Tag Archives: Nuer v Dinka

South Sudan – Kiir denies turning army into “tribal institution”

Sudan Tribuneseparation

February 12, 2017 (JUBA)- South Sudan President Salva Kiir on Sunday dismissed charges that he and the SPLA chief of General Staff Paul Malong Awan have turned the national army into a tribal institution.

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President Salva Kiir speaks during the inauguration of the new SPLM premises in Juba on 15 November 2013 (Photo Moses Lomayat)

“There are people when they are with the government and in the army, appreciate the work of the SPLA but when they go, they say it is a tribal army. When has SPLA become my army and when it has become a tribal army,” asked president in a meeting on Sunday.

The president made the remarks on Sunday at his residence in which he met and held a usual informal meeting with some prominent members of the Jieng (Dinka) Council of Elders.

A deputy chief of South Sudan army, General Thomas Cirilo, on Friday 10 February resigned from the army and accused President Salva Kiir and military leadership of spearheading a tribal agenda.

Cirilo further accused the He the duo (Kiir and Awan) of “deliberately orchestrated planned violations” of the August 2015 peace agreement” which led to fighting in Juba in July last year. He also accused them of targeting non-Dinka tribes, pointing to the ongoing violence in the Equatoria and Upper Nile regions.

The head of state attributed the dominance of his ethnic group to lack of people wanting to join military, citing the 2012 national mobilization when the army wanted recruits.

“When people are not ready to join the army and others accepted to volunteer, is it me or the chief of general staff who stopped them from joining”, asked Kiir. “If some people want to go, they are free to go but they should not make claims which are not true”.

Kiir said he was not surprised about people leaving the SPLA (Sudan People’s Liberation Army) because it was allegedly not the first time it was being left. “How many times have people left the SPLA and did the same people not come back,” asked president?


UN accused of giving arms to South Sudanese rebel commander before massacre

Washington Post

December 15 at 4:03 PM
The U.N. mission in South Sudan gave weapons to a top rebel general just weeks after civil war began three years ago, and his forces went on to carry out one of the war’s worst atrocities, according to a report released Thursday.

The Small Arms Survey, a ­Geneva-based research group, found that in December 2013
U.N. officials in the town of Bentiu in northern Unity state handed dozens of weapons, as well as ammunition, to rebel general James Koang.

Four months later, Koang’s troops killed hundreds of civilians sheltering in a mosque and a hospital in Bentiu, according to the United Nations and human rights groups. Koang has said in interviews that those killed were not civilians but members of a pro-government militia. The report did not say whether the weapons given by the United Nations were used in the massacre.

U.N. officials in South Sudan and New York did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment on the allegations.

South Sudan’s war, which entered its fourth year Thursday, has pitted soldiers loyal to President Salva Kiir, an ethnic Dinka, against those backing the former vice president, Riek Machar, a Nuer. Tens of thousands of people have died in battles that have played out along ethnic lines, and U.N. officials and human rights groups have accused both sides of committing crimes against humanity. A top U.N. human rights official recently warned that the country is on the verge of “all-out ethnic civil war” that could result in genocide.

U.N. warned of possible ‘all-out ethnic civil war’ in South Sudan

Members of the UN Human Rights Council were warned on Dec. 14, that inter-ethnic violence in South Sudan could degenerate into a “Rwanda-like” genocide. (UNTV)

The United Nations established a peacekeeping mission in South Sudan in 2011 that has grown to more than 13,000 soldiers and police officers.

Throughout the war, the U.N. mission has found itself caught in the crossfire, accused by each side of supporting the other, with U.N. bases at times coming under attack. U.N. investigations, aid groups and research groups have accused the U.N. mission of failing to adequately protect civilians, including people on and near its bases.

According to the new report, U.N. officials in South Sudan said in interviews that they gave about 80 assault rifles, five machine guns, grenades and ammunition to Koang. At the time, U.N. officials in Bentiu reported to the mission’s headquarters in Juba that there had been a transfer of 40 rifles, the report said. It quoted an unidentified rebel, meanwhile, as saying they received 500 guns from the United Nations.

The weapons came from soldiers and civilians who fled to the U.N. base in Bentiu for protection during the fighting and handed over their weapons to peacekeepers, according to the report.

