S. Sudanese researcher welcomes approval of Hybrid Court for S. Sudan

Judges sit in the courtroom during a trial at a court in the capital Juba, South Sudan, May 30, 2017 |Photo: File
Judges sit in the courtroom during a trial at a court in the capital Juba, South Sudan, May 30, 2017 |Photo: File

A renown researcher at Human Rights Watch, Nyagoah Tut Pur, has strongly welcome the decision by South Sudan’s leaders to approve the AU Hybrid Court for South Sudan.

“After years of relative silence, South Sudan’s government has finally given approval to establish accountability mechanisms to address the country’s conflict, including a war crimes court in partnership with the African Union (AU),” she said.

“This could represent an important step to bring justice closer to victims and survivors who have suffered brutal crimes with impunity for far too long. However, swift and concrete action is needed to operationalize these mechanisms.”

Last week, the South Sudanese government gave a green light to the long-awaited establishment of the AU Hybrid Court for South Sudan, a step seen as a milestone towards bringing war criminals to justice.

Since the outbreak of the conflict in 2013, Tut has documented human rights violations and possible war crimes on both sides of the conflict, and has been a firsthand witness to some of the horrific abuses committed by the security forces.

“As a South Sudanese who has witnessed and investigated abuses since South Sudan’s war first broke out in December 2013, I cannot exaggerate how critical accountability is to repairing the country’s social fabric and to the healing of victims.”

“All parties to the conflict have committed war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity. Reckoning with South Sudan’s history through fair, credible trials, along with truth telling and reparations, will serve justice to victims and chart the way for future generations.”

AU applauds R-TGONU for approving establishment of Hybrid Court for S. Sudan

The Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat |Photo: © AU Commission
The Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat |Photo: © AU Commission

The Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat has commended South Sudanese leaders for approving the long-awaited establishment of the AU Hybrid Court for South Sudan.

“Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat welcomes the announcement by the Government of South Sudan approving the establishment of the AU Hybrid Court of South Sudan as per the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan of 2018,” the AU chair noted in a statement.

Chapter 5 of the agreement (R-ARCSS) states that there should be a triple-track approach to achieving accountability, truth, and reconciliation in South Sudan. These include, the Commission for Truth, Reconciliation and Healing (CTRH) and the Compensation and Reparation Authority (CRA).

The African Union hailed the move as a major step towards ending impunity and human rights violations in the country

“In this regard, the Chairperson notes with appreciation that this decision puts an end to the delays in establishing the Court, transitional justice, accountability, reconciliation and healing institutions in order to bring justice and healing to all South Sudanese.”

The AU hopes to cooperate with the unity government to expedite the finalization of the Memorandum of Understanding.

“The African Union Commission looks forward to work with the Government of South Sudan to ensure the finalization and signing of the Memorandum of Understanding on the establishment of the Court at the earliest opportunity.”

The continental body reiterated its firm commitment to work with the people of South Sudan in their pursuit of peace and stability.

“The Chairperson wishes to, once again, reaffirm the African Union’s continued support to the Government and the people of South Sudan in their search for lasting peace and security in South Sudan.”

Machar receives high-level delegations from the AU, IGAD & R-JMEC

First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar discusses peace implementation with Special Envoy from the AU, IGAD and JMEC |Photo: © IGAD Secretariat

South Sudan’s First Vice-President Dr. Riek Machar has held a meeting with Special Envoys from the African Union, IGAD and the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC).

According to the office of the Vice President, the meeting centered on the status of implementation of the peace agreement, notably the security arrangements and the long-awaited graduation of the unified forces.

The First Vice President, H.E. Dr. Riek Machar Teny, today met with a number of Envoys. This includes, Amb. Prof. Joram M. Biswaro, Special Representative of the Chairperson of the AU Commission and Head of AU Mission to South Sudan, Dr. Ismail Wais, IGAD Special Envoy, Maj. Gen. Charles Tai Gituai, Deputy Chairperson the R-JMEC and Amb. Thomson Fontaine, Deputy Chief of Staff for Strategy.”

“They meeting discussed the implementation of the R-ARCISS, with emphasis on the status of the implementation of the security arrangements and graduation of the necessary unified forces in South Sudan. The process to graduate the unified forces soon is in progress.”

Ethiopia Finally Restores Telco Services In The Tigray Region

     By: Buay Kapduel Buol 

Dec 14, 2020 (Thessherald)–After more than 40 days of power outages and sudden telco service interruptions in the entire Tigray region, the Ethiopian federal authorities have finally resolved to restore telecommunications services in the regional capital, Mekelle.

