutional Development determines that counsel is “necessary in the interest of justice”. [34]

However, in practice the availability of legal aid for those facing capital charges in South Sudan is virtually nonexistent. In-country experts state that there is “no functioning system of legal aid.”. [35] In 2011, Human Rights Watch reported that the South Sudan Ministry of Justice had plans in place for delivering legal aid, but by November 2011 it had only delivered legal aid in six cases. [36] Human Rights Watch’s 2012 report on prisons and the criminal justice system in South Sudan found that the overwhelming majority of prisoners – over 95% - went through the criminal justice system without being represented by counsel. Most are illiterate and do not understand the charges against them or the status of their case. [37]

The unavailability of counsel has meant that virtually all executed inmates have not been represented by counsel before being sentenced to death. Records of executions in recent years corroborate that fact. [38] This was already the case just prior to independence. In May 2010, Mohammed Chande Othman, independent reporter to the Human Rights Council, reported that “in Juba Central Prison, none of the 45 prisoners currently on death row had been informed of their right to free legal assistance. Only 5 out of 45 benefited from legal assistance during their trial … Currently, more than 100 prisoners in Juba, Wau and Malakal are awaiting execution. Few of them benefited from legal assistance during their trial, and most were not able to appeal their sentences for the same reasons. The Ministry of Legal Affairs and Constitutional Development has a legal aid department present in all 10 States, but its services are more theoretical than real.” [39]

In independent South Sudan, prisoners continue to be executed without legal representation and without being able to call or prepare witnesses. [40] Of the 10 death row inmates Human Rights Watch spoke to in 2012, only one had a lawyer. [41] Seven death row inmates told Human Rights Watch that they had acted in self-defense, that the killing was accidental, or that they were not even present when the incident occurred; these prisoners were unable to effectively present these defenses in court. [42]

Moreover, many defendants lack understanding of the role of legal counsel and are not aware of the existence of legal aid or their ability to apply for it. In some cases, judges have applied for legal aid on behalf of defendants, but they have no obligation to do so. [43]

In late 2011, the Ministry of Justice assisted by UNDP prepared a three-year legal aid strategy aimed at raising awareness of the right to legal aid and improving the delivery of legal aid services. As of April 2012, the program lacked funding and implementation had not begun. [44]

In August 2012, the UN High Commission for Human Rights strongly criticized South Sudan for executing two men who had not been provided with proper legal assistance. [45]

Are there lawyers available for indigent prisoners on appeal?

Individuals in South Sudan are not able to obtain legal representation on appeal. In-country experts state that there is “no functioning system of legal aid.”. [46] In 2011, Human Rights Watch reported that the South Sudan Ministry of Justice had plans in place for delivering legal aid, but by November 2011 it had only delivered legal aid in six cases. [47] Human Rights Watch’s 2012 report on prisons and the criminal justice system in South Sudan found that the overwhelming majority of prisoners – over 95% - went through the criminal justice system without being represented by counsel. Most are illiterate and do not understand the charges against them or the status of their case. [48] One challenge faced by South Sudan is that, prior to its independence, there were fewer than 50 lawyers in the southern part of what was then Sudan, and no legal aid lawyers at all (all 10 legal aid lawyers in the Sudan were in Khartoum). [49]

Records of executions in recent years suggest that there is inadequate access to appellate review of capital convictions. [50] This was already the case prior to independence. In May 2010, Mohammed Chande Othman, independent reporter to the Human Rights Council, reported that “more than 100 prisoners in Juba, Wau and Malakal are awaiting execution. Few of them benefited from legal assistance during their trial, and most were not able to appeal their sentences for the same reasons.” Of the 45 death row inmates he spoke to, around 20 were able to appeal their convictions or sentences pro se with the help of prison officers. [51]

In independent South Sudan, despite glaring flaws in individual trials, convicts have been unable to obtain appellate review: the record suggests that this is at least in part because convicts must rely on non-attorneys (including prison staff) for assistance in filing an appeal and lack access to attorneys who could satisfactorily state the legal grounds for an appeal. [52] Of the 10 death row inmates Human Rights Watch spoke to in 2012, only one had a lawyer. [53] In August 2012, the UN High Commission for Human Rights strongly criticized South Sudan for executing two men who had not been provided with proper legal assistance. [54] Moreover, many defendants lack understanding of the role of legal counsel and are not aware of the existence of legal aid or their ability to apply for it. In some cases, judges have applied for legal aid on behalf of defendants, but they have no obligation to do so. [55]

