South Sudan

Transitional justice and accountability: a roadmap for sustainable peace in South Sudan - Conference room paper of the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan (A/HRC/45/CRP.4)

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Human Rights Council
Forty-fifth session
14 September7 October 2020
Agenda item 4 Human rights situations that require the Council’s attention

Summary

Chapter V of the Revitalised Agreement on Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan provides a pathway to building sustainable peace based on the recognition that it can only be achieved through accountability for serious international crimes, truth recovery about the past violations and the underlying structural causes of political violence, as well as the restoration of dignity to South Sudanese citizens. Chapter V envisages a holistic set of complementary mechanisms for this purpose, namely, the Hybrid Court for South Sudan, the Commission on Truth, Reconciliation, and Healing, and the Compensation and Reparation Authority. These measures were designed by the African Union as appropriate to an African and South Sudanese context.

Yet, more than two years since the signing of the Revitalised Agreement on Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan, there has been no concrete progress in realising any accountability, national healing, or reconciliation in South Sudan. Persistent political contestation between parties to the peace agreement has resulted in significant delays in implementation of key measures.

Instead, the failure to address underlying causes of the 2013 conflict has fuelled the political competition for South Sudan’s resources and corruption between political elites driving ethnic divisions and violence, and deepening impunity in the country. Political violence is spiralling out of control at the inter-communal level but driven by national actors who arm ethnic militias and paramilitary groups with military grade weapons using the ostensible cover of cattle-raiding, which in turn leads to reprisals and revenge killings – all under the cover and control of parties to the conflict in South Sudan.

Conflict in South Sudan should no longer be an option if millions of South Sudanese are to achieve their dream of freedom and a life of dignity. It is only the timely implementation of an inclusive and holistic transitional justice process envisioned in Chapter V that can achieve this.