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Why activist fears citizens could resort to mob justice

Author: Woja Emmanuel | Published: Tuesday, August 4, 2020

A mob justice scene in Kenya | Credit | The Standard

The Community Empowerment for Progress Organization has warned of a potential of the public resorting to mob justice if the authorities do not respond to crimes promptly.

Mob justice is when a person suspected to be a criminal is beaten by a group of people or crowd with clubs, stones, machetes, or anything they can lay their hands on, according to scholars.

CEPO says the public is slowly losing trust in the provision of justice over crimes committed in South Sudan.

It believes that many people have been acting in total disregard for the rule of law or fear of the law enforcement agencies.

“Whatever laws that we have in this country, they are always applied either with fear, with compromise or with manipulation,” argues Edmund Yakani, CEPO executive director.

“That means a person who commits a crime knows that he can do it again and get off scott-free, knowing that the state will compromise and he will not be caught or arrested.”

There has been an increase in cases of human rights violation and gender-based violence in Juba and other parts of the country.

But the UN and activists say the perpetrators have not been brought to book.

Amnesty International said the authorities have allowed impunity to flourish over serious human rights violations, war crimes and crimes against humanity committed across the country.

“So, this is a clear indication that if we continue manipulating access to justice, then citizens will apply mob justice and the society will become violent, there will be a surge of terror,” Yakani adds.

He encourages the security organs to provide protection and swift justice for people affected by crimes, saying: “It’s a constitutional obligation of the state to ensure that rule of law holds.”

Some obervers argue that lack of access to justice is a contributing factor to revenge attack in some states, particularly Jonglei, Lakes, Western Bahr el Ghazal and Warrap.

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