“Following destruction to infrastructure by the criminal clique’s militia, which resulted in a communication’s and electricity blackout in the Tigray region, the relevant Federal stakeholders have been on the ground since Mekelle came under Federal command, repairing heavy damages sustained. On December 10, 2020 Ethio Telecom shared in a media briefing the details of infrastructure damages caused to the Mekelle Core Site which resulted in telecom service disruptions in the region as of November 4, 2020,” the statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office partly reads.

“As of December 12, 2020, Ethio Telecom shared that mobile voice services in Mekelle city and Maiychew have been restored, in addition to Dansha, Humera, Maikadra, Turkan, Maytsebri, Korem and Alamata”

The federal government also announced the restoration of power and telephone phone services in other areas around Mekelle that had been cut off from the rest of the world since the ENDF and its allies launched large-scale military operations in the Tigray region.

“As it pertains to electric power services, on December 13, 2020 Ethiopian Electric Power announced that electricity has been restored to Mekelle city and its vicinity. Cities and towns between Mekelle and Alamata have had power disruptions due to conductor and insulator damages sustained to transmission lines.”

“Through the coordinated efforts of two technical teams, in addition to Mekelle and surrounding towns, power has also been restored in the north eastern part of the country – specifically Metema, Humera and Welkayit. Both service providers continue to undertake repair work to enable unhindered service provision in the region,” the statement further added.

Abiy Ahmed, winner of the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize, has rebuffed international calls for a peace dialogue between his government and leaders of the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front who are currently in their hideouts in mountainous areas around Mekelle.

Prime Minister Abiy rejects AU mediation efforts

Last month, the Chairperson of the African Union, Cyril Ramaphosa, sent 3 special envoy to Ethiopia in an effort to bring the warring parties to the negotiating table, however, the Ethiopian premier refused to negotiate with the TPLF leaders.

Ethiopian refugees fleeing violence in the northern part of Ethiopia |Photo: © AFP

Currently, more than 50,000 people, predominantly from the Tigray region, have crossed into Sudan in search of safety – and are being sheltered by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees under the supervision of the Sudanese government.

In the wake of the endless influx of Ethiopian refugees into Sudan on an almost daily basis, a high-level delegation led by the Sudanese Prime Minister, Abdalla Hamdok, visited Ethiopia on Sunday and had lengthy discussions with Abiy Ahmed on a number of issues ranging from the GERD-related negotiations to regional security.

Breaking: TPLF begins large-scale airstrikes in Eritrea, destroys buildings

Nov 27, 2020 (Thessherald)–Latest reports from Eritrea indicate that the TPLF has fired several rockets this evening into neighboring Eritrea and destroyed civilian buildings, the Eritrean Press confirmed a few minutes ago.

“The TPLF junta has fired numerous rockets at several Eritrean cities tonight in the last desperate attempt to internationalised the war inside Ethiopia,” the Eritrean Press said in a statement.

“EP can confirm that the rockets in Asmara have landed near busy residential areas, but no casualties are recorded. Eritrean Press will update you when more information reaches us.”

On Friday, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed rebuffed calls by the African Union for dialogue and pledged to continue to enforce military operations until he controls the capital, Mekele, which is currently inhabited by thousands of civilians.

This is a developing #story, check back in a few minutes for more updates!

Expert explains why Kiir is the right person to mediate peace in Ethiopia

President Salva Kiir Mayardit and Security Advisor Tut Gatluak Manime |Photo: File

Nov 23rd, 2020 (Thessherald)–As the region struggles to find the right and unbiased country to mediate peace talks between the federal government and Tigray leaders, the Director of the Global Leadership Center for Peace Studies, Dr. Matthew LeRiche, has said that S. Sudan’s leaders have become experts in peace mediation, and are well positioned to understand Ethiopia’s different ethnic dynamics.

“As the conflict between Ethiopia’s federal government and the Tigray Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF) continues to escalate, calls for mediation have come from around the world. The question of who could mediate, however, has yet to be answered. The conflict requires an intermediary that is perceived to be honest and credible by both sides, but this rules out far more international actors than it rules in,” said Dr. Matthew LeRiche, Director of the Global Leadership Center and the War and Peace Studies Program.

The expert pointed out that, with the exception of South Sudan, many countries in Africa, Arab and Western countries are too biased to broker peace between the Ethiopian warring parties.

