Who’s Responsible for the Delay of Implementation of Transitional Justice in South Sudan?

This news item contains, yet, a very significant updating communication related to why implementation of the 12 September 2018 Revitalized Agreement on Resolution of Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS) is stranded.

The writer, Beny Gideon Mabor, reveals the weaknesses of the political parties in the R-TGoNU, the stakeholders and the principle mediators: AU and UN. I encourage the readership of Ebony to pass it on for information purposes to the benefit the peace concerns.

Dr. Aldo Ajou Deng Akuey,
Juba, 14/12/2021

Who’s Responsible for the Delay of Implementation of Transitional Justice in South Sudan?

Today December 13 instant, the United  Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in collaboration with Human Rights Division of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan convened a three-day high-level conference on sustaining momentum for transitional justice in South Sudan. The meeting is ongoing at Sarova Hotel, Nairobi Kenya. I’m privileged once again to attend this high-level session on addressing critical matter of democratic reconstruction of South Sudan.
This conference is in response to the Human Rights Council Resolution  46/29  and 46/20 adopted in March 2021 and resolution 428 (LXV) of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights on the technical assistance and capacity building in the implementation of transitional justice.
The resolutions were meant to provide technical assistance and intellectual backstopping to the operationalization of transitional justice particularly assessing the level of cooperation by the Government of South Sudan and the international community to implement transitional justice processes. 
However, since the Revitalised Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan R-ARCISS 2018 came into force, the parties, other stakeholders and the international community have been struggling to implementat the R-ARCISS in general and the transitional justice in particular. This’s due to combined failure of the government and the international community to leave upto to its commitments by lack of political will to move the process forward and delay of financial and other technical assistance.
The United States government, for example ran out of patience and suspended the transfer of the pledged 5 million USD to the African Union Commission, which was meant to establish Hybrid Court for South Sudan, citing the failure of the both the African Union and the Government of South Sudan to reach consensus on who should do what, and when in the implementation of the transitional justice. 
As a reminder, the R-ARCISS is centerd on three main pillars for the benefits and welfare of the people: unification of  the rival security forces to have one unified  army that’s discipline, professional, and subordinate to the civilian authority; transitional justice mechanisms, that addresses legacies of the past human rights violations and guarantees of non-recurrence, and finally an inclusive constitutional making process that will transition people of South Sudan into elections.
In this case, it has become clear that there’s a serious misunderstanding between the African Union organs and the Government of South Sudan on the implementation of transitional justice as both institutions are doing zero-sum game on the implementation of transitional justice. 
Unfortunately until now as a real  surprise, the African Union Office of Legal Counsel still believe that the Government of South Sudan did not  and should sign the Memorandum of Understanding for the establishment of HCSS which they presented to the Government  of South Sudan in December 2017, while such arrangements is obsolete with the 2015 Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan, which was later on Revitalised into R-ARCISS 2018.
In conclusion, the ongoing high-level conference on sustaining momentum for transitional justice  should recommend clear line of communication and engagement strategy between the Revitalised Transitional Government of National Unity and the African Union organs to achieve the implementation of transitional justice. 
Beny Gideon Mabor, Esq 
Commissioner South Sudan Human Rights Commission 
Juba

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