Although the Prisons Service Act and standing orders require that prison officials help inmates file appeals, and this sometimes occurs, prison officials have no legal training and appeals filed with their help most often contain no legal arguments. One example seen by Human Rights Watch was titled “Complain of the Sentence” and stated simply “I am requesting your good office [the Court of Appeal] if you could kindly take serious step for my case. So that I would be out from the prison. Because I am innocent of the case in which I was sentenced of.” [56] Although such pleas may result in review by a higher court, the assistance of prison staff is no substitute for effective legal representation.

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

Observers report that underfunding and lack of adequate legal representation leads to capital convictions in unfair trials in southern Sudan. [57] There is no functioning government legal aid system. [58] Human Rights Watch reports that since 2006, South Sudan’s Ministry of Justice has provided legal aid in a total of 6 cases, meaning that the vast majority of death row inmates were sentenced to death without any form of legal representation. [59] Reports from individuals operating in South Sudan suggest that there are a limited number of private attorneys and that the accreditation process for attorneys is not particularly demanding. [60] A report from December 2012 notes that there are approximately 450 lawyers in the Ministry of Justice and 200 private lawyers in the country. Virtually all of these live in Juba, and there are states with populations in the hundreds of thousands which have no lawyers at all. [61]

The biggest challenge faced by South Sudan is a shortage of qualified lawyers. Prior to its independence, there were fewer than 50 lawyers in the southern part of what was then Sudan, and no legal aid lawyers at all (all 10 legal aid lawyers in the Sudan were in Khartoum). [62] As of December 2011, there were only 650 lawyers in the whole country, 450 of which were employed by the Ministry of Justice. Virtually all lawyers (and judges) live in Juba, so that states with hundreds of thousands of inhabitants have no legal professionals, and some outlying state courts exist on paper only. [63]

Moreover, the majority of lawyers currently practising in South Sudan were trained in the North in Arabic-language Shariah law. Although the Ministry of Justice intends to re-train these employees, most of whom returned South after independence stripped them of Sudanese citizenship, these Shariah-trained lawyers are ill-equipped to practice in the new country’s English-language, common law system. According to one organization, many non English-speaking lawyers have assumed significant positions. Power rests with former SSLA (South Sudan Liberation Army) fighters and the small group of older lawyers who trained in Khartoum in the common law before Shariah law was adopted in 1983. [64]

In August 2012, the UN High Commission for Human Rights strongly criticized South Sudan for executing two men who had not been provided with proper legal assistance. [65]

Other Comments on Criminal Justice System

Currently, the judicial system in South Sudan has difficulties in adequately dispensing justice, so the resolution of even serious criminal matters may occur before customary courts or under-resourced courts. While a large number of international organizations and NGOs are present in South Sudan and have assistance mandates on rule of law issues, progress has been slow to materialize. [66]

Customary dispute resolution systems established by regional or local authorities are an official source of law and currently the only feasibly accessible justice system in many parts of the country. There are reportedly around 60 different customary systems in place, many of them weakened by the harshness of the military conflict. [67]

In general, the safeguards of a fair trial and appeal are not adequately provided, and individuals are regularly executed despite having had no representation at trial and no meaningful access to the remedy of an appeal. [68] People are executed for mitigated offenses. [69] Individuals who have recently been executed include:

(1) On separate occasions, illiterate men who were tried in Arabic, a language they did not understand, without representation. Their appeals were rejected as lacking “legal merit.”
(2) A man, apparently unable to speak from birth, who obtained an appellate order for a new trial because of inadequacies in his first trial. He was executed without any record of the new trial having occurred.
(3) A number of individuals who were unrepresented and unable to appeal. [70]

