The Presumption Of Innocence In Criminal Law And The Court Of Public

Opinion | By Juliet Yaiya Mang’ok Kuot

Gravel

September 9, 2020 (Thessherald)–In this digital era, news travel almost as fast as the speed of light. It is no surprise that any crime that takes place anywhere around the world can receive attention from all over the world. This then attracts the opinion of the general public as to the guilt or innocence of the accused person, popularly known as the court of public opinion before the person goes through the judicial process to determine his or her guilt.

The court of public opinion ‘means the beliefs and judgment of most people’ 

Presumption of innocence is the principle that an accused person is not presumed guilty until guilt has been proved in the legally established manner.

We have seen many cases of crimes whereby the public has already convicted the accused person of the crime but the verdict turns out later in favor of the accused to the dismay of the general public. This has even led some people to question the credibility of the justice system. I will give a few examples here.
Let’s look at the case of OJ Simpson . This was a criminal trial of a former American college and professional football star who was acquitted of the murder of his ex-wife and her boyfriend in 1995. The prosecution seemed to have a good case, many facts supporting the charge of murder against Mr. Simpson. They largely relied on domestic violence that had occurred before and after their divorce as motive of the murders, while the defense team largely relied on the grounds that evidence had been mishandled and that many of the los Angeles police department were racists, particularly the detective who allegedly found a bloody glove at Simpson’s home with the blood from both the deceased and the accused. Those gloves appeared to be too small when the accused tried them on in court.

Just across our borders in Kenya, we have the case of Tob Cohen, although still unresolved has the same storyline. A Dutch billionaire based in Kenya and who had married a Kenyan lady who happens to be the main suspect in the murder of her husband. The trial hasn’t even begun yet but the general public opinion has largely judged her as guilty.

Closer home, we had the case of late Lual marine an army general who allegedly used his power as an army general to grab people’s land and bully people. The last altercation turned bloody. It was a dispute arising from disagreement over land that has claimed not only his life but of many other innocent civilians who had no part in that dispute. The public was furious and the judgement from the court of public opinion was definitely against Lual marine as the killer of those innocent civilians. Whether he did it himself, by his direction or it was his bodyguards who did it without his directions, according to the court of public opinion the verdict is the same.

There is also the case of the three slain children brutally murdered at their home in Juba while their parents were away, this case was widely discussed on social media and it didn’t take long before the suspect was identified allegedly as their father’s ex-wife, the ex-wife though not identified received a lot of condemnation across social media only for the South Sudan police to identify a male university of Juba medical student as the prime suspect, a relative to the slain innocent children.

What then is the danger of court of public opinion? I mean the justice system is slow and the facts speak for themselves in such cases, right?.

The court of public opinion might do more harm than good.As much as we must exercise our freedom of speech and expression as enshrined in the constitution we have to be careful not to do more harm, than has already been done by the crime committed. The constitution of South Sudan provides for the right to a fair trial, an accused person is presumed to be innocent until his/her guilt is proved according to law.
Presumption of innocence must be protected. It is one of the principles that underpins the justice system. It is a norm under customary international law and protected under various international treaties and domesticated under many national constitutions and their relevant legislations. The provision of fair trial is an essential procedure in the justice system that any ounce of irregularity in procedure would grant the appellant a mistrial in appeal.
The famous quote by Lord chief Justice Hewart when he instructed that justice should be seen to be done
According to a report on presumption of innocence , there are key threats to the presumption of innocence and the possible solutions.
They include;
Prejudicial statements normally comments/statements made by public implying the guilt of the accused especially where there is major public interest in the case.

Press coverage the media is a very powerful tool with regard to relaying information to the public and even have influence on the presumption made by the public as to the guilt or innocence of the accused based on how they make the report.

Presentation of suspects in court and in public this includes parading of suspects in restraints before the public and the media and during their transfer to and from courts. Their suggestions on possible solutions included the

Clear regimes provided to prohibit public officials implying guilt of a suspect. Training for journalists on presumption of innocence to help them understand the complexity of the issue and the impact that their reporting can have.

Mandatory training for legal aid lawyers, so that only journalists who have undergone training on such issues should be allowed to cover criminal proceedings.
Robust legal regime should be put in place to regarding how suspects are presented in public limit the use of restraint and limit suspect’s exposure to the public and the press.

