October 10, 2021 (JUBA) – South Sudan’s Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (R-TGoNU) and the African Union Commission (AUC) should demonstrate political will and allocate adequate funding for establishment of the country’s transitional justice mechanisms, a group of experts said.
The call emerged at the end of a multi-stakeholders’ workshop organized in the capital, Juba on the theme, ‘Perspectives of South Sudanese Citizens on Transitional Justice Mechanisms last week.
On the 30 January 2021, the government of South Sudan finally agreed to form the Hybrid Court, as stipulated in the 2015 Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (ARCSS) and the 2018 Revitalized ARCSS. The court was one of the mechanisms proposed to deal with past abuses committed during more than six years of conflict in the country, alongside the Commission for Truth, Healing and Reconciliation (CTHR), and the Compensation and Reparations Authority (CRA).
The various stakeholders lauded the R-TGONU for the steps taken towards implementation of Chapter V of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (R-ACRSS) and the critical role of the Technical Committee on the establishment of the CTHR in steering up the process towards enactment of the legislation for establishment of the Commission.
Chapter V of the peace agreement calls for establishing a Hybrid Court, the CTRH and the CRA for transitional justice, accountability, reconciliation and healing institutions for sustainable peace.
The various stakeholders, however, called for fast tracking of the signing of the memorandum of understanding and enactment of legislation on establishment of the Hybrid Court, CTRH and the CRA.
Mary Ayen Majok, the deputy speaker of South Sudan Council of States, said the process of establishing traditional justice mechanism for South Sudan should be inclusive and meaningful.
“Citizens should be informed about what is being discussed at this stakeholder’s workshop since it outcomes affect them,” she said.
Beny Gideon, South Sudan Human Rights Commission (SSHRC) official said the aim of the transitional justice mechanism is to restore justice, peace as well as reconciliation in the country.
“As stakeholders in this process, we should look at available literature, review existing frameworks that can contribute to the implementation of the transition justice mechanisms,” he stressed.
Beny called for an inclusive transitional justice mechanism process.
For his part, however, Solomon A. Dersso from the AUC, said circumstances that gave rise to Chapter V of the September 2018 peace accord originated from governance crisis in the country.
“Chapter V of the peace agreement is more about the people of South Sudan and not the ruling elites of the country,” he stressed.
The AUC official said the essence of transitional justice mechanisms be expanded to include, freedom, justice and equity, taking into consideration institutional and policy reforms in the young nation.
Concerns were also raised on the violent conflicts in the country amidst floods, the COVID-19 pandemic, economic crisis, intra and inter-communal fighting that have continued to cause displacement, poverty, land disputes, illiteracy, loss of lives and properties, sexual violence against women, men, boys and girls.
“We call on the government to ensure a gender sensitive approach to establishing and implementation of the Transitional Justice Mechanisms as key in addressing violations and abuses including conflict related sexual violence against women, men, girls and boys. Women should be a major force in decision making of Chapter V,” partly reads a statement issued at the end of the workshop.
There were also calls for the AU, regional bloc (IGAD), TROIKA, United Nations, international non-governmental organizations and development partners, including TrustAfrica to remain engaged and provide support in the implementation of Chapter V as key to sustainable peace, development and protection of fundamental rights.
Supported by TrustAfrica in collaboration with the AUC and the Centre for Inclusive Governance Peace and Justice (CIGPJ), the event attracted South Sudanese academia, politicians, government officials, civil society, women leaders, youth groups, faith-based leaders and experts from several African countries.