South Sudan faces serious resource constraints. The justice system is severely understaffed, a problem which is compounded by a shortage of trained legal professionals. In July 2011, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court revealed that there were approximately 125 judges in the whole country, about half as many as the court system requires. Despite this, 16 judges and 173 support staff were removed for lack of qualifications. The Chief Justice noted that he wished to hire 100 more judges, but that he doubts he can find enough qualified candidates. Concepts currently under discussion to remedy this situation include establishing a training institute specifically for the judiciary, creating a mentorship program with East African judges, and implementing a mobile court system. [71] According to Human Rights Watch, the most visible effect of judicial staff shortages is the extended length of pre-trial detention. [72] A third of prisoners in South Sudan are on remand. [73]

Some reports raise concerns about the independence of the judiciary. In August 2011, the President of South Sudan removed the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and replaced him with his Deputy. A few months later, in October, the President appointed four additional judges to the Supreme Court. These executive decisions were implemented in violation of the country’s Judiciary Act which safeguards the independence of the bench. [74]

The country’s rural regions are particularly underserved by the state justice system. The majority of judges and lawyers live in Juba, and some provinces with hundreds of thousands of inhabitants do not have a single judge or lawyer. Outside of Juba, courthouse infrastructure, staffing, communications and security are inadequate or non-existent. [75]

The biggest challenge faced by South Sudan is a shortage of qualified lawyers. Prior to its independence, there were fewer than 50 lawyers in the southern part of what was then Sudan, and no legal aid lawyers at all (all 10 legal aid lawyers in the Sudan were in Khartoum). [76] As of December 2011, there were only 650 lawyers in the whole country, 450 of which were employed by the Ministry of Justice. Virtually all lawyers (and judges) live in Juba, so that states with hundreds of thousands of inhabitants have no legal professionals, and some outlying state courts exist on paper only. [77]

Moreover, the majority of lawyers currently practising in South Sudan were trained in the North in Arabic-language Shariah law. Although the Ministry of Justice intends to re-train these employees, most of whom returned South after independence stripped them of Sudanese citizenship, these Shariah-trained lawyers are ill-equipped to practice in the new country’s English-language, common law system. According to one organization, many non English-speaking lawyers have assumed significant positions. Power rests with former SSLA (South Sudan Liberation Army) fighters and the small group of older lawyers who trained in Khartoum in the common law before Shariah law was adopted in 1983. [78]

As of December 2011, written legal resources were very hard to come by. Written copies of existing laws are difficult to find, there are few online sources, and even printing and copying in Juba are scare. The only law library in the country is at the Ministry of Justice, which owns about 2,000 volumes. The majority of these are donated statutes and law reports from East African states, and about a third of the collection consists of legal materials from the United Kingdom. The Supreme Court in Juba does not yet have a law library. [79]

As of December 2011, there were no functioning law faculties in South Sudan, though there were plans to establish one at the University of Juba. [80]

There are reports that the police, drawn from the lowest ranks of the former rebel army, are severely undertrained and often illiterate, [81] There have been numerous reported instances of prisoner abuse and torture while in police custody. [82] There have also been several reports that the government or its agents conducted unlawful extrajudicial killings. [83]

