*SOUTH SUDAN Salva and Riek in the dock / Africa Confidential Vol 57, nº 19*
Pressure is mounting on the government after well-documented accounts of murder, rape and theft Two detailed reports last week on corruption and rights abuses by the Juba government and its adversaries could reinvigorate the peace agreement signed over a year ago. An investigation by a United Nations Panel of Experts (PoE), still unpublished, is uncharacteristically forthright in its criticism, particularly of the government of President Salva Kiir Mayardit. Meanwhile, showing the link between corruption and conflict, the Sentry project released on 12 September is a no-holds-barred forensic audit of some of the assets of General Salva, former Vice-President Riek Machar Teny Dhurgon and a general from each of their factions of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A). These are Gen. Malek Ruben Riak, the SPLA-in-Government (SPLA-IG) Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics, in charge of military procurement; and Gen. Gabriel Jok Riak, an SPLA-in-Opposition (SPLA-IO) field commander already under UN sanctions (AC Vol 57 No 14, Cracks widen in peace deal). Forensic accountants for Sentry, co-founded by actor and activist George Clooney and United States former official John Prendergast, have spent a year following the money. Sentry argues that targeted financial sanctions can effectively pressure violent regimes (AC Vol 57 No 8, A last blast for sanctions). Salva's and Riek's officials are doing their best to disprove that, and in a rare show of unanimity both rubbished Sentry's findings in War Crimes Shouldn't Pay (thesentry.org/reports). International attempts to end South Sudan's cycle of violence focus on getting Juba to accept a 4,000-strong Regional Protection Force (AC Vol 57 No 15, Finally, the AU moves in & Vol 57 No 17, Pax Salvatica). Formed of African troops and mandated by the UN Security Council, the RPF would augment peacekeepers in the 12,000-strong UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS). On 2-5 September, the US Ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, led a delegation of ambassadors from the 15 UNSC member states to South Sudan. 'Council members came away feeling as if the situation was much worse than even we went in expecting', she said, complaining that UN movements were obstructed by the government. In Juba, the visitors and the government gave a joint statement where Salva appeared to accept the RPF and easing restrictions on peacekeeping and aid operations. Yet as soon as the team left, Information Minister Michael Makuei Lueth and others backtracked, claiming 'consent' didn't mean 'accept'. That prompted Power to warn that the Council would press for an arms embargo unless it saw 'concrete progress in the deployment' of the RPF and on freedom of movement for UNMISS. UN speaks out The PoE report blamed Salva's government's for much of the fighting in July, noting that 'the relatively large scale of the hostilities', which involved Mi-24 attack helicopters and ground forces reinforced by armoured units, 'supports the conclusion that the fighting was directed by the highest levels of the SPLA command structure'. It found that the 'arming of communities based on tribal affiliation continues to fuel widespread violence', while neither party, the SPLM-IG or the SPLM-IO, 'has demonstrated a willingness to maintain basic law and order'. It stressed that there was 'no evidence to suggest that more weapons are required in South Sudan for the government to achieve a stable security environment'. Rather, 'the continued influx of weapons contributes to spreading instability and the continuation of the conflict.' The Experts' report blames arms purchases for economic and physical damage: the 'economy has effectively collapsed as a direct result of government policies', which prioritised military spending over everything else, leading to inflation of over 600%. It adds that Juba has Czech-built L-39 military jets, possibly in breach of the European Union arms embargo. Britain, which backs a full UN arms embargo, also wants an enquiry into claims of EU sanctions-busting, say Whitehall sources. One of the PoE's most damaging findings is that statements by Salva Kiir, ministers such as Michael Makuei, and the Jieng (Dinka) Council of Elders, led by former Chief Justice Ambrose Riiny Thiik and Joshua Dau Diu, have 'consistently displayed hostility toward the UN and misrepresented its work and intentions'. This 'created a context in which attacks against UN personnel and facilities can be construed by some' as defending the government and national sovereignty. It also details how aid compounds and supplies were attacked in six states. Worst was the 11 July storming of the Terrain housing complex, when several aid workers were raped and others beaten. That, it said, 'represents a clear turning point in the level of brutality inflicted by South Sudanese soldiers on international humanitarian personnel'. Considering the 'degree of violence inflicted, the high number of armed actors who participated, the vast quantity of items stolen, and the systematic damage exacted on the sprawling compound', the Panel concluded that 'this attack was well coordinated and cannot be considered as an opportunistic act of violence and robbery.' Another UN team, appointed on 23 August by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrived in Juba on 9 September to investigate the Terrain attack and the peacekeepers' failure to respond to it and other sexual attacks. The team is to report on 8 October and is led by Major General Patrick Cammaert. The retired Dutch Marine showed, when leader of the UN force in Ethiopia and Eritrea in 2000-02 and as UN Force Commander in Congo-Kinshasa in 2006, that he was unafraid of speaking out (AC Vol 47 No 13, The vote that nobody wins). On 14 September, the UN Under-Secretary General for Peacekeeping Operations, Hervé Ladsous, urged the UNSC to consider an arms embargo, complaining that 'the threat of one has done little to deter the parties'. He called for additional targeted sanctions on those blocking the peace agreement to 'be enacted immediately', to end 'the never-ending cycle of devastating violence.' Curbing freedom Adding to the pressure, the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan, established by the UN Human Rights Commissioner in March, has just investigated in country. On 15 September, it listed five main concerns: 'The diminishing space for civil society which includes ongoing intimidation and harassment of its members'; constraints on media freedom and the 'continued intimidation and harassment of journalists and media houses'; Restrictions on UNMISS and aid workers which 'inhibits their ability to reach the most vulnerable in order to carry out their work'; rising 'sexual violence against women and girls perpetrated by armed men in uniform'; and 'impunity and lack of accountability for serious crimes as well as human rights violations'. -- To post to this group, send email to email@example.com To unsubscribe from this group, send email to southsudankob+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com Visit this group at https://groups.google.com/d/forum/southsudankob View this message at https://groups.google.com/d/msg/southsudankob/topic-id/message-id For more options, visit https://groups.google.com/d/optout --- You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "South Sudan Info - The Kob" group. 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