Adjournment of Terrain Hotel suspects trial “disappointing”

The Executive Director of Foundation for Democracy and Accountable Governance Jame David Kolok says the trial of the Terrain Hotel suspects has been seen as a process of justice and accountability of crime suspects in the country.

Speaking to Juba Monitor yesterday, Kolok said the two more weeks’ extension of the Terrain Hotel suspects was a “disappointment” because the case is long overdue.

“Unfortunately when we learnt of extension of the case I think in a way it is very disappointing. This is because we thought this case is long overdue. And this is a kind of crime that was committed long time ago. So we thought this could have been a real opportunity of moving forward with this case,” he said.

The military court for the trial of the Terrain Hotel suspects who have been accused of orchestrating violence and rape during the July 2016 Conflict in Juba started in Juba last week.

The military court hearing has been extended for two weeks. This means the next court hearing would take place on 20th June, 2017.

Kolok argued that if the extension of the case was done for gathering more information on the case then it would be welcomed.

“I thought the prosecutor who has requested for the extension would have got ample time to study the case. But if it is true that the case needed to have more information and it was extended in good faith within the context of fairness of justice to the suspects then we can say it is okay. Let that extension be welcomed,” he said.

“But if the extension is done for the sake of pushing this process forward without necessarily expediting the justice process then we need to say it is important that we need to take the case very seriously,” Kolok added.

He urged the SPLA military court to ensure that the Terrain Hotel suspects appear in court again after the two weeks.

“We hope that in the two weeks, this process will resume and we would want to see these suspects face the law,” he said.

Kolok also appealed to the government to equally bring the four suspects of Kubi rape incident to the courts of law.

Kolok said the Terrain Hotel incident should not just be singled out because of a certain interest but all suspects of rape and other human rights violations should face justice all over the country.

“What happened at Terrain Hotel is equally important to be prosecuted like any other crime in this country like what happened in the Eastern bank,” he said. “So, when begin to hear that up to now there is nothing tangible in regards to those who committed atrocities at Kubi village and then I think we need to ask the government to expedite that process,” he added.

He said the Kubi rape suspects should be investigated immediately.

“I am quite sure those soldiers cooperated within a confine of a command structure and they must have been known to the government and the military command,” he said. “So, we are saying that whoever was responsible that time must be investigated. And whoever must have committed that crime should follow the due process of the law. We hope that what should have happened today should have been an eye opener in terms of holding people accountable whether they committed atrocities in Juba, Kajo-Keji or Bentiu,” Kolok stressed.

By Sworo Charles Elisha

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