Koang, a soft-spoken Nuer who was the top government military official in Bentiu when the war began, quickly defected and took control of Bentiu. He asked the United Nations to give him the guns, according to the report. U.N. officials complied, apparently because they considered the general a friend, the report said.

“When [James] Koang took power, we all knew him,” said one unidentified official from the U.N. mission in South Sudan who was quoted in the report. “The majority of the opposition leaders in Bentiu had been our usual interlocutors. We had even trained them.”

The report said that U.N. officials in Bentiu asked their bosses in the capital for guidance on the matter but none came, so they made their own decision. A subsequent request by Koang for more weapons was turned down, it said.

The United Nations and the U.S. government have imposed sanctions on Koang, with the U.S. Treasury Department saying that his rebels had “targeted civilians, including women and children, with killing, sexual violence and attacks on schools, hospitals, religious sites, and locations where civilians were seeking refuge.”

Meanwhile, the chief of the U.N. mission in South Sudan at the start of the war, Hilde Johnson, tried to give the government in Juba weapons that had been collected from Nuer who had fled to a U.N. base there after government soldiers went door-to-door executing Nuer citizens, according to the report.

The U.N. Department of Peacekeeping Operations in New York overruled Johnson, the report said, citing a cable sent to her from the headquarters. After Johnson stepped down in July 2014, her successor destroyed the weapons, the report said.

The Small Arms Survey report said the episodes reveal how the U.N. mission, known as UNMISS, struggled to maintain unified command and control and to understand that the South Sudanese officials on both sides who they had worked with before the crisis were now liable to commit atrocities.

The two cases show that ­“UNMISS failed to adapt quickly enough to the changed circumstances provoked by the conflict, and that it lacked neutrality,” the report said. “Both issues also show that the conflict triggered divisions within UNMISS” over which forces to support.

The South Sudan government still accuses the U.N. mission of supporting the rebels, in part because some 200,000 mostly Nuer people are staying at U.N. bases for fear of attack by government forces. The government has not presented evidence to back such accusations. People on the bases are also critical of U.N. peacekeepers, accusing them of standing by or running away when Kiir’s troops have sprayed bullets inside.

UN warns over ethnic cleansing in South Sudan

Al Jazeera

Fighting between government and rebels has seen deliberate starvation, gang rape, and the burning of villages.

A UN commission on human rights in South Sudan has said a steady process of ethnic cleansing is under way in the country, involving massacres, starvation, gang rape and the destruction of villages.

On Wednesday, three commission members who had travelled around South Sudan for 10 days said they observed deepening divisions in a country with 64 ethnic groups.

“There is already a steady process of ethnic cleansing under way in several areas of South Sudan using starvation, gang rape and the burning of villages,” commission chairwoman Yasmin Sooka told a press conference.

“The stage is being set for a repeat of what happened in Rwanda and the international community is under an obligation to prevent it.”

The alleged ethnic cleansing comes after almost three years of fighting between government forces, rebel troops and allied militias. A political split between President Salva Kiir and his former deputy Riek Machar escalated into a military conflict in December 2013.

The conflict – which has killed tens of thousands, caused widespread hunger and forced three million people from their homes – has pitted Kiir’s Dinka ethnic group against Machar’s Nuer ethnic group and other groups suspected of supporting the rebels.

“You have so many different groups of armed actors, including the military who are talking about dealing with a rebellion and putting it down,” Sooka told Al Jazeera in a separate interview.

“You have ethnic tensions because people have been displaced from their land based on ethnicity. Everybody believes that a military conflict is almost inevitable in different parts of the country.”

Adama Dieng, UN special advisor on the prevention of genocide, has called on the Security Council to impose an arms embargo to prevent the ethnic violence from escalating into full-on genocide.

In the northern Upper Nile region, the commission “heard numerous accounts of corpses being found along the main roads,” the UN’s Godfrey Musila said.

The ethnic attacks have spread even to the southern Equatoria region, which had not experienced much violence until now, he said.

“The commissioner said that armed conflict could be averted if targeted sanctions, arms embargo and a hybrid court is set up to hold those accountable for crimes committed,” Al Jazeera’s Hiba Morgan said, reporting from Juba.

“The UN Security Council is expected to vote on targeted sanctions and an arms embargo this week, but the hybrid court… seems far from becoming a reality.”

