Home | Press Releases    Wednesday 4 February 2015

South Sudan: AU putting justice on hold


Human Rights Watch

South Sudan: AU Putting Justice on Hold Commission of Inquiry Report Shelved

(Johannesburg, February 3, 2015) – The African Union (AU) has compromised its commitment to justice for serious crimes by deferring consideration of the report of its commission of inquiry on South Sudan, Human Rights Watch said today. It should revisit this decision, take the report under consideration, and publish it promptly.

The commission’s chair, the former Nigerian President Olesegun Obasanjo, was scheduled to brief the AU’s Peace and Security Council at a meeting in Addis Ababa on January 29, 2015. But the council decided to defer the report indefinitely, casting doubt on the AU’s commitment to its own – and its first – commission of inquiry.

“The people and partners of South Sudan have been waiting for the AU report to help bring justice for the grave crimes of the past year,” said Daniel Bekele, Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “By shelving the report, the AU has left the people of South Sudan in the lurch.”

The AU Peace and Security Council authorized the commission of inquiry in December 2013, and it was established in March 2014. It is mandated to document the conflict’s abuses and offer recommendations on justice and reconciliation. The commission interviewed many South Sudanese victims and witnesses for its report.

In December 2013, a dispute between South Sudan’s president, Salva Kiir, and its former vice president, Riek Machar, set off the shockingly brutal armed conflict. It has been marked by gruesome massacres, revenge killings often based on ethnicity, and mass destruction and looting of civilian property. Despite numerous peace deals, more than a year on, the fighting and abuses continue.

In the margins of the latest AU summit in Addis Ababa, the parties reached an agreement to end the fighting by March 5, 2015, and to form a transitional government, but many contentious issues remain. The signed agreement includes a hybrid judicial body to investigate and prosecute those responsible for the most serious crimes since December 2013. This development makes the release of the AU commission of inquiry report all the more pressing, Human Rights Watch said.

UN and international diplomats have delayed acting on concrete proposals for justice pending the release of the AU commission’s findings and recommendations.

“People in South Sudan have suffered brutal crimes this past year and expressed strong support for justice as a way to help end cycles of violence,” Bekele said. “The AU has taken precious time and resources to document the crimes and make recommendations on accountability. But this effort can do little good if it does not see the light of day.”

Some AU officials appear reluctant to consider the report because they believe it could upset the peace negotiations. However, experience shows that parties to a conflict can pursue efforts to hold human rights abusers accountable and advance peace agreements at the same time, Human Rights Watch said. The risks of trading away justice are significant – lack of accountability can embolden people to commit further crimes and undermine respect for the rule of law.

“The AU should immediately release the report, instead of putting justice on the back burner in the hopes of promoting progress in the peace negotiations,” Bekele said. “Peace agreements and justice are by no means mutually exclusive, and a lack of action on justice fuels further crimes.”

For more Human Rights Watch reporting on South Sudan, please visit:

For more information, please contact:
In Johannesburg, Daniel Bekele (English, Amharic): +1-917-385-3878 (mobile); or bekeled@hrw.org. Follow on Twitter @DanielBekele
In New York, Jehanne Henry (English, French): +1-917-443-2724; or henryj@hrw.org. Follow on Twitter @Jehannehenry
In Amsterdam, Leslie Lefkow (English): +31-621-597-356 (mobile); or lefkowl@hrw.org. Follow on Twitter @LefkowHRW
In South Sudan, Skye Wheeler (English): +211-954-855-450 (mobile); or wheeles@hrw.org. Follow on Twitter @WheelerSkye
In New York, Elise Keppler (English): +1-212-216-1249; or +1-917-687-8576 (mobile); or kepplee@hrw.org. Follow on Twitter @EliseKeppler

Comments on the Sudan Tribune website must abide by the following rules. Contravention of these rules will lead to the user losing their Sudan Tribune account with immediate effect.

- No inciting violence
- No inappropriate or offensive language
- No racism, tribalism or sectarianism
- No inappropriate or derogatory remarks
- No deviation from the topic of the article
- No advertising, spamming or links
- No incomprehensible comments

Due to the unprecedented amount of racist and offensive language on the site, Sudan Tribune tries to vet all comments on the site.

There is now also a limit of 400 words per comment. If you want to express yourself in more detail than this allows, please e-mail your comment as an article to comment@sudantribune.com

Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.
  • 5 January 09:01, by Ronn91

    Great Information sharing .. I am very happy to read this article .. thanks for giving us go through info.Fantastic nice. I appreciate this post.
    gmail sign up | ip

    repondre message

Comment on this article

The following ads are provided by Google. SudanTribune has no authority on it.

Sudan Tribune

Promote your Page too

Latest Comments & Analysis

Maulana Mayen Wol was acquitted by South Sudan Supreme Court 2018-03-21 21:14:00 By Amb. Gordon Buay I have seen some quarters criticizing the appointment of Maulana Mayen Wol as the undersecretary of the Ministry of Petroleum on the basis of the charges brought against him (...)

President Kiir should extend equal justice recognition to John Agou 2018-03-17 08:35:01 By Deng Kur Deng Dear Mr. President, Is is the quest for equal justice that urges me to write to you today. Our quest didn’t begin with us, but it starts with you. All you have done for your (...)

Applying to the Arab League as the observer is recommendable but wrong time 2018-03-13 11:21:42 By Gatdiet Peter On 5 March 2018, a report from the Egyptian official news agency, MENA has flooded the media and captured a sharp attention of wider South Sudanese people that the Republic of (...)


Latest Press Releases

Appeal for forgiveness and pardon of John Agou Wuoi 2018-03-07 08:28:08 H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit, President and Commander-in-Chief, of the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA), Republic of South Sudan (RSS), 5th February, 2018. Through: Hon. Michael Makuei Lueth (...)

Petition for release of Agou John Wuoi from prison 2018-02-15 20:45:31 Open letter to South Sudan President Salva Kiir Your Excellency, Kindly please permit me to take this rare opportunity to appreciate you for every effort you have made toward making South Sudan (...)

AUHIP Communiqué on Sudan & SPLM-N talks for cessation of hostilities agreement 2018-02-05 13:04:16 African Union High-Level Implementation Panel for Sudan and South Sudan Joint Statement on Unilateral Ceasefire, Cessation of Hostilities and Completion of Negotiations 1) With the facilitation (...)


Copyright © 2003-2018 SudanTribune - All rights reserved.