On 11 July 2016, at the end of four days of fighting between government and opposition forces in the South Sudanese capital, Juba, government soldiers stormed the Terrain ‘Hotel’, a residential compound that was home to South Sudanese and East African and Western expatriates. There they began a violent rampage of systematic looting, rape, gang rape, and abuse—including one killing—of the civilians sheltering in the compound.
The Government of the Republic of South Sudan (GRSS) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) subsequently initiated a court martial to hold per-petrators of the attack accountable. The trial and convictions that followed marked a rare example of SPLA soldiers being held to account for crimes committed against civilians in the context of war. An examination of the court martial and the events surrounding it provides some insight into the dynamics of the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) government since the civil war resumed in July 2016, and reveals a degree of judicial capacity and political will within the government to hold its uni-formed soldiers accountable for violence against civilians, with direct implications for the country’s present transitional phase towards peace.