Public opinion can be used for good and ensures the following ;
Transparency
Cooperatively formed norms
Shines light on miscarriage of justice, The dangers of public opinion, Wedging and polarization, Death of complexity

People are forced to choose simplistic ‘sides’ complex issues are reduced to binary choices.

The substitution of opinion for fact

Facts are normally complex. But a yes or no answer is required immediately. The public goes with a fact or opinion or gut.

Bruce schneier opined that, ‘the court of public opinion is an alternative system of justice. It’s very different from traditional court system. This court is based on reputation, revenge, public shaming and the whims of the crowd. Having a good story is more important than having the law on your side. Being a sympathetic underdog is more important than being fair, facts matter but there are no standards of accuracy. The speed of the internet exacerbates this; a good story spreads faster than a bunch of facts.

In a nutshell, my point is that as much as public opinion has its merits with regards to guarding against injustices that could otherwise be occasioned to victims of crime, we must also ensure that the principles of innocence until proven guilty and that of fair trial are upheld, violation of which could also lead to another injustice should we publicly and sometimes legally convict an innocent person, this will also lead to erosion of the credibility of the justice system if they cannot render fair trial. The victims of these heinous crimes deserve justice but justice against the right perpetrator.

The writer is a concerned citizen and can be reached
Via: yaiyabol@gmail.com


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Full Text: Kiir’s office responds to allegations asserted by Peter Biar

President Salva Kiir Mayardit (Photo/File)

Response to False Allegations by Peter Biar Ajak | 7th August 2020

August 7, 2020 (Thessherald)–On behalf of the President of the Republic of South Sudan, I would like to begin by sending my heartfelt sympathies to the parents of the three innocent children murdered in cold blood in Rock City this past weekend. The law enforcement authorities are working tirelessly to ensure justice is served. Let me add that the Office of the President wholly supports this due process.

This press briefing provides an opportunity to offer a little more context and answer your questions on the false allegations that Peter Biar Ajak made recently, which have been the subject of intense discussions onseveral media platforms and beyond. Peter madethree allegations as motivating his forced return to the United States, saying that:

• His life was threatened by the “President of South Sudan, who ordered the National Security Service to either kill or abduct him;”

• He was wanted for exposing corruption and promoting democracy, citing activities he led under the defunct South Sudan Young Leaders Forum (SSYLF); and

• Finally, his arrest was due to disturbing peace and for speaking to foreign media.

We will go through Peter’s background and political activities shedding light on what truly led to his arrest and pardon.
To jog your memory, Peter was incarcerated in July 2018, sentenced to 2 years in prison in 2019, and pardoned in January 2020. He later joined his family in Nairobi, Kenya.

He recently returned to the United States, and upon arrival, announced on various media outlets the above allegations. He then declared his intention to challenge the Transitional Government of National Unity of South Sudan by calling for immediate national elections in 2021, increase in international protection force, and targeted sanctions against President Salva Kiir Mayardit and Gen. Akol Koor Kuc of the NSS.

As you all know, South Sudan is founded on the principles of equality, prosperity and justice for all. Upon gaining independence in 2011, the country has since striven to uphold the rule of law, and, among others, respect the bills of rights, including freedom of expression and assembly, which are enshrined in the constitution. However, due to various internal conflicts, starting in 2013 through the signing of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in 2019, and pardoned in January 2020. He later joined his family in Nairobi, Kenya.

He recently returned to the United States, and upon arrival, announced on various media outlets the above allegations. He then declared his intention to challenge the Transitional Government of National Unity of South Sudan by calling for immediate national elections in 2021, increase in international protection force, and targeted sanctions against President Salva Kiir Mayardit and Gen. Akol Koor Kuc of the NSS.

As you all know, South Sudan is founded on the principles of equality, prosperity and justice for all. Upon gaining independence in 2011, the country has since striven to uphold the rule of law, and, among others, respect the bills of rights, including freedom of expression and assembly, which are enshrined in the constitution.

However, due to various internal conflicts, starting in 2013 through the signing of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS) in September 2018, the Government has had difficulty in performing a delicate act of defending the sovereignty and rights of the citizens. While that has been a challenge, the country has performed its best, preserving its territorial integrity and protecting its people and their inalienable rights during the toughest of times.

To this end, Peter has been accorded space per his constitutional right to organize events and speak freely against the Government policy and decisions. However, when an individual is suspected to have violated the established laws of the land, as is the case globally, the authorities are duty bound to investigate and follow the due procedures to get to the bottom of such suspicion. In 2018, South Sudanese authorities had such suspicion against Peter, consequently apprehending him.

