23rd February 2024
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Advocate urges tougher punishment for rapists

Author: Michael Daniel | Published: Friday, January 12, 2024

Sohila Deng, the Chairperson of South Sudan Women Advocates Network. (-)

A gender-based violence advocate appeals to the Ministry of Justice to amend the South Sudan Penal Code Act and elevate rape sentence to deter perpetrators, emphasizing that the current punishment is not enough.

Sohaila Deng, a lawyer and the chairperson of the South Sudan Women Lawyers Association said the Legislation Department in the Ministry of Justice should amend penalties for sexual violence cases as the GBV Law is pending.

“We are sending a message to the Minister of Justice and the Chief Justice to amend the penalty for the crime of rape because it is not a deterrent and is not sufficient to stop rape cases,” Ms. Deng said.

“You find that some criminals can commit the crime and stay in prison for 5 or 10 years and be released and live their life. Therefore, we ask the Legislation Department in the Ministry of Justice to make an amendment.”

“Punishments so that they become a deterrent until sensible laws are issued. We also ask the head of cases to issue circulars with deterrent penalties for rape cases.”

According to section 247 of South Sudan’s 2008 Penal Act, whoever has sexual intercourse or carnal intercourse with another person, against his or her will or without his or her consent commits the offence of rape.

Upon conviction, the penal code says the perpetrator shall be sentenced to imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years and may also be liable to a fine.

On 3rd December 2020, the Judiciary of South Sudan operationalized the country’s first Gender Based Violence and Juvenile Court, in a commitment to end impunity for gender-based crimes and hold perpetrators accountable in South Sudan.

With funding from the Kingdom of the Netherlands UNDP’s support for fighting gender-based violence spans beyond the GBV Court, to mobile courts, the police Special Protection Units (SPUs), and the Women and Child Unit in the Directorate of Public Prosecutions.

Charity Denis, a social worker at Gender Based Violence spoke about the importance of psychosocial support for the survivors and perpetrators to easily integrate into society.

“We have a Consulting room in our Gender Based Violence court in Juba near the Mudria roundabout. We provide counselling services to help victims and even the perpetrators, as we study cases to contribute to getting them out of the bad psychological state he is experiencing.”

“For example, when you are released from prison after serving your sentence, you must undergo counselling and psychological treatment so that you can integrate into society.”

South Sudan has ratified the African Union’s Protocol to the African Charter on the Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, also known as the Maputo Protocol, after years of delay.

The Maputo Protocol signals a commitment to gender equality and obliges the country to adopt effective policies and strategies to ensure the protocol makes a difference in people’s lives.


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