The Importance of Accountability in South Sudan

Originally Posted on June 17, 2017

Aldo Ajou Deng Akuey

Following the Intergovernmental Authority for Development, IGAD, 31st Extra-Ordinary Summit, chaired by Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn of Ethiopia and heavily attended by Presidents and heads of Governments of the member states; on the Revitalisation of the 2015 Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan, ARCSS; held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on 12 June 2017; the Summit considered and recommended nineteen administrative measures to push forward the implementation of the said agreement. Understanding Chapter V of the ARCSS, one can, obligatory, agree with John concerns over the rule of law in this country. Rule of law does not mean rule by law. It means that no citizen could be above the law in a pledged secular, liberal and democratic country like South Sudan. What happened with the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement, CPA, between Sudan-Khartoum (National Congress Party, NCP) and Southern Sudan (Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, SPLM), should not be allowed to repeat itself again. With CPA, Khartoum could not account for war, humanitarian or crimes of genocide. With impunity, Khartoum went away with everything. The Transitional Government of National Unity, TGoNU should now make law and form the Hybrid Court of South Sudan.

It has to be recalled that the Transitional Justice, in the Chapter V of the 17 August 2015 ARCSS is a package that must be implemented together: Commission for Truth, Reconciliation and Healing, CTRH, Reparation Authority, National Dialogue and Reconciliation, NDR, the Accountability within the framework of the Hybrid Court of South Sudan, ceasefire and the emphatical inclusiveness of all the stakeholders in country. This package must be implemented in whole, without further delay. Among those recommendations is number 16, which states: “Decides to urgently convene a High-Level Revitalisation Forum of the parties to the ARCSS, including estranged groups, to discuss concrete measures to restore permanent ceasefire to full implementation of the Peace Agreement and to develop a revised and realistic timeline and implementation schedule towards a democratic elections at the end of the transition period; mandates the IGAD Council of Ministers to urgently convene and facilitate this forum in collaboration with relevant stakeholders; and directs the Chairperson of JMEC and the Executive Secretary of IGAD to provide the necessary secretariat and logistical arrangements.”

This is the main and very important decision that may open the implementation trajectory to retrieve the ARCSS from collapsing and disappearing into bewilderness of anarchical chaos. Hopefully the proposed forum is expected to succeed by enforcing ceasefire, National Dialogue and Reconciliation, Commission for Truth, Reconciliation and Healing, CTRH, Hybrid Court for South Sudan, HCSS, and Compensation and Reparation Authority, CRA.

Writing for Just*Security Electronic International News, Mr. John Hursh wrote the best article ever, advocating peace and justice for South Sudan, regretting the massive insecurity and humanitarian plight, that have displaced more than five millions citizens from their homes, internally and externally. John agreed with regional leaders’ efforts to move the  agreement a stage ahead from its present stagnant.

But, John reminds the IGAD, AU, UN and Troika (USA, UK and Norway), by stating that: “While the discussions centred on reaching a ceasefire and improving humanitarian assistance, political leaders missed an important opportunity to support the establishment of Hybrid Court for South Sudan, as required by the 2015 peace agreement. The Hybrid Court will combine elements of South Sudanese and international law and will include South Sudanese and international personnel. The call for the court came as a response to atrocities committed by both parties to the country’s civil war. Although a cessation of hostilities and improved humanitarian assistance are needed most urgently, regional leaders must also prioritize accountability for South Sudan so that it can achieve lasting peace and avoid another cycle of destabilising violence.”

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