References

[1] Robert Leggat, List of Executed Prisoners Since September 2007, Corrections Advisory Section, Rule of Law and Security Institutions Support Office of the U.N. Mission in South Sudan, Nov. 21, 2011; Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2011, p. 52, ACT 50/001/2012, Mar. 27, 2012.
[2] Republic of South Sudan, Ministry of the Interior, Prison Services, Director of Communication & Technical Service Office, Morning Parade and General Security Level for Prisoners within 24 Hours in Ten (10) States, Nov. 2, 2011.
[3] Republic of South Sudan, Ministry of the Interior, Prison Services, Director of Communication & Technical Service Office, Morning Parade and General Security Level for Prisoners within 24 Hours in Ten (10) States, Nov. 2, 2011.
[4] Human Rights Watch, “Prison Is Not For Me”: Arbitrary Detention in South Sudan, p. 76, http://www.hrw.org/reports/2012/06/21/prison-not-me, Jun. 21, 2012.
[5] Human Rights Watch, “Prison Is Not For Me”: Arbitrary Detention in South Sudan, pp. 11-12, http://www.hrw.org/reports/2012/06/21/prison-not-me, Jun. 21, 2012.
[6] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Report of the independent expert on the situation of human rights in the Sudan, Mohammed Chande Othman, para. 41, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/18/40, Aug. 22, 2011.
[7] Robert Leggat, affiliated with the Rule of Law and Security Institutions Support Office of the U.N. Mission in South Sudan, e-mail to DPW, DPW South Sudan Doc. E-5, Nov. 21, 2011.
[8] Human Rights Watch, “Prison Is Not For Me”: Arbitrary Detention in South Sudan, p. 11, http://www.hrw.org/reports/2012/06/21/prison-not-me, Jun. 21, 2012.
[9] Human Rights Watch, “Prison Is Not For Me”: Arbitrary Detention in South Sudan, p. 78, http://www.hrw.org/reports/2012/06/21/prison-not-me, Jun. 21, 2012.
[10] Human Rights Watch, “Prison Is Not For Me”: Arbitrary Detention in South Sudan, p. 77, http://www.hrw.org/reports/2012/06/21/prison-not-me, Jun. 21, 2012.
[11] Robert Leggat, affiliated with the Rule of Law and Security Institutions Support Office of the U.N. Mission in South Sudan, e-mail to DPW, DPW South Sudan Doc. E-5, Nov. 21, 2011.
[12] Human Rights Watch, “Prison Is Not For Me”: Arbitrary Detention in South Sudan, p. 89, http://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/southsudan0612ForUpload_1.pdf, Jun. 21, 2012.
[13] Human Rights Watch, “Prison Is Not For Me”: Arbitrary Detention in South Sudan, pp. 77-78, http://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/southsudan0612ForUpload_1.pdf, Jun. 21, 2012.
[14] Human Rights Watch, “Prison Is Not For Me”: Arbitrary Detention in South Sudan, p. 80, http://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/southsudan0612ForUpload_1.pdf, Jun. 21, 2012.
[15] Human Rights Watch, “Prison Is Not For Me”: Arbitrary Detention in South Sudan, pp. 80-81, http://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/southsudan0612ForUpload_1.pdf, Jun. 21, 2012.
[16] Human Rights Watch, “Prison Is Not For Me”: Arbitrary Detention in South Sudan, p. 79, http://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/southsudan0612ForUpload_1.pdf, Jun. 21, 2012.
[17] Human Rights Watch, “Prison Is Not For Me”: Arbitrary Detention in South Sudan, pp. 81-82, http://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/southsudan0612ForUpload_1.pdf, Jun. 21, 2012.
[18] Human Rights Watch, “Prison Is Not For Me”: Arbitrary Detention in South Sudan, pp. 82-84, http://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/southsudan0612ForUpload_1.pdf, Jun. 21, 2012.
[19] Human Rights Watch, “Prison Is Not For Me”: Arbitrary Detention in South Sudan, pp. 85-86, http://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/southsudan0612ForUpload_1.pdf, Jun. 21, 2012.
[20] Human Rights Watch, “Prison Is Not For Me”: Arbitrary Detention in South Sudan, pp. 86-87, http://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/southsudan0612ForUpload_1.pdf, Jun. 21, 2012.
[21] Human Rights Watch, “Prison Is Not For Me”: Arbitrary Detention in South Sudan, p. 83, http://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/southsudan0612ForUpload_1.pdf, Jun. 21, 2012.
[22] Human Rights Watch, “Prison Is Not For Me”: Arbitrary Detention in South Sudan, p. 90, http://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/southsudan0612ForUpload_1.pdf, Jun. 21, 2012.
[23] Human Rights Watch, “Prison Is Not For Me”: Arbitrary Detention in South Sudan, pp. 50 ff., http://www.hrw.org/reports/2012/06/21/prison-not-me, Jun. 21, 2012.
