Over 60 rape cases awaiting trial in Wau
The High Court in South Sudan’s Western Bahr el Ghazal has failed to hear over 60 rape cases due to lack of judges, a judge said.
Speaking during a rule of law forum conducted in Wau town on Saturday, the President of the High Court in Wau town, Bang Atong Onwar said: “There are 67 cases of rape before me for trial. Relatives of the victims have not made compromises concerning the cases.”
Bang further said any compromise entered into between a rape victim and the accused not to prosecute the complaint is unlawful.
For his part, Ngifack Justin, a rule of law officer with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), advocated for exemplary punishment to rape perpetrators.
“We have urged the members of the judiciary, specially the President of High Court to pass exemplary convictions because members of the community are waiting to hear that the perpetrates have been sentenced to 14 years in prison and fined,” he stressed.
Ngifack described rape as a criminal offense that is not negotiable at the level of the community, once it has been reported to the authorities.
South Sudan laws provide for protection of women and girls from sexual abuse, exploitation and gender-based violence, including rape, early and forced marriage as well as female genital mutilation.