Statement by U.S. Embassy Juba Spokesperson: Terrain Hotel Verdict

The United States sees today’s verdict as an important step toward justice for the perpetrators of violence, including murder and sexual assault, at the Terrain Hotel compound in Juba, South Sudan, on July 11, 2016.  We commend, in particular, those who provided testimony for their bravery in facing their attackers.

We urge the Government of South Sudan to continue to pursue accountability for all violent acts committed by its military especially against international assistance workers and journalists.  While today’s verdict is an important step, human rights violations and abuses and violations of international law continue to take place in South Sudan, as they have for years. We hope that this trial will precipitate additional action by the government to hold those responsible accountable for the violations and abuses being committed in South Sudan.  At least 107 aid workers and 13 journalists have been killed trying to help the South Sudanese people or cover the conflict in South Sudan since it started in December 2013.

The United States remains concerned by reports of ongoing violations and abuses of human rights and international humanitarian law committed in South Sudan, including consistent, credible reports of rampant sexual violence.  The United States calls on the Government of South Sudan to hold accountable those additional individuals responsible for other violent attacks that have killed tens of thousands and displaced millions in South Sudan.  To that end, the Government of South Sudan should move immediately to conclude the Memorandum of Understanding with the African Union on the establishment of the Hybrid Court — which the government agreed to in the August 2015 peace agreement — to deliver accountability for those responsible for human rights violations and abuses, including those that involve sexual and gender-based violence.

While today’s verdict is a sign that justice is possible, the United States strongly urges that other violent individuals and groups who have operated with impunity throughout this manmade conflict be brought to justice as well.  The United States strongly supports international efforts to hold these individuals to account and will continue to utilize tools, including targeted sanctions, to take action against those who attempt to sow chaos, work against peace, and commit serious human rights abuses in South Sudan.