Investigations that followed, indeed, implicated Peter. Like many of our citizens who sought refuge abroad in search of better opportunities, Peter obtained academic credentials from La Salle and Harvard universities, respectively.

After obtaining his master’s from Harvard in 2010, he immediately moved to South Sudan as a local staff of the World Bank. After leaving the World Bank, he became a consultant for the National Security Service (NSS) under Gen. Oyay Deng Ajak, a decorated SPLA officer and Peter’s brother-in-law. In his capacity as a Coordinator in Gen. Oyay’s office, Peter contributed in drafting the South Sudan’s NSS Policy, which set the basis for the current National Security Law and Regulations. He then enrolled in a graduate program at King’s College, United Kingdom. His doctoral thesis, which supposedly investigates the “SPLM/A and the State formation in South Sudan” remains an unfinished business today.

Let us also touch on his humanitarian consultancy work. Peter signed a “Contract for Independent Service” in early 2018 with a Berlin based organization agency (name withheld). His undertakings with this agency and media presentations raised further suspicion and in July 2018, a warrant was issued for his immediate arrest.

The authorities confiscated Peter’s electronic devices for forensic analysis. Materials extracted from his computer and corroborated using online data confirmed the suspicion that Peter was, indeed, engaged in intelligence gathering, spying on military, intelligence agencies, and active Government officials, as well as colluding with violent oppositions.

Peter has not often engaged in peaceful activities allowed under the constitution of South Sudan. His subversive activities, which are injurious to the peace process and the leaders of the country are notable.

A dossier the Government has gathered points to Peter’s collusion with foreign governments, international agencies, and violent groups to radicalize the youth to destabilize an-alreadytroubled society. In addition, in a situational analysis he presented to the British Ambassador to South Sudan, Peter sought international support to isolate and punish South Sudanese leaders and the population by asking donors to withdraw humanitarian assistance.

Further, Peter participated in a violent protest on October 7, 2018 while in NSS custody, leading to his final conviction and sentencing to a 2-year imprisonment.

Going forward, the formation of the RTGoNU has given the state a breathing space, enabling it to embark on critical reforms, and national healing. In the spirit of peace, prisoners of war, political detainees, and those with other forgivable offenses, including Peter, were recently pardoned. Thus, the state has no interest in pursuing, monitoring or harming him. His only problem is fear itself and such paranoia is the genesis of his return to the US, the current media blitz, and a call for sanctions and an increase in internationally sponsored protection forces in South Sudan.

Let’s now take a look at why Peter really fled to the United States.

A careful scrutiny of the above allegations leads to a conclusion that Peter made up this story. Here is why:


First, upon his arrest and subsequent conviction, Peter spent 18 months in prison and was pardoned by the President and later leftas a free man. The state has no further interest in pursuing him.

Second, the President is vocal against corruption. He is not threatened by those who support his own cause. Moreover, Peter’s moral convictions are highly questionable. His financial records from the Bank of South Sudan (BSS) are indicative of a manipulative and corrupt young man. Peter, for instance, sourced from the BSS extremely scarce US dollars and GBPs in hundreds of thousand at preferential exchange rates by submitting requests to governors between 2013 and 2017.

Third, Peter was not arrested for speaking to the media. Speaking to foreign media or any media is not a crime in South Sudan, as freedom of speech is observed.

Understandably, Peter seems to have other reasons for fleeing to the United States for the second time. Primarily, Peter was associated with Late Kerbino Wol Agok who declared a rebellion against the Government in June 2020. He probably fears the state authorities would monitor or investigate him for a potential involvement in the just foiled insurgency.

Secondly, Peter lost his residency status following a long absence from the US. And for him to secure a return, he has to make up stories to gain reentry. Our investigation reveals thatPeter has had residency problems in the US in the past. For example, in 2010, upon return to the US, Peter’s Sudanese passport and US Green Card were confiscated by the US Department of Homeland Security for having overstayed outside the country. He was then ordered to appear before competent authorities in March 2011.

Therefore, it is only intuitive that Peter would sensationalize his security situation in South Sudan in order to regain residency in the United States.