South Sudan’s rebel leader Riek Machar’s fighters have battled those loyal to the president [File: Goran Tomasevic/Reuters]

Separately, the UN humanitarian coordinator for South Sudan said he was “deeply concerned” about bureaucratic impediments and access constraints to humanitarian agencies trying to help people in need.

The statement said 91 such incidents had been recorded in November alone.

“Humanitarian organisations in South Sudan are striving every day to save lives and alleviate suffering across this country,” humanitarian coordinator Eugene Owusu said. “Yet, they continue to face obstacles and challenges which hamper their efforts.”

‘Potential for genocide’

The United States on Wednesday also warned of escalating violence.

“We have credible information that the South Sudanese government is currently targeting civilians in Central Equatoria and preparing for large scale attacks in the coming days or weeks,” Keith Harper, the US representative at the UN Human Rights Council, said in Geneva.

“In the last two weeks, the government has mobilised at least 4,000 militia from other areas of South Sudan and is staging these fighters in Equatoria to begin conducting attacks,” Harper said.

Earlier this month the UN’s Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng, told the Security Council there was a risk of “outright ethnic war” and the “potential for genocide”.

The UN rights experts are expected to publish a report on their findings in March.

Source: Al Jazeera News and Agencies

African Union alleges mass atrocities including rape and force cannibalism in South Sudan


library picture: former rebels patrol streets of Malakal 12/01/2014AFP The AU report details horrific crimes said to have been committed by both sides of the conflict
The African Union (AU) has accused government and rebel forces in South Sudan of extreme violence since the conflict erupted at the end of 2013.

A commission of inquiry found evidence of killings, torture, mutilations and rape, mostly against civilians, as well as episodes of forced cannibalism.

However, it specified that genocide had not been committed during the conflict.

Tensions remain, with a peace deal agreed between the government and rebels in August repeatedly broken.

Tens of thousands of people have died and another two million people have been forced from their homes since the civil war began nearly two years ago.

In its report, the AU said the commission, formed last year under the chairmanship of Nigeria’s ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo, had identified perpetrators of violence from both sides.

It documented details of brutal killings, abductions of woman and sexual violence among other abuses, mostly committed against civilians who were not taking part in the fighting.

‘Drinking blood’

“The commission believes that war crimes were committed in Juba, Bor, Bentiu and Malakal,” the report said in reference to the key conflict towns.

Some witnesses in the capital, Juba, told commission members that they had seen people forced to drink the blood and eat the flesh of people who had just been killed.

They spoke of seeing the perpetrators “draining human blood from people who had just been killed and forcing others from one ethnic community to drink the blood or eat burnt human flesh”.

The report also said that mass graves had been discovered by AU investigators.

The commission is urging an internationally backed, African-led court to bring to justice those responsible for the violence.

Despite the seeming ethnic nature of the conflict, the commission said it found no reasonable evidence to prove that genocide had been committed.

‘Limited violations’

Those who committed the atrocities detailed in the report should be brought to justice, presidential spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny told BBC News.

Ateny Wek Ateny, press secretary to South Sudan President Salva Kiir.AFP

The United Nations has already accused the government and rebel fighters of atrocities and crimes against humanity, and says the situation has only worsened since a peace deal was signed in August.

The conflict was triggered by a political power struggle in December 2013 between President Salva Kiir, an ethnic Dinka, and his rival and former Vice-President Riek Machar, a Nuer.

But it quickly took on a bloody, multi-ethnic dimension right across the country.

The AU report seemed to dismiss claims that there had been a coup attempt by Mr Machar, instead finding that the unrest began after government-organised killings of ethnic Nuer civilians and soldiers.

South Sudan denies executing Nuer officers

Sudan Tribune

October 15, 2014 (JUBA) – The South Sudanese government has vehemently denied reports alleging that some of its soldiers of Nuer ethnicity were separated and killed in cold blood in various places in Upper Nile state.

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Soldiers from the South Sudanese army (SPLA) patrol the streets of Jonglei state capital Bor (Photo: Reuters)

“These are some of the reports we say the media should investigate thoroughly because they are not just dangerous propaganda, but they tend to incite suspicion and confusion with the rank of our forces, which is what the rebels wants to achieve,” Upper Nile’s deputy governor, Awer Dau, told Sudan Tribune in an exclusive interview on Wednesday.

