The ongoing military recruitment in Gogrial state has raised considerable debates and concerns in recent times at all levels of government and diasporas. This note seeks to assess whether the current military recruitment in Gogrial state is legal under the laws of South Sudan. Contrary to the SPLA Act, 2009, it is the worst military recruitment of all that the country has experienced since the time of independence. This is because the concerned authorities are denying such activity.
Under International law, all forms of human trafficking, forceful recruitment including children conscription is prohibited. As such, the ongoing recruitment of Gogrial state citizens into Military Service is a manifestation of captivity and a form of human Rights violation that is as serious and as capricious which may amount to international crimes.
South Sudan is a democratic Society which is has its laws that govern Military Service like SPLA Act, 2009. The justifications for this are as follows: –
1. Enrollment Policy (Section 20 of SPLA Act, 2009). This section states that, enrolment into SPLA Military service SHALL be voluntary, except where the National Legislative Assembly, on the recommendation of the President decides or deems necessary. Having seen this provision, it is clear that any recruitment into Military service must be voluntary and if not, then it is contrary to law which renders it null and void. Now therefore, if the law says this, as above, who, among South Sudanese that can be allowed to deviate from the law of the country? The SPLA top-heads-command should act quickly to bring those who are behind this to face law.
2. Recruitment Authority and Procedures. (section 21 of SPLA Act, 2009). The recruitment into SPLA Military service is vested into SPLA command Council and carried out by the office of Deputy Chief of General Staff for Administration and shall be widely publicized and carried out in accordance with the rule and procedures. The wording of the provision, nothing is mentioned of taking 11 cows for who has refused to joint military service nor has there been an inference to payment of 1 goat or sheep and a tin of sorghum for who has accepted as his feeding during the training. Such practices are unhealthy for a country that strives for better future of its citizenry. South Sudan is a civilized Nation in terms of laws and its sovereignty. As such, our government should do something civilized as manifested lawfully but not lawlessness.
3. Eligibility for Enrollment (section 22 of SPLA Act, 2009). Under this section, any person willing to joint military service must be: A South Sudanese, 18 years and above, not exceeding 30 years, medically fit, has no criminal records. But contrary to forgoing provision, some are recruited below 18 years, no medical examination is being carried out to justify the fitness stipulated in the Act, some recruits might have been involved in criminal activities but, they are not identified out. It is against this law that we shall make a case against the Ministry of Defense to challenge this malicious, unlawful and uncivilized recruitment.
In light of the above, we are urging the government to stop this act of ultra vires on the ground as soon as possible otherwise, more damage to the citizen is imminent therein after.
Drawn & Filed by:
Gabriel Mading Apach,
Advocate & Legal Consultant,
Kush Advocates & Solicitors
Juba South Sudan