Human rights groups call for establishment of Hybrid Court in South Sudan
UN peacekeeper keeps watch inside a Protection of Civilians sites, in
Juba as a UN Security Council delegation meets with the IDPs on 3
September 2016 (UNMISS Photo)
October 14, 2016 (JUBA) – International human rights bodies have
called for establishment of a Hybrid Court in the war-ravaged South
Sudan in accordance with the August 2015 peace deal and the resolution
of the African Union, saying the ongoing fighting in the new country
should not be used as an excuse to delay trials for those who have
committed war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Amnesty International and the International Federation for Human
Rights (FIDH) in a joint briefing on Thursday, said continued fighting
in South Sudan which erupted again on 8 July must not derail justice
for crimes committed during the deadly conflict that began in December
The organizations are calling on the African Union (AU) Commission and
the South Sudan government to urgently establish the proposed Hybrid
Court for South Sudan (HCSS).
“Thousands have been killed, women raped, entire villages destroyed,
and humanitarian personnel attacked. But as world attention has
focused on ending the fighting, accountability for violations that
could amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity has been put on
the back burner,” said Netsanet Belay, Amnesty International’s Africa
Director for Research and Advocacy, in a statement extended to Sudan
Tribune on Thursday.
“Justice must not be delayed any further. Fresh violations should give
added impetus to efforts to form the Hybrid Court,” the statement
The peace agreement signed by both parties in August 2015 provides for
the formation of the court to investigate and prosecute those bearing
criminal responsibility for the atrocities, but little progress has
been made towards setting it up.
They said the Hybrid Court – which will combine elements of both
domestic and international law and be composed of personnel from South
Sudan and abroad – currently represents the most viable option for
ensuring accountability for crimes committed during the conflict, as
well as for deterring further abuses.
In the briefing, the organizations make 17 recommendations to ensure
the court effectively achieves accountability in accordance with
international fair trial standards. The recommended priorities
include: “Establishing an investigative branch to ensure evidence is
collected and preserved in an appropriate manner; Establishing an
independent victims and witness protection unit; Ensuring that
victims’ rights to participate in the proceedings are guaranteed, the
inclusion of South Sudanese judges and staff on the court and
exclusion of the death penalty as a possible sentence.”
The human rights bodies also recommended that if security concerns
prevent the court from being based in South Sudan, it should at least
be located within the region.
They said the crimes should not go unpunished, adding that bringing
the criminals to justice will help in ensuring sustainable peace in
“Atrocities endured by civilians in South Sudan, which the African
Union has documented, must not go unpunished. The establishment of the
Hybrid Court is necessary, not only to address human rights violations
and abuses and crimes under international law, but also as a pillar to
achieving sustainable peace,” said Arnold Tsunga, FIDH Vice President.
“The AU should build on its experience of the recent trial of former
Chadian President Hissène Habré in Senegal to set up the Hybrid Court
for South Sudan,” the statement said.
South Sudan became an independent country on 9 July 2011 after decades
of war, lengthy negotiations and a referendum to secede from Sudan.
Two and a half years later, in December 2013, armed conflict broke out
between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and those allied to his
deputy, Riek Machar.
In August 2015, the two parties agreed a peace deal and later formed a
transitional unity government with President Kiir at the helm and
Machar as first of his two deputies.
Renewed fighting broke out on 8 July, 2016, with heavy clashes in the
capital, Juba, and other parts of the country. Machar has since been
replaced as First Vice President and fled the country after his
residence was attacked.
About 2.6 million South Sudanese have fled their homes since the
outbreak of fighting in 2013, with some 1.6 million internally
displaced and another one million living as refugees in neighbouring
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The Sudan Tribune editorial team.
15 October 06:55, by Tilo
AU, Human right watch, UN/SC and the international community at
large, you always make allot of noise in your report in the media but
nothing happened yet.... Days has gone, Weeks has passed, Months have
come and a year is approaching. All we can here is bla, bla, bla, bla
Why can’t you just get the job done and put all the criminal behind bar.
Action speaks louder the words
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