Finally, Peter alleged that the hit squad in a tinted vehicle with a South Sudanese number visited his Nairobi apartment, sending him hiding. This allegation does not stand intelligence tradition. No government with this kind of intention would be this bold and daring to pursue a dissident in a foreign country using means that best implicates it.

In conclusion, South Sudan has embarked on implementing the peace agreement and looks forward to a promising transition and path to democracy. The Government plans national elections in 2023.

In themeantime, the Government is joining hands with citizens, and development partners to move the country out of the attendant situation. In summary, the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity is committed to peace, good governance, the rule of law, and democracy, notwithstanding many yet conquerable hiccups along the way.

While looking forward to answering your questions, I thank you for listening attentively.

May God bless you and May God bless our Republic
Ateny Wek Ateny
Press Secretary
Office of the President.

Opinion| Corruption: The Pandemic of Economies

By Marial A. Yol

Introduction


June 27, 2020 (Thessherald)–Wars, famines and disasters such as earthquakes tsunamis and pandemics provide fertile ground for corruption to breed. Once a disaster strikes, a plethora of all types of malpractices will be unleashed. In South Sudan, known episodes of malpractices include Dura saga, Crisis Management Committee saga, Letters of Credit saga, and Funds Embezzlement saga. These sagas are a manifestation of a serious malady which has infested the country in the absence of robust anti-graft institutions to administer preventive measures.

In South Sudan, corruption is categorized into four sectors:

• The extractive sector: oil sector which is the nation’s largest revenue source which is used as a collateral for the foreign loans seriously lacks any transparency and accountability mechanisms.

• 2- The military: military organization maintains control over the nation’s economy directly by controlling the public budget and indirectly by close ties to businesses and contracts. South Sudan’s military spending is higher than that of any other country in the region. It is believed that there is little oversight of payroll expenses and rare reporting of payroll expenditures.


• 3- State spending: this involves a procurement system that is susceptible to abuse and waste, with lucrative contracts regularly awarded to the suppliers connected to government officials. No-bid (single sourced) contracts, notably for road building and vehicle imports, are regularly awarded to companies at inflated prices with no oversight.


• Money laundering: money dealers exploit the country’s fragile financial industry to launder money and generate revenue. Senior government officials were heavily involved in the financial sector, especially in speculative activities in the parallel currency market. Illegal transfers were rampant with no disclosures. Private FOREX bureaus have been established just to facilitate money laundering.

One important example occurred in 2008 when a corruption of grand scale struck the country as the Government paid nearly SSP 6.0 billion to purchase sorghum for preventing an expected famine in 2009. This transaction became publicly known as the “Dura Saga“. In February 2013, Government solicited the assistance of the World Bank forensic investigators which revealed that 290 firms were paid without ever having signed a contract, and another 151 firms were overpaid significantly. The scam involved the disappearance of several million dollars that had been allocated for the building and repair of grain stores and the purchase of grain, none of which was delivered.

What is Corruption?

Corruption is defined as “the use of public office for unauthorized private gain”. Wikipedia defined corruption as “a form of dishonesty or criminal activity undertaken by a person or organization entrusted with a position of authority, often to acquire illicit benefit”.

The word “corruption” came into the subject literature in early 14th century. In adjective form, “corrupted” meant debased in character”. Senior (2006) defined corruption as an action to (a) secretly provide (b) a good or a service to a third party (c) so that the party can influence certain actions which (d) benefit the corrupt, a third party, or both (e) in which the corrupt agent has authority.

Categories of Corruption

The three categories of corruption identified are:


• Petty corruption: which occurs at a smaller scale at the implementation end of public service projects when public officials meet the public.

• Grand corruption: occurs at the highest levels of government and involves significant subversion of the political, legal and economic systems. This type of corruption is common in authoritarian or dictatorial governments and those without adequate policing of corruption. That’s why government system is divided into three branches: legislative, executive and judiciary in order to provide independent services that are less subject to grand corruption as a result of their independence from one another.

• Systemic corruption: also known as endemic corruption, results from the weaknesses of institutions, an organization or process. It is encouraged by factors such as conflicting incentives, discretionary powers, monopolistic powers; lack of transparency; low pay; and a culture of impunity.

Political Corruption

Corruption and politics are intertwined in such a way that one hardly exists without the other. Political corruption is simply defined as “the abuse of public power, office, or resources by elected government officials for personal gain, by extortion, soliciting or offering bribes”. This type of corruption occurs as office holders maintain themselves in office by buying votes or enacting laws which use taxpayers’ money. Any official that uses the power of an elected political office for personal gain or for a personal agenda is abusing the trust of that office, and hence is committing political corruption.