“This is unacceptable and cannot be allowed to continue like that,” he added.

Dau said the allegation were indicative of a strategy to spread propaganda and cause “unnecessary friction and suspicion in the army”.

“I want to say there is no truth is what is reported. It is just another strategy and propaganda by the rebels of Riek Machar,” he said.

“I am not aware of any SPLA (South Sudanese army) soldiers, let alone officers with the rank of brigadier general, killed in Paloich. Not even a single comrade has been sick in either Baliet or Anakdiar,” said Dau, who hails from the region where the alleged killings are said to have taken place.

Meanwhile, SPLA spokesperson Colonel Philip Aguer has denied any knowledge of the allegations.

Upper Nile state’s minister of information, Peter Hoth Tuach, described the claims as “a total lie”, stressing that the army remained a united front.

“Our army is united and strong than ever before, despite the unnecessary political division within the leadership [that] has caused rebellion,” he said on Wednesday.

South Sudan has been embroiled in conflict since a political dispute in the ruling party (SPLM) headed by president Salva Kiir turned violent in mid-December last year, triggering tribal tensions across the country.

The fighting has pitted the Dinka, South Sudan’s largest single ethnic group, of which Kiir hails, and their allies against the against pro-Machar rebel forces, mostly of Nuer origin, the second largest community in the country.

Human rights groups have documented atrocities and targeted ethnic killings on both sides.

In the latest alleged incident, the opposition movement claimed that an unspecified number of soldiers loyal to the government from the Nuer tribe were shot dead at Malakal’s main military barracks.

In a statement extended to Sudan Tribune on Wednesday, rebel spokesperson for military affairs Brigadier General Ruai Lul Koang said that more than 50 soldiers, including one senior officer, were also killed in separate attacks.

According to the statement, the senior officer was executed in Paloich, while 27 were killed at Anakdiar and 25 in the Baliet area.

Oil-rich Upper Nile has been a flashpoint for violence since the conflict erupted, changing hands several times between government and rebel forces.

Anakdiar and Bailiet are located east of the state capital, Malakal, while Paloich lies to the north.

Koang said reliable reports allege the victims were bound together before being summarily executed by their Dinka colleagues, after which their bodies were thrown into the Sobat River, which empties into the White Nile River at the mouth of Jonglei Canal.

“The floating corpses were spotted, collected and taken for proper burial by our gallant forces manning both banks of the river,” he said.

The alleged incident comes four days after rebels forces claimed to have inflicted heavy casualties on government troops after renewed clashes broke out round Dolieb Hills, Zinc and Acheb-Nil.

Koang said the alleged killings clearly showed the SPLA had lost its legitimacy.

“The execution of Nuers serving in Salva’s faltering regime sends a clear message to those under illusions that [the] SPLA was still a national army,” he said.

“These heinous crimes meted [out] on own comrades show [the] SPLA has become a tribal outfit,” he added.

The exact circumstances of the alleged killings and when they occurred remains unclear. The identities of the alleged victims have also not been revealed.

Government officials have suggested that the bodies purportedly found in the river could be those of rebel fighters killed during recent clashes in Achab-Nil and Doleib Hills, and for whatever reason were not given a proper burial.

There have also been claims that the bodies may have been deliberately dumped by rebel forces.

However, none of the allegations can be independently verified.

Machar, who was sacked from his post as vice-president last July, has accused his former boss of instigating the violence by suppressing political reforms and trying to disarm Nuer soldiers serving as presidential guards, which led to clashes breaking out in the capital, Juba.

He also accused Kiir of overseeing the massacre of over 20,000 innocent unarmed Nuer civilians during the initial phase of the violence.

President Kiir on the other hand accuses his former deputy of planning to stage a military coup to overthrow the government.

The two rival leaders continue to trade accusations over violations to an earlier ceasefire agreement signed in January and recommitted to in May.

The political crisis has plunged the country into its deadliest outbreak of violence in a decade.

Tens of thousands of people have died so far, while more than 1.5 million have been displaced, with aid agencies warning the country is on the brink of famine.

Negotiations in Ethiopia between the two rival factions remain on shaky ground, with ongoing peace talks hampered by repeated delays and disagreement over the terms of a political settlement.


