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South Sudan says establishing Hybrid Court undermines peace

January 30, 2017 (JUBA)- South Sudan’s government says establishment the much-sought after hybrid court will undermine peace, insisting it needed time to achieve peace at the expense of justice for victims of atrocities committed during the nation’s conflict.

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South Sudanese information minister Michael Makuei Lueth attends a press conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on 5 January 2014 (Photo: AP/Elias Asmara)

This comes after the independent Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan recently invited the country’s justice minister to attend a meeting on issues regarding the implementation of the transitional justice and establishment of a hybrid court in the young nation.

The meeting took place in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa last week.

South Sudan’s information minister, Michael Makuei Lueth said the unity government prefers peace to establishing the hybrid court.

"There seems to be more concern about the transitional justice and establishment of the hybrid court other than thinking of bringing peace first to South Sudan, and thereafter make people accountable," Lueth told reporters in the capital, Juba Friday.

"Our position as government of South Sudan is that we need peace, it is after peace that you can come and question me and say, Michael you have been doing this and this, and now go to the hybrid court,” he added.

According to the minister, implementation of the transitional justice at this time would never bring peace and stability in South Sudan.

“If I am indicted today and I resisted, if I refused, who will come and collect me?" he asked.

South Sudan, Lueth further said, will not participate in the transitional justice workshop scheduled for next month in the Ethiopian capital.

Article 1 of Chapter 5 of the peace accord says the unity government will establish three new institutions to help bring justice to the country. The accord provides for establishment of Commission for Truth, Reconciliation and Healing, the independent hybrid court for South Sudan, and the Compensation and Reparation Authority.

RIGHTS BODY CRITICIZES MINISTER

A South Sudanese human rights body has, however, criticized the information minister’s remarks, saying resistance to formation of Hybrid Court for South Sudan shows the country’s leaders are guilty.

“Minister Makuei, if in any way having a guilty conscience that makes him resist the court, he should allow himself to go through the due process of the law as he is presumed innocent,” South Sudan Human Rights Society for Advocacy (SSHURSA) said in a statement.

The statement further accuses Lueth of delaying justice, which, he said, was an insult to the suffering people in war-torn South Sudan.

“SSHURSA urges the African Union, United Nations, rest of the members of the international community and human rights minded South Sudanese and friends to reign over such resistance,” it noted.

Further adds the statement, “They should instead put more pressure on Juba to ensure that the Hybrid Court is established with urgency”.

The rights body also called on the warring parties to exercise maximum restraints and opt for comprehensively inclusive political dialogue to resuscitate the collapsed peace agreement and ensure that all provisions of the revived peace accord are implemented.

(ST)