Lobby wants ICC to pursue South Sudan war crimes

Tuesday March 12 2019

children refugees south sudan

Children play at an IDP camp in Bor, South Sudan, on February 27, 2014. Over four million people have had to flee their homes, half of who were now internally displaced and the rest were in neighbouring countries as refugees. PHOTO | AFP 

JOHN ADUKATA
By JOHN ADUKATA
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The Human Rights Watch (HRW) wants the International Criminal Court (ICC) to pursue the war crimes committed in South Sudan by the various factions.

The lobby said it had documented persistent abuses despite the signing of the peace agreement last September.

The abuses, according to HRW, were committed mainly in parts of Western Bahr al-Ghazal, former Unity State and Central Equatoria.

“If no progress is made to establish the hybrid court, the International Criminal Court remains the global court of last resort and should be pursued,” the statement reads.

Preserve evidence

It also urged the Human Rights Council to renew and strengthen the mandate of the UN Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan and ensure it has enough resources to collect and preserve evidence of serious human rights violations and identify those responsible.

“This mandate is all the more important given continued abuses and the disappointing lack of progress in the establishment of the AU-South Sudanese hybrid court to investigate and try the most serious crimes,” HRW said.

Throughout the South Sudan civil war, now in its sixth year, the government and rebel forces have repeatedly committed grave crimes against civilians, including killings, destruction of property, unlawful detentions, torture, enforced disappearances, rape and sexual violence, according to the latest findings from HRW.

Military intelligence

Over four million people have had to flee their homes, half of who were now internally displaced and the rest were in neighbouring countries as refugees.

The UN Human Rights Commission on South Sudan, in its latest report, also documents emblematic incidents of violence against civilians in these locations, finding that both government and opposition forces committed what could constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The commission’s report identified the commanders who may bear responsibility for the crimes in a confidential dossier.

The powerful and draconian national security and military intelligence, which have arbitrarily detained, tortured and enforced disappearances, were also highlighted in the report.

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