By Bida Elly David
The Spokesperson of South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF), said that the special Military Court Martial in Juba has suspended the trial of the suspected murderer of four people in Warrap State on the 7th of January 2023.
The suspension follows an objection by the defending counsels of the suspect who cited dissatisfaction over the legal procedures of the hearing.
Speaking to the media after the deferral of the court hearing, SSPDF spokesperson Maj. Gen. Lul Ruai Koang said that the court martial had to do so based on the account of the defense saying the court had no right to do a task meant for a committee.
“There were two defense teams that gave legal protection for the prime suspect. They made objection on the formation of the court martial – saying that the court should not do work meant for a committee,” he said.
Capt. Francis Loboka, the defense counsel of the suspect said that their objection on the hearing was due to the fact that the committee was not represented by a judge, advocate, or legal counsel as provided under section 55 of the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Army amended Act 2022.
“The Act stated clearly that every general or district court martial shall be attended by a judge-advocate or legal counselor appointed by the judge advocate general, who is nominated through a request by the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs,” he explained.
In their objection letter, the defense team further stated that the formation of General Court Martial that involved foreigners was the work of the President of the country, but not the work of the SSPDF Chief of Defense Forces.
The defense councilors of the suspected murderer recommended dissolution of the current General Court Martial (GCM) – demanding new formation by the President of the Republic of South Sudan.
“The GCM should be dissolved and a new one to be convened by the President of the Republic of South Sudan who shall be represented by either a judge-advocate or legal counsel,” the letter added.
The counsel further requested the accused detained at the military intelligence detention facilities to be transferred to the military police custody during his trial proceedings by a competent general court martial.