Home | News    Saturday 31 January 2015

Amnesty slams African Union’s decision to defer report on S. Sudan atrocities

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January 30, 2015 (ADDIS ABABA) – African Union (AU) is under intense pressure from human rights bodies who criticise the regional body for entertaining impunity with its reluctance to make public the report from its Commission of Inquiry on the atrocities committed in the ongoing South Sudan’s conflict.

A general view of a meeting of the African Union Peace and Security Council (Photo courtesy of the African Union)

Amnesty International on Friday issued a strong statement condemning a decision taken AU leaders in the Thursday’s summit in Addis Ababa when it resolved not to release the report and deferred it indefinitely.

Former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo, who chairs the Commission of Inquiry, was scheduled to present the report to the AU Peace and Security Council on Thursday evening.

However, Ethiopian Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, who also chairs the regional bloc of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), tabled a motion to “defer” presentation and consideration of the report pending the finalisation of a peace agreement in South Sudan. Presidents Zuma of South Africa and Museveni of Uganda seconded the motion.

Also Obasanjo held a press conference on Friday where he told reporters that the deferral aims to support the ongoing efforts to reach a peace agreement and to form a transitional government.

He added their report will promote peace, justice and development in the new east African nation.

Amnesty International said the decision was “shocking” as AU Peace and Security Council has failed the thousands of South Sudanese victims who are waiting for truth and justice by not making public the report.

“What is outrageous is that the Peace and Security Council shelved the report indefinitely before its members even received copies or heard Obasanjo’s remarks,” said Amnesty International’s African regional research and advocacy director, Netsanet Belay.

“The AU seems to have forgotten that one of its founding principles is the condemnation and rejection of impunity,” the statement said.

The statement stressed the importance of recommendations on accountability from the findings, saying it could be a critical step towards ending the impunity that continues to fuel the conflict in South Sudan.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) and 21 South Sudanese civil society organisations also sent a petition to AU’s Peace and Security Council on Wednesday calling for the report to be published immediately.

Over the past year, all parties to the conflict in South Sudan have committed crimes under international law, including massacres beginning in the capital, Juba, and further retaliatory attacks on civilians often based on ethnicity or perceived political allegiance, sexual violence and widespread destruction and looting of civilian property.

The rebel group led by the former vice president, Riek Machar, called for publication of the report, while, president Salva Kiir’s government is said to have been opposed to the release of the report and asked IGAD to persuade AU to defer it.

The Commission of Inquiry was established by the AU in March 2014. It was mandated to investigate human rights abuses and violations by parties to the conflict in South Sudan and make recommendations on accountability, reconciliation and healing in South Sudan.

Members of the AU Commission of Inquiry and its investigators conducted multiple visits to South Sudan and also met with South Sudanese living outside of the country.

(ST)

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  • 31 January 2015 10:22, by Thokidine

    Deterring the AU report on crimes committed in SS mean AU has sided with Govt and had know that Govt had committed gross human right violations. I think IO should just leave relying on IGAD or any Africa Institutions that are bais. Africa will never achieve any peaceful coexistent coz all their leaders are fake, frauds and corrupt. They lack sound-able judgement z is why a lot of solvable problems

    • 31 January 2015 10:34, by Thokidine

      ... raging and tearing the continent apart. How can u deter the report when it could be the part of the accountability u are claiming (IGAD) for? It means no African leader who knows the truth. IGAD push for peace but doesn’t want to release the report coz they fear losing Kiir who has fed them with billions dollars, the innocent money meant for dev’t. No matter what one try to hides, still the



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