The Peace Agreement included a national consultation process on establishing the Commission on Truth, Reconciliation and Healing.
GENEVA, Switzerland, September 26, 2022 – The international community urgently needs to pay more attention to the escalating violence proliferating at a local level all over South Sudan, warned United Nations-appointed human rights experts during a visit to New York which concluded yesterday.
“In meetings with United Nations officials here, we tried to get across the message that it is critical donors and member states continue to monitor the peace agreement, security sector reform and ensure constitutional legislation is pushed through before elections,” said Yasmin Sooka, Chairperson of the UN Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan. “Without these steps, we are likely to see millions more South Sudanese displaced or crossing borders, creating havoc for neighbouring countries and aid agencies,” she added.
On 4 August 2022, parties to the 2018 Revitalized Peace Agreement for South Sudan signed on to a further two-year extension of the transitional governance arrangements, postponing elections until late 2024. As of now, the shape of the electoral system remains undefined. Additionally, elections require a conducive environment, but South Sudanese who have questioned the government or exposed atrocities have received death threats, been detained or tortured, with the political space shrinking.
The Peace Agreement included a national consultation process on establishing the Commission on Truth, Reconciliation and Healing. Consultations were held in mid-2022 but excluded millions of refugees who had fled fearing for their lives, along with large portions of the country, including those areas under opposition control.
Indeed, after four years, none of the three proposed transitional justice bodies have come into being – the Commission on Truth, Reconciliation and Healing, the Hybrid Court or the Compensation and Reparation Authority.
“You cannot exclude large numbers of people who have suffered from having a say in the future justice system. Nor can you cherry-pick between the different transitional justice bodies – they all have to work together to bring closure to the people of South Sudan,” said Commissioner Barney Afako.
“In the meantime, the Government must make available interim reparations to survivors whose lives are shattered,” he added.
While in New York, the Commissioners also spoke at a Global Survivors Forum hosted by Nobel Peace Prize winners Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad, which examined best practice for reparations for sexual violence.
“Survivors in South Sudan, particularly those of repeated incidents of sexual violence, tell us again and again that criminal accountability is the only way to guarantee their safety and peace for the country,” said Commissioner Andrew Clapham. “That’s why setting up the Hybrid Court is non-negotiable.”
In Juba and with the acceptance of the 24 month extension of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS) by endorsement of the Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluating Commission (R-JMEC) today. The continued and prolonged transitional period is continuing.
In South Sudan they will not have elected leadership or stakeholders, which are representatives of the people. No, they will continue to have people who fought and warlords to control the political arena. They will continue to use force and direct orders from the President. The Presidential Decrees will matter more than legislation or any of the other entities of the state.
President Salva Kiir Mayardit have been the leader and the head of state practically since the later General John Garang died in a helicopter crash in 2005. This means that the Head of State and the leader of Sudan People’s Liberation Army/Movement (SPLM/A) has had total control for 17 years.
This extension of this Revitalized-Transitional Government of National Unity (R-TGoNU) gives Kiir no reason to move or adjust. He has already traded the petroleum futures and could do that in the future too. His people can live lavish of the state structure and the lack of institutions. They don’t mind the lack of governance or implementation of the R-ARCSS.
President Kiir is getting all the perks and only have to find ways to corrupt the leaders around him. This being the Opposition or the rebels in-and-around him. Just to get them involved and give them meaningless titles to incorporate them in his system. That’s why there is so many Vice President and a delegated amount of cabinet members. While there is also appointed representatives for the Transitional National Legislative Assembly (TNLA). Therefore, he has the people around him and they need him on the top to get this positions. It is all bound by him and not by the will of the people.
That’s why Kiir don’t want to have an election. Neither will his state be really transparent or prepared for any election. President Kiir will pursuit the end-game of never being elected. He would dream of the Eritrean example of Isaias Afwerki, which was never elected after independence of the Republic of Eritrea.
President Kiir also is following the transitional period, which his neighbour Museveni enjoyed between 1986 to his long reform to create a new Constitution, which came into effect by 1995. After that he had a “no party” and a “movement election” in 1996, which he repeated in 2001 and only after two referendums he had to hold the first one in 2006. With that in mind, you can see how long he held his system and all in his ranks until he opened up for more in Uganda.
That’s why President Kiir could try either of these. Especially, when his seeking allies outside of the Troika and getting deals to ensure profitability of the petroleum dollars entering the Republic. This is the most important source of income and what keeps his government alive. Therefore, he will strive for that and ensure enough peace to secure the exports are going.
The R-ARCSS has already had several of deadlines to be implemented, but it haven’t happened. No, it has just been postponed and gotten an extension. This is like the second or the third at this point of time. That’s why I doubt that Kiir will fulfil or even try to finish it. He prefers living in transition and now have to honour legislation or any sort of electoral law. Because, then he would be accountable and transparent…
President Kiir would not jeopardize this and that’s why this has been done this way. Him as a President will continue in power and nothing will ever challenge that. I cannot see him even finishing the implementation of the R-ARCSS within the new artificial deadline. Because, there is no real incentive for him to do so.
Why would he finish the transitional period, if that means the people would have someone else? Why would he make institutions and give them a mandate, if that takes away his powers?
Well, your guess is as good as mine. Peace.