South Sudan

Human Rights Commission promises justice for crimes committed in South Sudanese civil war

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ZENEBE TEKLEWOLD

Victims of human rights violations and abuses committed during the South Sudanese civil war should not lose hope that the perpetrators will be held accountable, says the chair of the Human Rights Commission in South Sudan, Yasmin Sooka.

Members of the Human Rights Commission are on a fact-finding mission to Wau in the north-west of the country to collect and preserve evidence and service the hybrid court when it is established as well as other transitional justice mechanisms. They are also engaging with local communities to understand the current security situation and their experiences since conflict broke out in the country in 2013.

Yasmin Sooka acknowledged the frustration of communities who want justice for crimes committed against them.

“This will take a long time but do not lose hope because what we are going to try and make sure the voices of people are heard by the international community,” said Yasmin Sooka.

In the short-term, findings will be shared with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan and the international community.

Yasmin Sooka urged people to come forward and share information about their experience with the Commission’s investigative team or with UNMISS’ Human Rights Division.

The Chair of the Commission met with the Wau Governor, community leaders at a camp for internally displaced people in the town as well as those living at the UN protected site next to its base.

Fellow Commissioner Andrew Clapham undertook a similar mission to Akobo and will then visit refugee camps in Uganda and Ethiopia.

The Commission is an independent body mandated by the UN Human Rights Council to determine and report the facts and circumstances of alleged gross violations and abuses of human rights. It has 16 people on the ground in South Sudan.