Types of Political Corruption

If the officials overseeing these projects divert some of that money into their personal accounts, they have committed an act of embezzlement, also known as “graft.” It can occur anytime an official chooses to use funds owned by another person or group for their own personal benefit.

• Blackmail and Extortion: this type occurs when officials use the power and influence provided to them to threaten other persons into behaving in a certain way they want.

It also occurs when elected representatives threaten to reveal information that they think might incriminate someone in order to coerce that person into cooperating with them.


Preferential Treatment:

This type occurs when officials allow their appointments to be influenced by inappropriate or illegal factors. Nepotism is one type of preferential treatment. It is the practice of giving appointments to family members, rather than basing appointments on the actual qualifications of the appointees. Another type of preferential treatment, known as patronage, occurs when officials make appointments in exchange for votes, payoffs or other benefits.

• Influence peddling: is the illegal practice of using one’s influence in government or connections with persons in authority to obtain favors or preferential treatment for others, usually in return for payment.

Corruption Measures versus South Sudan

Corruption Perception Index or CPI places South Sudan at rank 179 out of 180 nations and a score of 12 out of 100 only above Somalia in 2017. The five countries with the highest scores (and hence the most ‘clean’) are New Zealand (89), Denmark (88), Finland, Norway, and the Switzerland, 85 each. At the other extreme, the countries with the lowest scores (and highest perceived corruption) are Sudan (16), Afghanistan (15), Syria (14), South Sudan (12) and Somalia (9).

Consequences of Corruption on the economy:

Economic Growth: Corruption creates the opportunity for increased inequality, reduces the return of productive activities, and, hence, makes rent-seeking and corruption activities more attractive. This inequality does not only generate psychological frustration to the under-privileged but also reduces productivity growth, investment, and job opportunities. Tani (1998) argued that highly corrupt governments spend less on education and health, thereby limiting human capital building and the potential for economic growth. Corruption may reduce the efficiency of domestic and international aid flow through diversion of funds from intended government projects (Mauro, (1997). He stressed that corruption reduces revenue generated through taxation when parties engage in tax evasion, creating budget deficits for the government. Furthermore, corruption elevates the hidden cost of doing international business (Kehoe, 1998). It is indicated that multinational corporations suffer tarnished reputations in the world marketplace when they engage in corrupt practices (Ghosal and Moran, 2005). It is further argued that corruption undermines development efforts by weakening the institutional foundation on which economic growth stands (Klitgaard, 1988).

Specifically, corruption can cause the following effects:

• Corruption decreases foreign investment: There are many cases in which foreign investors willing to come to developing countries return to their home countries due to heavy corruption in the government bodies.


• Corruption causes delay in growth: A work which can be done in few days may be done in many months. This leads to delay in investment, starting of industries and also growth. Even if started, company growth is hindered as every work linked to officials get delayed due to need to provide bribes or other benefits.
• Corruption retards development: New industries willing to invest in particular region can change their plans if corruption is reported to be rampant in that region. If there is no proper infrastructure, companies will not wish to start up there, and this hinders the economic progress of that region.


• Corruption widens differences in trade ratios: Some countries have inefficient standard control institutions that can approve low-quality products for sale in their country. Other countries do manufacture cheap products which they can dump in big markets. However, they cannot dump these cheap products in countries with strict standard control institutions. They can do so only in countries with chances of corrupt officials in standard control. This widens differences in trade ratios among nations.

Effects of Corruption on Society

i. Corruption leads to disregard for officials: In countries with high levels of corruption, there is high level of public disregard for government officials involved corruption. The public talks negatively about them and this can contribute to the building of distrust. Even lower grade officers will be disrespectful to higher grade officers and may not obey their orders.


ii. Corruption leads to high level of pollution: Corruption in government allows the industry opt to release untreated and harmful waste into rivers and air. If there is no corruption, there can be fair probes. The industry personnel will treat the waste such that it is less toxic and harmless to environment and people in it. So this implies that corruption is also a significant contributor to pollution.