[24] Human Rights Watch, “Prison Is Not For Me”: Arbitrary Detention in South Sudan, pp. 92 ff., http://www.hrw.org/reports/2012/06/21/prison-not-me, Jun. 21, 2012.
[25] Charlton Doki, South Sudan urged to stop use of death penalty, Associated Press, http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/04/10/3333889/south-sudan-is-urged-to-stop-using.html, Apr. 10, 2013.
[26] Charlton Doki, South Sudan urged to stop use of death penalty, Associated Press, http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/04/10/3333889/south-sudan-is-urged-to-stop-using.html, Apr. 10, 2013.
[27] Republic of South Sudan, Ministry of the Interior, Prison Services, Director of Communication & Technical Service Office, Morning Parade and General Security Level for Prisoners within 24 Hours in Ten (10) States, Nov. 2, 2011; Robert Leggat, South Sudan Prisoner Information – Nov. 2011, Corrections Advisory Section, Rule of Law and Security Institutions Support Office of the U.N. Mission in South Sudan, Nov. 21, 2011.
[28] Human Rights Watch, “Prison Is Not For Me”: Arbitrary Detention in South Sudan, p. 80, http://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/southsudan0612ForUpload_1.pdf, Jun. 21, 2012.
[29] Amnesty Intl. & Human Rights Watch, South Sudan: A Human Rights Agenda, pp. 3-4, AFR 65/001/2011, Jun. 30, 2011.
[30] According to the 2010 Concluding Observations of the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child, the Sudan Child Act of 2010 prohibits the passing of a death sentence against an individual under the age of 18, while the National Constitution of Sudan explicitly permits (in any language) the execution of children for hudud and retributive penalties. U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child, Concluding Observations, paras. 35-36, U.N. Doc. CRC/C/SDN/CO/3-4, Oct. 22, 2010; Interim National Constitution of the Sudan, art. 36, 2005; U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Sudan, Denial of Fair Public Trial, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/af/135978.htm, Mar. 11, 2010. In May 2009, an individual was executed in Sudan for a hudud crime committed as a juvenile. The Supreme Court, overruling the decision of the Nyala Appellate Court, explicitly held that the Constitution permitted such an execution and that the 2004 Child Act (prohibiting such executions) was irrelevant since the defendant was over the age of 15, triggering the conflicting 1991 Criminal Act. U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Report of the Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, Gabriela Carina Knaul de Albuquerque e Silva, paras. 1057-1058, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/14/26/Add.1, Jun. 18, 2010.
[31] Robert Leggat, South Sudan Prisoner Information – Nov. 2011, Corrections Advisory Section, Rule of Law and Security Institutions Support Office of the U.N. Mission in South Sudan, Nov. 21, 2011.
[32] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Report of the independent expert on the situation of human rights in the Sudan, Mohammed Chande Othman, paras. 38-39, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/14/41, May 26, 2010;Akino Kowashi, affiliated with South Sudan Protection Cluster, e-mail to DPW, DPW South Sudan Doc. E-1, Nov. 16, 2011.
[33] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Report of the independent expert on the situation of human rights in the Sudan, Mohammed Chande Othman, para. 47, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/18/40, Aug. 22, 2011.
[34] South Sudan Criminal Procedure Code, art. 184, Act No. 5 of 2008.
[35] David Deng, affiliated with South Sudan Law Society, e-mail to DPW, DPW South Sudan Doc. E-2, Nov. 20, 2011.
[36] Elizabeth Ashamu, affiliated with Human Rights Watch, e-mail to DPW, DPW South Sudan Doc. E-3 , Nov. 20, 2011.
[37] Human Rights Watch, “Prison Is Not For Me”: Arbitrary Detention in South Sudan, p. 10, http://www.hrw.org/reports/2012/06/21/prison-not-me, Jun. 21, 2012.
[38] Robert Leggat, List of Executed Prisoners Since September 2007, Corrections Advisory Section, Rule of Law and Security Institutions Support Office of the U.N. Mission in South Sudan, Nov. 21, 2011.
[39] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Report of the independent expert on the situation of human rights in the Sudan, Mohammed Chande Othman, paras. 38-40, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/14/41, May 26, 2010.
[40] Human Rights Watch, “Prison Is Not For Me”: Arbitrary Detention in South Sudan, p. 10, http://www.hrw.org/reports/2012/06/21/prison-not-me, Jun. 21, 2012.
