Statement by Spokesperson Clayton M. McCleskey on the Terrain Hotel Verdict in South Sudan

Press Release Shim

Speeches Shim

For Immediate Release

Friday, September 7, 2018

On Thursday, a military court martial in South Sudan took an important first step toward justice when it convicted 10 South Sudanese government soldiers of rape, sexual assault, looting, and the murder of John Gatluak, a journalist employed by Internews and recipient of a grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). In July 2016, the soldiers attacked the Juba Terrain residential compound, home to American citizens and other foreign nationals employed by USAID partners and other organizations dedicated to assisting the people of South Sudan.

Mr. Gatluak and the survivors of the Terrain attack put their personal safety at great risk to help the South Sudanese people. South Sudan is one of the most dangerous places in the world to deliver humanitarian assistance. Mr. Gatluak is among several journalists killed since the conflict began, in addition to the 107 aid workers who have lost their lives helping the South Sudanese people.

While USAID welcomes this week's verdict, we must remember all of the South Sudanese who are still waiting for justice. We call on the South Sudanese government to immediately set up the long-delayed Hybrid Court for South Sudan and to hold accountable all individuals responsible for violent attacks that have killed tens of thousands and displaced millions. Justice and accountability for crimes and human-rights abuses, regardless of who commits them, are essential to help the people of South Sudan move beyond the cycles of violent conflict and reach lasting peace.