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Police unveils tougher actions against SGBV culprits

Brig. James Dak Karlo, the Deputy Spokesperson of the South Sudan National Police Service (Photo: Philip Buda Ladu)

By Philip Buda Ladu

Brigadier James Dak Karlo, the Deputy Spokesperson of the South Sudan National Police Service who doubles as the Director of Special Protective Unit is encouraging survivors of Sexual Gender-Based Violence to report cases to police when it’s still fresh with evidence to receive justice.

He made the appeal on Friday following his return from Nairobi where they attended a workshop organized by IGAD on the protection of the rights of women and the eradication of Gender-Based Violence.

Brig. Dak said the rate of Sexual Gender-Based Violence was very high among teenagers at the onset of Covid-19 outbreak because they were very idle as they weren’t going to school. He however noted that the prevalence has declined currently.

“Although the data is still prevailing, but the data between 2019 and 2020 is not like the one of 2021/2022. 7 cases now if I am not exaggerating, 7 cases have been sentenced to 14 years imprison, and then we have 350 Gender-Based Violence cases according to the One-Stop Center report at Juba Teaching Hospital last year,” Dak stated.

He said cultural taboos and the law of silence is what made most of the GBV cases reported at the One-Stop Center at Juba Teaching Hospital not to reach to the court as survivors don’t report to the police, they only report to the hospital, get treated and go home.

“We have cases which are not tried. These cases are not tried why because survivors report to the hospital and they don’t come back to us (police). And that’s why we are encouraging the advocacy of reporting and we are discouraging the taboos, the social concepts,” Dak emphasized.

He reiterated that people have to break away from the silence, and report the GBV cases because if they don’t hold the perpetrators accountable, they will continue committing the crimes.

The Deputy Police Spokesperson who heads the Special Protective Unit at the police service however said men in uniform should be at the forefront of fighting against Sexual Gender-Based Violence.

“Eradicating gender-based violence we (organized forces) should be the first runners to implement the 1325 Resolution and then the action plan, because we have done our action plans. The army did, the police did and we are to comply with these action plans that we have to show respect, harmony and combatant between us and the civilians,” he said.

“We are becoming tougher in accountability in regards to whoever commits sexual gender-based violence,” Dak added.

The Special Protective Unit is a Directorate at the National Police Services which deals with issues concerning gender-based violence, conflict related to sexual violence and domestic violence.

The Protective Unit was established in 2014 when President Salva Kiir Mayardit signed a joint communiqué with the United Nations. The communiqué underlined that most perpetrators who commit crimes related to sexual gender-based violence are the men in uniform.

 “As long as there is evidence beyond reasonable doubts, there are exhibits and there are witnesses. There is no bailing for cases to do with gender-based violence, and the maximum sentence is 14 years’ imprisonment,” said Brig. Dak.

The Deputy Police Spokesperson said there are so far more than 7 perpetrators who have been sentenced by the Juvenile Court in regards to issues of Gender-Based Violence.

Brig. Dak said they are committed to implement international and regional legal frameworks and they have endorsed and passed the Resolution of 1325 that talks of protection, prevention, participation and review.

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