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Top UN official welcomes S. Sudan approval of Hybrid Court

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February 2, 2021 (NEW YORK) – A top United Nations official has welcomed the Government of South Sudan’s approval to establish transitional justice mechanisms, including the African Union (AU) Hybrid Court for South Sudan.

President Salva Kiir addresses the extraordinary meeting of the council of ministers in Juba, Oct, 13, 2020 (courtesy photo)

In a statement issued Tuesday, Alice Wairimu Nderitu, the UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide said the decision is a crucial step towards establishing accountability for serious human rights violations, many of which may constitute atrocity crimes, that have taken place since violent conflict broke out in December 2013.

“The decision is an important initial step towards justice and accountability for the many victims who have suffered brutal crimes during the conflict in South Sudan, including heinous acts of sexual and gender-based violence” she noted.

Last week, South Sudan’s cabinet approved the establishment of the AU Hybrid Court to try war crimes committed during a civil war that lasted over five years.

The UN official also commended the move as positive progress in the implementation of the 2018 Revitalised Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS) and called for swift and concrete action to operationalize the Court.

The Hybrid Court is envisioned to have jurisdiction with respect to the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and other serious crimes, including gender-based crimes and sexual violence.

Meanwhile, in addition to the Hybrid Court, the Special Adviser stressed the need to establish the other mechanisms under Chapter V of the R-ARCSS, including the Commission for Truth, Reconciliation and Healing and the Compensation and Reparation Authority.

All institutions should observe the 35 per cent women representation threshold in line with the peace agreement, she stressed.

Nderitu further encouraged the Government of South Sudan and the AU to work collaboratively with other initiatives that promote accountability, including the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan.

Chapter V of the revitalised peace deal signed in September 2018, stipulates that there shall be a Hybrid Court in South Sudan aimed at holding war perpetrators accountable in the country’s civil war.

(ST)

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