*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Experts (PoE), still unpublished, is uncharacteristically forthright in its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

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

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

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'.

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