South Sudan: The Newest Entry in the Death Penalty Worldwide Database
The Republic of South Sudan became the world’s newest independent nation on July 9, 2011, marking the end of a decades-long civil conflict. The world’s youngest state is also a retentionist state: since its independence, it has executed at least 5 people. Death Penalty Worldwide has just finished a comprehensive review of death penalty laws and practices in South Sudan, which you can find here.
The criminal laws of South Sudan, drafted as early as 2008, took a marked turn away from those of Sudan, the state of which it was formerly a part. Like Sudan, South Sudan imposes capital punishment on persons convicted of murder, terrorism and treason, but the similarities end there. South Sudan has restricted the number of crimes that are death-eligible and has limited the use of the mandatory death penalty. There are some deeply troubling aspects of South Sudan’s death penalty, however. For example, South Sudan’s nascent legal aid system lacks the capacity to provide counsel to all who are facing the death penalty. As a result, several individuals have been sentenced to death without any legal representation whatsoever. South Sudan also faces the challenge of integrating customary law and practices, under which there is no death penalty, into its justice system.
The Death Penalty Worldwide would like to thank its collaborators from UNMISS (the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan), the South Sudan Protection Cluster and Human Rights Watch for their contributions to this research.