[41] Human Rights Watch, “Prison Is Not For Me”: Arbitrary Detention in South Sudan, p. 42, note 116, http://www.hrw.org/reports/2012/06/21/prison-not-me, Jun. 21, 2012.
[42] Human Rights Watch, “Prison Is Not For Me”: Arbitrary Detention in South Sudan, pp. 42-43, http://www.hrw.org/reports/2012/06/21/prison-not-me, Jun. 21, 2012.
[43] Human Rights Watch, “Prison Is Not For Me”: Arbitrary Detention in South Sudan, p. 43, http://www.hrw.org/reports/2012/06/21/prison-not-me, Jun. 21, 2012.
[44] Human Rights Watch, “Prison Is Not For Me”: Arbitrary Detention in South Sudan, p. 92, http://www.hrw.org/reports/2012/06/21/prison-not-me, Jun. 21, 2012.
[45] Julius N. Uma, South Sudan: UN Criticizes South Sudan Over Execution of Two Prisoners, Sudan Tribune, http://allafrica.com/stories/201209020297.html, Aug. 31, 2012.
[46] David Deng, affiliated with South Sudan Law Society, e-mail to DPW, DPW South Sudan Doc. E-2, Nov. 20, 2011.
[47] Elizabeth Ashamu, affiliated with Human Rights Watch, e-mail to DPW, DPW South Sudan Doc. E-3 , Nov. 20, 2011.
[48] Human Rights Watch, “Prison Is Not For Me”: Arbitrary Detention in South Sudan, p. 10, http://www.hrw.org/reports/2012/06/21/prison-not-me, Jun. 21, 2012.
[49] UNODC, Access to Legal Aid in Criminal Justice Systems in Africa: Survey Report, pp. 10, 12, http://www.unodc.org/pdf/criminal_justice/Survey_Report_on_Access_to_Legal_Aid_in_Africa.pdf, Apr. 2011.
[50] Robert Leggat, List of Executed Prisoners Since September 2007, Corrections Advisory Section, Rule of Law and Security Institutions Support Office of the U.N. Mission in South Sudan, Nov. 21, 2011.
[51] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Report of the independent expert on the situation of human rights in the Sudan, Mohammed Chande Othman, para. 40, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/14/41, May 26, 2010.
[52] Robert Leggat, List of Executed Prisoners Since September 2007, Corrections Advisory Section, Rule of Law and Security Institutions Support Office of the U.N. Mission in South Sudan, Nov. 21, 2011.
[53] Human Rights Watch, “Prison Is Not For Me”: Arbitrary Detention in South Sudan, p. 142, note 116, http://www.hrw.org/reports/2012/06/21/prison-not-me, Jun. 21, 2012.
[54] Julius N. Uma, South Sudan: UN Criticizes South Sudan Over Execution of Two Prisoners, Sudan Tribune, http://allafrica.com/stories/201209020297.html, Aug. 31, 2012.
[55] Human Rights Watch, “Prison Is Not For Me”: Arbitrary Detention in South Sudan, p. 43, http://www.hrw.org/reports/2012/06/21/prison-not-me, Jun. 21, 2012.
[56] Human Rights Watch, “Prison Is Not For Me”: Arbitrary Detention in South Sudan, p. 43, http://www.hrw.org/reports/2012/06/21/prison-not-me, Jun. 21, 2012.
[57] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Sudan, e. Denial of Fair Public Trial, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/af/135978.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.
[58] David Deng, affiliated with South Sudan Law Society, e-mail to DPW, DPW South Sudan Doc. E-2, Nov. 20, 2011; Elizabeth Ashamu, affiliated with Human Rights Watch, e-mail to DPW, DPW South Sudan Doc. E-3, Nov. 20, 2011.
[59] Human Rights Watch, South Sudan: Place Moratorium on Death Penalty, www.hrw.org/news/2012/11/04/south-sudan-place-moratorium-death-penalty, Nov. 5, 2012.
[60] Akino Kowashi, affiliated with South Sudan Protection Cluster, e-mail to DPW, DPW South Sudan Doc. E-1, Nov. 16, 2011.
[61] International Legal Assistance Consortium, Pre-Assistance Mission, South Sudan: 6 to 13 December 2011, pp. 10-11, http://www.ilac.se/download/reports_documents/mission-reports_documents/SOUTH-SUDAN_P-A_REPORT_120229.pdf, Feb. 29, 2012.
[62] UNODC, Access to Legal Aid in Criminal Justice Systems in Africa: Survey Report, pp. 10, 12, http://www.unodc.org/pdf/criminal_justice/Survey_Report_on_Access_to_Legal_Aid_in_Africa.pdf, Apr. 2011.
[63] International Legal Assistance Consortium, Pre-Assistance Mission, South Sudan: 6 to 13 December 2011, pp. 10-11, http://www.ilac.se/download/reports_documents/mission-reports_documents/SOUTH-SUDAN_P-A_REPORT_120229.pdf, Feb. 29, 2012.
[64] International Legal Assistance Consortium, Pre-Assistance Mission, South Sudan: 6 to 13 December 2011, pp. 10-11, http://www.ilac.se/download/reports_documents/mission-reports_documents/SOUTH-SUDAN_P-A_REPORT_120229.pdf, Feb. 29, 2012.
[65] Julius N. Uma, South Sudan: UN Criticizes South Sudan Over Execution of Two Prisoners, Sudan Tribune, http://allafrica.com/stories/201209020297.html, Aug. 31, 2012.