South Sudan – human rights chief says conflict heightening ethnic divisions

Sudan Tribune

September 28, 2014 (JUBA) – The South Sudanese conflict, now in its ninth month, has promoted tension, fear and mistrust among the Dinka and Nuer tribes, a senior official said last week.

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Lawrence Korbandy (C) with other members of the panel addressing South Sudan Human Rights Defenders Network members, September 21, 2012 (ST)

Lawrence Korbandy, the chairperson of South Sudan Human Right Commission (SSHRC), told the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) that ethnic tensions have destroyed the social cohesion and fabric of communities especially among larger tribes.

“This explains why over 90,000 IDPs who live under protection of the UNMISS (UN Mission in South Sudan) are reluctant to go back to their homes. Often, their reluctance is justified by ethnic tension, mistrust and sense of fear for possible annihilation by the other tribe,” Korbandy said from Geneva.

“All these undermine the spirit of coexistence, peace and reconciling process,” he added.

However, South Sudanese president Salva Kiir told the 69th session of the UN general assembly in New York on Thursday that the conflict was purely a political crisis and not an ethnic struggle for power.

“My government has demonstrated its firm commitment to peace, has unreservedly honoured these agreements, and is continuing to negotiate in good faith to find a peaceful solution to the conflict,” said Kiir, who accused his former deputy, Riek Machar, of “impatience”.

Korbandy said the young nation has witnessed one of the worst internal displacements of its civilian population, notably in central Equatoria, Jonglei, Unity and Upper Nile states. To date over 90,000 people are living in IDP camps, the majority under the protection of the UN at various sites across the country.

“The conditions of the IDP camps have not been very good which needs humanitarian intervention,” he told the UNHRC meeting.

Nearly 1.5 million South Sudanese have been displaced due to the conflict as aid agencies warned of possible famine early next year.

The SSHRC chairperson, however, acknowledged efforts by government to promote and protect the rights of the country’s citizens, citing the formation of the investigation committee on human rights abuses headed the former chief justice of South Sudan.

“The committee is doing its work and soon may issue their findings in a form of a comprehensive report. The Commission is monitoring this process very closely,” said Korbandy.

Also in place, he said, was the formation of the crisis management committee by government to, among other functions, educate the people, that; the conflict did not target certain ethnic groups, but a national crisis requiring the unity of the South Sudanese to resolve it.

Meanwhile, Korbandy said SSHRC accepts and welcomes of the African Union Commission of Inquiry into the South Sudan conflict. The five-member body, which is headed by former Nigerian president Olusugen Obasanjo, has been tasked with investigating rights abuses and promoting the healing process.


South Sudan – widespread abuses during conflict


Abuses lead to calls for accountability in South Sudan

Photo: Phil Moore
A victim of the conflict in South Sudan, which has plagued the country since December 15, 2013.