“In all this, there is one potential mediator that stands out. Despite being mired in its own civil conflict and peace process, South Sudan may hold the key.”

The expert outlined four reasons that qualify South Sudan to be a potential mediator in Ethiopia’s political crisis.

Firstly, South Sudan is not perceived as a threat or rival by any of the warring parties.

Secondly, South Sudanese leaders have plenty of experience and understanding of the kinds of ethnic dynamics that underlie the conflict in Ethiopia.

Thirdly, South Sudan has become well-seasoned in peace talks and processes. Having been involved in active deliberations since at least the 1980s, many leaders have a deep knowledge of negotiation and mediation.

Moreover, this learning came through an appropriately local prism that may be far more relevant to Ethiopia’s challenges than the experience of other potential international mediators.

PM Abiy rejects AU mediation efforts, vows to capture capital Mekelle

Ethiopian Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed |Photo: File

Nov 21, 2020 (Thessherald)–As international pressure mounts to end the ongoing hostilities in the restive Tigray region, the African Union (AU) has resolved to dispatch high-level special envoys to kick off the mediation process in Addis Ababa.

However, the Ethiopian government rejected African Union calls for peace talks, pledging instead to reinforce its operations and take control of the Tigray region, capital Mekelle.

On Friday, the African Union appointed three former heads of state as envoys to mediate a conflict between the Ethiopian federal government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front.

The announcement was made by the President by the South African, Cyril Ramaphosa, on his verified Twitter account, raising hopes for an end to more than 2 weeks of fighting that has led to an influx of Ethiopians into Sudan.

“Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed now has accepted the initiative, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa,” who chairs the African Union, said in a statement on Twitter.

“The primary task of the special envoys is to engage all sides to the conflict with a view to ending hostilities, creating conditions for an inclusive national dialogue to resolve all issues that led to the conflict, and restoring peace and stability to Ethiopia,” the UN official said in a statement.

UN warns of unfolding humanitarian crisis

Last week, the United Nations warned that more than 1.2 million people could be at risk if the armed conflict continues in the Tigray region and called for a temporary ceasefire to allow humanitarian aid to reach vulnerable populations in the affected areas.

“A full-scale humanitarian crisis is unfolding,” spokesman Babar Baloch told a virtual press briefing from Geneva.

“Refugees fleeing the fighting continue to arrive exhausted from the long trek to safety, with few belongings,” he added.

Somalia alarmed by ‘unfolding situation’ in Ethiopia

The Federal Republic of Somalia | Foreign Affairs Ministry

November 19, 2020 (Thessherald)–The Somali government has voiced its concern over the ongoing endless fighting between the Ethiopian Federal troops and the TPLF forces in the Tigray region, and called on the warring parties to find common ground to resolve their differences amicably.

“The Federal Republic of Somalia expresses concern over the unfolding situation in Ethiopia. The Federal Government of Somalia reiterates its support for the unity of Ethiopia, and calls for dialogue to amicably end the internal conflict in Ethiopia,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Tuesday.

The Somali government expresses its solidarity with the Ethiopian government, and pledged to help it bring the conflict to an immediate end.

“Somalia, as a neighbor and a friend is willing to offer its full support in the quest to end the current situation in Ethiopia.”

“Somalia echoes calls from the region to immediately and peacefully resolve the conflict in Ethiopia. The Federal Government of Somalia holds that now, more than ever, our region needs to consolidate its collective contributions with the common goal of peace and security to promote opportunities for our people. Somalia reaffirms its solidarity with the Government of Ethiopia under the leadership of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in keeping the constitutional order, and respecting the territorial integrity of Ethiopia.”

Somalia, which borders Ethiopia from the west, hosts thousands of Ethiopian troops – currently serving under the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISSOM) as part of regional efforts to maintain peace and security in the Horn of Africa.

Ethiopia, the second most populous country in Africa, has been embroiled in a deadly conflict for weeks pitting the Ethiopian National Defense Forces against the TPLF-led opposition forces in the Tigray region.

Since the outbreak of fighting earlier this month, the Ethiopian government has come under increasing international pressure to enter into a meaningful dialogue with the TPLF leadership. However, the Ethiopian Prime Minister, Abiy, has shunned international calls for peace.