Preventive Measures


•To combat corruption, there is need to establish strong and robust legal framework, strict law enforcement and independent and effective court system. Civil society support can be sought to buttress the process with initiatives such as Transparency International’s Unmask the Corruption campaign. The following deterrent and preventive measures are recommended:

• Reform of Public Administration and Financial Management: Reforms should focus on improving financial management and strengthening the role of auditing agencies. One such reform is the disclosure of budget information, which prevents waste and misappropriation of resources. For example, Transparency International encourages transparent and participatory budgeting by training local communities to comment on the proposed budgets of their local government.

• Promotion of Transparency and Access to Information: there is need for government openness, freedom of the press, transparency and access to information. Access to information increases the responsiveness of government bodies, while simultaneously positively affecting the levels of public participation in a country.

• Empower Citizens: Strengthening citizens’ demand for anti-corruption and empowering them to hold government accountable can help to build mutual trust between citizens and government.

Close International Loopholes: Without access to the international financial system, corrupt public officials would not be able to launder and hide the proceeds of looted state assets.
Governments need to put in place mechanisms for stopping banks and cooperating offshore financial centers from absorbing illicit flows of money. The European Union 4th Anti-Money Laundering Directive, which requires EU member-states to create registers of the owners of companies established within their borders is one good example.

• Development of robust oversight and accountability mechanisms. Country’s public sector oversight institutions should be the primary entities involved in countering corruption and promoting greater transparency and accountability. Institution-building should prioritize building the capacity and safeguarding the integrity of judicial and governance oversight. Priority institutions such as courts, National Auditing Chamber, Anti-Corruption Commission, and the Public Accounts Committee in the Legislative Assembly should be empowered. Countering political influence and supporting the country’s courts with technical expertise that can support local actors in the effort to investigate and prosecute economic crimes and pursue asset tracking and recovery is critical. Any individual found to have intentionally subverted these institutions should be considered to be “undermining democratic institutions” and should be placed under sanctions.

vi. Creation of a searchable public registry of all corporate entities formed in the country. This measure can prevent the top government officials and their immediate family members from holding stakes in numerous commercial ventures which are not actually accessible to the public.
There is need to establish a searchable corporate registry that makes available certain corporate filings from each company that contain basic information about the firm’s true owners, including their name, date of birth, business address, and identification number. These records should be accessible at a very low cost.

Introduction of a Financial Management System:

This will prevent senior government officials from hijacking state institutions and looting public resources. Additionally, there is need for an oversight mechanism for revenue collection, budgets, revenue allocation, and government spending with technical and advisory support from the regional and international community. To help safeguard the integrity and bolster the capacity of crucial oversight institutions that are designed to review and check public spending, donors and international institutions in the country should work with country’s civil society to establish a financial management mechanism.

• Conduct of retrospective review of the allocation of government contracts and natural resource concessions. Most of the funds targeted by corruption appear to come from the oil, mining, foreign exchange, and banking sectors as well as defense supply contracts from the government. These sectors should be subject to a retrospective review and extensive auditing. Companies and individuals found to have abused their power to secure unfair advantage should lose government contracts and natural resource concessions and face steep penalties.

South Sudan’s National Audit Chamber should be given an authority that extends beyond the chamber’s mandate in order to benefit from partnership with impartial external actors to help further ensure that the review process itself cannot be manipulated for political ends.

S. Sudan’s businessman Kerbino Wol rebels against Kiir’s gov’t

Prominent Academic Peter Biar Ajak and South Sudan’s businessman and philanthropist Kerbino Wol in a court room |Photo credit: Reuters

June 7, 2020 (Thessherald)–A South Sudanese businessman and Philanthropist, Kerbino Wol has rebelled against the Kiir administration and formed a new rebel movement called the “7 October Movement” aimed at toppling the Government.

In an interview with a Washington-based international radio, Voice of America on a satellite phone, the former detainee, Wol described the formation of the new movement as “historic”, saying it actually lays the foundations for total reforms in the country.

“We are the ‘7 October Movement’ which has been formed in South Sudan and today, is a very historical day in South Sudan,” Wol said in an exclusive interview with a VOA journalist.

Wol disclosed that the new rebel faction is consist of the youth who had long suffered as a result of the government’s repression.

“The team behind this group are young people of South Sudan that have finally been awakened by the suppression, the injustice and the failure of the leadership in the country. So they have taken the lead to liberate themselves from the oppression and the poor leadership in the country,” he pointed out.

Kerbino Wol was arrested by the National Security Service Biar Ajak in 2018 and then sentenced to 15 years in 2019 for terrorism, spying and insurgency.