South Sudan is one of just two countries in sub-Saharan Africa known to have carried out executions in 2017, going against a clear trend by other countries in the region to move forward towards abolishing the death penalty, Amnesty International's Global Report on Death Sentences and Executions 2017 revealed.
South Sudan carried out four executions in 2017, two of those who were put to death having been juveniles at the time of the commission of the crime, in flagrant violation of international law. The other country that executed people in sub-Saharan Africa is Somalia, which carried out 24 executions in the same period.
"With governments in the region continuing to take steps to reduce and repeal the death penalty well into 2018, the isolation of the remaining executing countries could not be starker. Now that 20 countries in sub-Saharan Africa have abolished the death penalty for all crimes, it is high time that the rest follow their lead and consign this abhorrent punishment to the history books," said Amnesty International's Secretary General Salil Shetty.
South Sudan continues to hand down death sentences and execute people. In February 2018, two men were sentenced to death - James Gadet, former SPLM-IO Spokesperson, and South African William Endley, a former advisor to rebel leader, Riek Machar.
Amnesty International calls on the South Sudan Government to immediately establish an official moratorium on executions, and quash the convictions of Gadet and Endley and grant them a new trial that meets international fair trial standards.
Amnesty International's Global Report on Death Sentences and Executions 2017 finds that sub-Saharan Africa is a 'beacon of hope', having made positive steps towards abolishing the death penalty.