[66] International Legal Assistance Consortium, Pre-Assistance Mission, South Sudan: 6 to 13 December 2011, http://www.ilac.se/download/reports_documents/mission-reports_documents/SOUTH-SUDAN_P-A_REPORT_120229.pdf, Feb. 29, 2012.
[67] International Legal Assistance Consortium, Pre-Assistance Mission, South Sudan: 6 to 13 December 2011, pp. 9-10, http://www.ilac.se/download/reports_documents/mission-reports_documents/SOUTH-SUDAN_P-A_REPORT_120229.pdf, Feb. 29, 2012.
[68] Robert Leggat, List of Executed Prisoners Since September 2007, Corrections Advisory Section, Rule of Law and Security Institutions Support Office of the U.N. Mission in South Sudan, Nov. 21, 2011; U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Report of the independent expert on the situation of human rights in the Sudan, Mohammed Chande Othman, para. 47, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/18/40, Aug. 22, 2011; U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Report of the independent expert on the situation of human rights in the Sudan, Mohammed Chande Othman, paras. 38-40, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/14/41, May 26, 2010; David Deng, affiliated with South Sudan Law Society, e-mail to DPW, DPW South Sudan Doc. E-2, Nov. 20, 2011; Elizabeth Ashamu, affiliated with Human Rights Watch, e-mail to DPW, DPW South Sudan Doc. E-3, Nov. 20, 2011; Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2011, p. 52, ACT 50/001/2012, Mar. 27, 2012.
[69] David Deng, affiliated with South Sudan Law Society, e-mail to DPW, DPW South Sudan Doc. E-2, Nov. 20, 2011.
[70] Robert Leggat, List of Executed Prisoners Since September 2007, Corrections Advisory Section, Rule of Law and Security Institutions Support Office of the U.N. Mission in South Sudan, Nov. 21, 2011.
[71] International Legal Assistance Consortium, Pre-Assistance Mission, South Sudan: 6 to 13 December 2011, pp. 12-13, http://www.ilac.se/download/reports_documents/mission-reports_documents/SOUTH-SUDAN_P-A_REPORT_120229.pdf, Feb. 29, 2012.
[72] Human Rights Watch, “Prison Is Not For Me”: Arbitrary Detention in South Sudan, p. 27, http://www.hrw.org/reports/2012/06/21/prison-not-me, Jun. 21, 2012.
[73] Human Rights Watch, “Prison Is Not For Me”: Arbitrary Detention in South Sudan, p. 30, http://www.hrw.org/reports/2012/06/21/prison-not-me, Jun. 21, 2012.
[74] International Legal Assistance Consortium, Pre-Assistance Mission, South Sudan: 6 to 13 December 2011, p. 12, http://www.ilac.se/download/reports_documents/mission-reports_documents/SOUTH-SUDAN_P-A_REPORT_120229.pdf, Feb. 29, 2012.
[75] International Legal Assistance Consortium, Pre-Assistance Mission, South Sudan: 6 to 13 December 2011, p. 12, http://www.ilac.se/download/reports_documents/mission-reports_documents/SOUTH-SUDAN_P-A_REPORT_120229.pdf, Feb. 29, 2012.
[76] UNODC, Access to Legal Aid in Criminal Justice Systems in Africa: Survey Report, pp. 10, 12, http://www.unodc.org/pdf/criminal_justice/Survey_Report_on_Access_to_Legal_Aid_in_Africa.pdf, Apr. 2011.
[77] International Legal Assistance Consortium, Pre-Assistance Mission, South Sudan: 6 to 13 December 2011, pp. 10-11, http://www.ilac.se/download/reports_documents/mission-reports_documents/SOUTH-SUDAN_P-A_REPORT_120229.pdf, Feb. 29, 2012.
[78] International Legal Assistance Consortium, Pre-Assistance Mission, South Sudan: 6 to 13 December 2011, pp. 10-11, http://www.ilac.se/download/reports_documents/mission-reports_documents/SOUTH-SUDAN_P-A_REPORT_120229.pdf, Feb. 29, 2012.
[79] International Legal Assistance Consortium, Pre-Assistance Mission, South Sudan: 6 to 13 December 2011, p. 9, http://www.ilac.se/download/reports_documents/mission-reports_documents/SOUTH-SUDAN_P-A_REPORT_120229.pdf, Feb. 29, 2012.
[80] International Legal Assistance Consortium, Pre-Assistance Mission, South Sudan: 6 to 13 December 2011, p. 11, http://www.ilac.se/download/reports_documents/mission-reports_documents/SOUTH-SUDAN_P-A_REPORT_120229.pdf, Feb. 29, 2012.
[81] IRIN: South Sudan: Calls to end the death penalty, improve prison conditions, http://irinnews.org/report/96713/SOUTH-SUDAN-Calls-to-end-the-death-penalty-improve-prison-conditions, Nov. 5, 2012.
[82] Human Rights Watch, “Prison Is Not For Me”: Arbitrary Detention in South Sudan, pp. 25-26, http://www.hrw.org/reports/2012/06/21/prison-not-me, Jun. 21, 2012.
[83] U.S. Department of State, 2011 Human Rights Reports: South Sudan, www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2011/af/187675.htm, May 24, 2012.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

