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Late Rev. Sr. Veronika’s final court verdict adjourned

By Charles K Mark


Final court verdict in the case of a slain Catholic nun, Rev. Sr. Dr Veronika Teresia Rackova, has been adjourned to 14th November, this year.

The nun was shot on May 15th, 2016 in Yei by suspected government soldiers while in an ambulance going home from a church-run medical Centre.

The case has been transferred to the high court in Juba since 2021 under a series of investigations that have passed through four different judges.

The Catholic Church leadership sent representatives to the Kator High Court in Juba to hear the last and final ruling to be made against the accused.

Unfortunately, the government defense team is said to have been carried away by other official duties, thus postponing the verdict.

The prosecution lawyer, James Paolino Lado, noted that it was unfortunate that the administration of the National Security Service was too busy to attend the final ruling.

“The person who was assigned to bring the accused to court has been given an assignment in the salary committee,” Lado told journalists yesterday.

The counsel said the defendant is to be occupied for fourteen days clearing salaries, and that is why he requested more time.

“November 14, 2023, will be the final decision of the court. And we will hear in that session because I cannot tell you what the decision of the court could be,” the counsel told reporters after the court adjournment.

The advocate, however, expressed disappointment at the dragging of the court case that has gone on for about 8 years, calling it a bad procedure.

“It was very bad procedure for me because I was a judge previously, and previously the case couldn’t take two years to be finalized,” Counsel Lado said.

According to the police report, six suspects were initially arrested in connection with the shooting of the ambulance that the late Reverend Sister Veronika was driving at the time of her demise.

Presented to the court as suspects in the murder case were Marko Lual Deng, Marko Akol Diing, Mayen Dut Mawien, Mane Justin Faustino, Abraham Magok Akwai, and Akech Arop Chol.

Mane Justine Faustino is a member of the National Security Services (NSS), while the five others are members of the South Sudan Defence Forces (SSPDF).

Mr. Lado revealed that the case has gone through about four judges from Mangisto, Somalia, Alexandria, and finally Juba.

“This changing of the judges has made the case not to accelerate and not proceed very quickly. And that is the problem,” he exclaimed.

He applauded the last judge for speeding up the procedures that will let the family of the late sister finally attain justice for the killing of the nun.

Lado, who quoted the Constitution, saying ‘the justice delayed, justice denied,’ said the practical part in South Sudan is never immediate.

“I want to tell and assure the family of the late that justice will prevail and the accused will take his punishment,” he confided.

Among those from the Catholic Church who came to witness the final verdict were Sister Sheeba Matthew, regional counsellor of the Missionary Sisters Servants of the Holy Spirit.

She came from Ethiopia only to hear the verdict and wish to know what the final ruling would be; unfortunately, she will have to wait longer than expected.

“So what was supposed to happen did not happen, and we wait patiently to hear what the last verdict is,” Sr. Sheeba wished.

The senior, though disappointed, said some situations that arise cannot be changed, but only to patiently wait in faith.

Meanwhile, the Bishop of Yei Catholic Diocese, Rt. Rev. Alex Lodiong Sakor, urged the faithful to remain calm and hopeful for the last court decision.

“We are sorry for what has happened in this particular case—the last date when the judge is supposed to make the ruling. But as usual, we are patient to wait until the whole thing is concluded,” Bishop Lodiong said.

Sr. Veronika was from the Congregation of the sisters Servant of the Holy Spirit and a Medical Director of St. Bakhita Health Centre, Yei.


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