JUBA, 21 January 2014 (IRIN) – The UN warned this month that acts committed by both sides in the South Sudan crisis could amount to crimes against humanity, and urged parties engaged in peace talks to establish mechanisms to ensure accountability for the violence.
“What I saw was a horror,” said Ivan Šimonovic, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, at a press conference in Juba on 17 January. “The priority is to achieve a ceasefire – but to transform a ceasefire into sustainable peace, more will be needed than bilateral talks.”
The United Nations has received accounts of mass killings, extrajudicial killings, arbitrary detention, enforced disappearances, sexual violence, the widespread destruction of property and the use of children in conflict. These are serious violations of international law, said Šimonovic. He noted that his office will be publishing a report on human rights violations, and stressed that independent monitoring and public reporting is critical.
“Those who committed these terrible crimes, who ordered them or those who did nothing to prevent them while they were in a position to do so, all these people should be held accountable without delay,” Šimonovic said.
Amid investigations into civilian deaths, allegedly at the hands of security forces in South Sudan, the army has made several arrests and others are expected.
And the African Union is in the early stages of setting up a commission of inquiry “to investigate human rights violations and other abuses committed during the armed conflict in South Sudan and make recommendations on the best ways and means to ensure accountability, reconciliation and healing among all South Sudanese communities”.
According to the AU, the commission is “expected to contribute in addressing the plight of the victims and assist the people of South Sudan to devise a comprehensive strategy on how to build their young nation, reconcile their differences and deal with root causes of the current crisis to avoid its recurrence and bring about lasting and sustainable peace”.
Opportunity for justice?
This crisis may present an opportunity to address the issue of impunity for past crimes.  Decades of conflict, not only between Sudan in the north and what is now South Sudan but also between different armed groups in the south, have left deep scars among the population.
“No one in South Sudan has ever been held accountable for anything,” said David Deng, director of the South Sudan Law Society, at a Rift Valley Institute forum in Nairobi. The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) – signed in 2005 by Khartoum and southern rebels, paving the way for South Sudan’s independence – did nothing to hold the instigators of violence culpable, Deng said. “We see in the CPA itself a vague reference to national reconciliation but nothing in terms of real accountability for past human rights violations.”
Past military rebellions were granted amnesty and rewarded with reintegration deals to maintain peace, supported by President Kiir. “His one real main asset is his ability to bring these so-called spoilers into the fold,” said Deng. “We need to revisit this. If this situation has taught us anything, it’s that what is in our short-term interest doesn’t always work in our interest in the long-term.”
Truth commissions, trials, reparations, and hybrid or international courts are all possible means of achieving accountability, according to the authors of Crisis and Opportunity in South Sudan, published by the United States Institute of Peace. Commentators agree that the local justice system in South Sudan is not capable of prosecuting these crimes.
South Sudan has not acceded to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, so if it became appropriate, the Security Council would need to authorize investigations.
Human Rights Watch has called on the UN to also “impose a travel ban and an asset freeze on anyone credibly identified as responsible for serious abuses and violations of international human rights and humanitarian law”.
“Since South Sudan lacks a functioning judicial system, the spectre of impunity or rushed military prosecutions is very real,” said John Prendergast, co-founder of the Enough Project, when testifying before the US Senate on the situation. “Credibly holding perpetrators responsible for crimes committed in the past three weeks will require setting up independent mechanisms for investigation and prosecution.”
Prendergast and Deng both suggest some form of hybrid court, involving a combination of national and international lawyers and judges, which would serve the dual purpose of developing the national legal system. “The fact that it happens in or near the conflict-affected state gives a degree of ownership over the process to the country, whereas the international involvement maintains the credibility and gives it the support that’s necessary,” Deng said.
An ideal outcome would be for a mechanism to establish accountability built into the peace agreement being hammered out in Addis Ababa, Deng notes. Previous hybrid courts have been used in conflict scenarios in Sierra Leone, Lebanon, East Timor and Cambodia.

Photo: Phil Moore
Ivan Šimonovic, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, speaking at a press conference in Juba, 17 January 2014.

Victor Garang, a resident of Juba, recently heard that his brother had been shot by anti-government forces in the town of Bor, which has changed hands four times since the start of the crisis in mid-December.
“Many people have died,” he told IRIN. “Who are we going to blame for that? Everybody now is running in the bush, hungry. Other children are dying without food, even malaria – who is going to be accountable for that?”
Ending the bloodshed
But some commentators stressed the need for a ceasefire first. “I think we’re all probably seen the news of the IGAD [Intergovernmental Authority on Development] mediators’ attempt this week to obtain the release of the political detainees, and that’s a critically important issue going forward, especially in terms of political settlement,” said Kate Almquist Knopf, former US Agency for International Development assistant administrator for Africa. But, she cautioned, “it should not be a stumbling block for a ceasefire.”
Still, Šimonovic argues that there are benefits to raising the issue of accountability now, while the two sides are still warring and abuses are ongoing.
First, it is a kind of deterrence. “If investigations are going on, it’s a clear message through various channels [that] facts are being gathered about violations, which is prerequisite for accountability – including one day individual accountability for violations,” he said.
Further, if different groups continue blaming each other, there is no way forward for reconciliation. “If there are hard facts about victims, about violations, and about perpetrators, it increases the likelihood for two communities to get together and to understand that… in both communities you have ones who are victims and ones who are perpetrators of violations.”
“The South Sudanese and the international community should show that we have learned the lesson history has taught us that without justice and reconciliation, residual pain from gross violations and other crimes are all too easily abused by those seeking power at any cost,” Daniel Bekele, Africa director at Human Rights Watch, saidIRIN