South Sudanese Court to Give “final verdict” in Case of Missionary Nun Murdered in 2016

Late Sr. Veronica Rackova. Credit: CRN

A High Court in South Sudan’s capital city, Juba, is expected to give the final verdict on the murder of Sr. Veronica Rackova on October 24, the Catholic Radio Network (CRN) reported on Thursday, October 12.

Sr. Veronica, a native of Slovakia, who had pioneered the Missionary Sisters Servants of the Holy Spirit (SSpS) mission in South Sudan’s Yei Diocese since 2010 died at Kenya’s Nairobi Hospital on 20 May 2016 after she was attacked and shot several times by a group of soldiers.

In the CRN report, Fr. Emmanuel Lodongo, who stands as the complainant on behalf of Yei Diocese is quoted as saying, “The lawyers on both sides have submitted their findings to the Judge at the high court.”

“The information collected during this process is expected to help the court judge, Nicholas Makuach Bol and his team, to make their verdict,” the Juba-based Catholic entity has reported.

The CRN report further indicates that “one accused among the six suspects appeared in Court at Kator and was cross-examined by Judge, Justice Nicholas Makuach Bol.”


“The accused refuted all allegations put against him as being the mastermind in command that led to the killing of the Catholic Sister,” the report adds.

Sr. Veronica reportedly succumbed to gunshot wounds on her hip and abdomen that she suffered when the St. Bakhita Health Center Ambulance she was driving came under attack from armed soldiers.

The Slovak SSpS medical doctor with specialization in tropical diseases was returning to the convent after having taken a patient to Harvest Hospital in Yei when the 15 May 2016 midnight attack happened.

After undergoing two surgeries at the Hospital for Women and Children in Yei, Sr. Veronica, who was 58 at the time was airlifted to Nairobi the following day for specialized treatment.

Three suspected Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) Soldiers were reportedly arrested in connection with the attack on the missionary Nun.

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In South Sudan, Sr. Veronica had “served in various capacities as SSpS community leader, medical doctor and Director of St Bakhita Health Center, Yei,” a 25 May 2016 report by the SSpS Communication Office indicates.

“Sr. Veronika was a committed, generous and joyful missionary,” the Communication team of SSpS leadership reported, adding, “Her death is an irreparable loss for us, for her family and for the people she served especially in Yei.”

“It is our hope and prayer that the self-giving of Sr. Veronika will herald a new beginning for peace and reconciliation in South Sudan,” SSpS leadership implored.

Her remains were flown from Nairobi to South Sudan’s Yei Diocese on 27 May 2016 where she was laid to rest.

The first court hearing for late Sr. Veronika started on 10 January 2022 at South Sudan’s High Court in Juba; it was presided over by Judge Sumeiya Salah.


For the second court hearing, a 26 January 2022 CRN report indicated that “the mobility to bring the alleged perpetrators from Yei was not done on time, which made it unsuccessful for the suspects to appear before the court.”

At the fifth death anniversary of Sr. Veronica, in May 2021, the then Local Ordinary of Yei Diocese thanked the lawyers involved in the case for “trying their best” to trace witnesses.

“We are happy with lawyers who are trying their best (in) our civil court here in Yei to see where the witnesses may be and those others who might have pointed the gun at Sister, to the point of even killing her,” Bishop Erkolano Lodu Tombe said on 20 May 2021.

Bishop Tombe added, “We are in touch with the lawyers who are following the case. It will take long as you know legal issues take many years, but we hope it will not be so long unless it is politicized.”

The South Sudanese Catholic Bishop underscored the need for justice, saying the Church “cannot allow injustice to continue to destroy the world and so the case of Sister Veronica which is ongoing, is going too long but legal procedures are like that and we are to follow it until we get justice before the court.” 

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At the sixth death anniversary of Sr. Veronica, a SSpS member serving in South Sudan urged authorities in the country to work toward delivering justice for her murdered Sister.

“We continue to pray for justice for Sister Veronica … We are still waiting for whatever decision the government will take on the murder of the Sister,” Sr. Beni Gilda said on 16 May 2022, and added, “I ask all of us here in Yei to be courageous despite the situation.”

Kerbino Kuel Deng is a South Sudanese journalist who is passionate about Church communication. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.