By Khalifa Hemed
Published December 24, 2017
People responsible for the war against civilians in South Sudan must be brought to justice.
While calling for the perpetrators of … horrific acts to be brought to justice, the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan says “gross human rights violations continue to be committed in a widespread way by all parties to the conflict, in which civilians are bearing the brunt.”
“The Commission … remains gravely concerned over the lack of accountability for serious crimes which is fuelling impunity throughout the country,” states Commission Chairperson Yasmin Sooka. “Those responsible for this war against civilians must be stopped with the perpetrators of these horrific acts brought to justice.”
Professor Andrew Clapham, a member of the UN team of experts who spent 12 days in the conflict region (December 11-22, 2017), says, “We are deeply disturbed by what we witnessed and heard throughout our visit. The deprivation and range of sexual violence are hard to describe, people are targeted and suffering just for being who they are. The atrocities and violations are no longer just confined to a few parts of South Sudan; they are happening all across South Sudan.”
Sooka and Clapham say during their visit to South Sudan, eastern Ethiopia and northern Uganda, they ‘met with numerous victims of the conflict who shared harrowing accounts of indiscriminate attack, revenge killing, torture, abduction of women and children, forced displacement, looting and burning of homes and crops, starvation, rape and other forms of sexual violence’.
“The scarcity of food in many parts of the country is worrying, while incidents of rape and killing continue. The situation is really tragic,” says Professor Clapham.
“Sustainable peace is linked to ensuring that the provisions of Chapter Five of the Peace Agreement are implemented. The Hybrid Court and the Commission on Truth, Healing and Reconciliation must be established without further delay. Justice delayed is justice denied,” Sooka says.
The three-member Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan that comprises Yasmin Sooka of South Africa, Andrew Clapham of United Kingdom and Godfrey Musila of Kenya and is due to report to the UN Human Rights Council with its detailed findings in March 2018.