Decisions of Human Rights Committee

There are no decisions of the Human Rights Committee regarding the death penalty in the newly formed (2011) nation of South Sudan.

Decisions of Other Human Rights Bodies

While a review of Universal Periodic Review resources on Sudan (at http://www.upr-info.org/-Sudan-.html) shows that the Working Group devoted some of its time to issues faced by South Sudan at the May 2011 review, the delegates focused mainly on issues related to the violence in South Sudan and on its transition to independence. Regarding the death penalty, the Sri Lankan delegation did comment: “Although Southern Sudan still maintains the death penalty, it is not imposed on persons under 18 years, and it is only imposed for conviction of crimes of treason, murder or aggravated robbery with firearms. It was noted that the Southern Sudan Human Rights Commission is functioning, and already has a considerable number of cases before it.” [1] Several states in the Working Group recommended that Sudan adopt the Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR, establish a moratorium and abolish the death penalty. [2]

References

[1] U.N.G.A., Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review of Sudan, para. 82, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/18/16, Jul. 11, 2011.
[2] U.N.G.A., Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review of Sudan, paras. 83.3, 83.4, 83.86, 83.102, 84.20, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/18/16, Jul. 11, 2011.

Additional Sources and Contacts

Direct member(s) of World Coalition Against the Death Penalty

None.

Other non-governmental organizations and individuals engaged in advocacy surrounding the death penalty

Reprieve
PO Box 72054
London EC3P 3BZ
United Kingdom
Tel 020 7553 8140
Fax 020 7553 8189
info@reprieve.org.uk
http://www.reprieve.org.uk

Helpful Reports and Publications

Human Rights Watch, “Prison Is Not For Me”: Arbitrary Detention in South Sudan, http://www.hrw.org/reports/2012/06/21/prison-not-me, Jun. 21, 2012.

Amnesty Intl. & Human Rights Watch, South Sudan: A Human Rights Agenda, AFR 65/001/2011, Jun. 30, 2011.

International Legal Assistance Consortium, Pre-Assistance Mission, South Sudan: 6 to 13 December 2011, http://www.ilac.se/download/reports_documents/mission-reports_documents/SOUTH-SUDAN_P-A_REPORT_120229.pdf, Feb. 29, 2012.

U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Report of the independent expert on the situation of human rights in the Sudan, Mohammed Chande Othman, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/14/41, May 26, 2010.

U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review of Sudan, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/18/16, Jul. 11, 2011

Additional notes regarding this country

None.

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