Ethiopia requests 4,000 troops from S. Sudan as violence reaches boiling point

Military Spokesperson of the SSPDF, Lul Ruai Kong during a military briefing |Photo: Samir Bol /Gettyimages
Military Spokesperson of the SSPDF, Lul Ruai Kong during a military briefing |Photo: Samir Bol /Gettyimages

November 16, 2020 (Thessherald)–The Office of the Ethiopian Prime Minister has reportedly sent a letter – requesting 4,000 troops from neighboring South Sudan as the armed conflict escalates in the Tigray region, a senior government official told Thessherald.

“Yes, the Ethiopian Prime Minister has requested us to help them bring orders in their own country by contributing at least 4,000 SSPDF soldiers to fight alongside their forces,” said the official, who requested anonymity for fear of reprisal.

Since last week, the Ethiopian government has been at war within itself pitting federal forces against the TPLF – a group of well-armed soldiers predominantly from the Tigray region, raising concerns that the ongoing military operations could spread and affect the entire Horn of Africa.

On Sunday, the federal government said it would continue its irreversible operations until it arrests the ringleaders who were responsible for the attempted looting of military equipment.

The Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia continues to undertake the irreversible task of enforcing the rule of law in the Tigray region, which it commenced last week following the treasonous attacks by the TPLF on the Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF),” the Office of the Prime Minister said in its statement.

“With the public admission yesterday of a senior TPLF member and spokesperson that they attacked the Northern Command of the ENDF, our resolve to apprehend the criminal elements within TPLF is stronger than ever. As the ENDF make further advances, liberating and taking over various areas within the region, the crimes again humanity committed by the belligerent clique has become quite evident. The heinous and reprehensible massacre committed against innocent civilians in Mykadra by TPLF is clearly a grave violation of the most basic norms of international law,” it added.

The Ethiopian Prime Minister, Abiy, called on the international community and regional leaders to condemn the TPLF for the recent alleged massacre of civilians claimed by Amnesty International.

“Such horrendous attacks against civilians perpetrated by TPLF is an abominable transgression that the international community needs to not only take note of, but also condemn in the strongest terms possible.”

“The international community should also support the Federal Government in its efforts bring the perpetrators of such gruesome crimes to justice. We are cognizant of the desperate and last ditch attempts to escape accountability that will be taken by the TPLF junta.”

AU diplomat visits Rumbek, inspects assorted riffles disarmed from civilians

African Union Commission Chairperson’s Special Envoy on Youth, Ms Aya Chebbi ​upon arrival in Rumbek on November 1, 2020 |Photo: Thessherald
          Press Release 

November 1, 2020 (Thessherald)–The governor of Lakes State, Hon Makur Kulang Liei has welcomed the delegation from Juba led by Ms. Aya Chebbi, the African Union special Envoy on Youth Affairs.

The delegation includes two national Ministers of Labour and Youth and Sports, Hon. James Hoth Mai and Hon. Dr. Albino Bol Dhieu respectively.

In his keynotes speech, Governor Makur appreciated the delegation for choosing Rumbek to celebrate the African Youth day.

He appreciated the moral support given to his leadership by National government officials.

Hon. Makur called on African Special envoy on youth to let her Union work harder to provide the jobs to the Youths in Africa.

Speaking during the occasion, Ms Aya appreciated the hospitality accorded to delegation and her by the government and the people of Rumbek.

She reiterated her Union readiness to create opportunities for the Youth. Chebbi called upon Hon. Governor Makur to include youths in his coming leadership. The special envoy called on youth to move away from being tomorrow leaders to become today’s leaders.

Ms. Aya appreciated the youths of Lakes State for voluntarily handing over their guns peacefully.

She visited the guns collected site in State house where she was shown 1,565 different firearms in the stores.

The national Minister for Labour and war veteran Gen. James Hoth Mai appreciated Hon. Governor for implementing what the leadership requires from him in regards to Rumbek situation. Hon. Minister cautioned youth to make use of skills they acquired from different training institutions .

The Minister directed the Director General in the State Ministry of labour to implement 80% jobs employment to the local Citizens.

In his key words, Dr Albino Bol of Youths and Sports Ministry appreciated the governor for playing a big role in fighting insecurity in Lakes State.

The Minister urged Agar community and Lakes State at large to desist from baseless feuds which have derailed their Unity.

He said youths in Lakes State should refrain from being violence perpetrators to be peace ambassadors.
He added that his Ministry is looking forward to working with international partners to create jobs for the youth in private sector.

The 26-member delegation has left for Juba after a fruitful day in Rumbek.

Mayor Muou Adhor ,
Press secretary,
Office of the governor,
Lakes State-Rumbek

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