UN calls for swift formation of Hybrid Court for South Sudan

The United Nations Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Pramila Patten | Photo: UN

The United Nations Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Pramila Patten, has called for the immediate formation of the AU Hybrid Court for South Sudan to hold accountable individuals accused of having committed acts of sexual violence during the conflict.

“The United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary- General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Pramila Patten, welcomes the announcement by the Government of South Sudan to establish transitional justice institutions provided for under Chapter V of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS), and calls on the Government to expedite their establishment,” the UN diplomat said in its statement.

The Special Representative noted that the timely establishment of Chapter V institutions, including the long-awaited African Union Hybrid Court, which are envisioned to investigate and prosecute individuals bearing responsibility for violations of international law and/or applicable domestic law will be a strong signal that such crimes, including acts of sexual violence will not be tolerated, that those responsible will be held accountable, and that the needs of survivors and communities will be addressed.

The Special Representative further underscored the importance of adhering to the 35 per cent quota for women’s representation in government institutions, including Chapter V institutions, in line with the revitalized peace agreement.

The UN official urged Southern Sudan leaders to devise an approach focusing on sexual and gender-based violence that would undoubtedly address sexual violence committed during the war.

“As the Government of South Sudan moves forward with establishing transitional justice and peacebuilding processes, I call on the authorities to adopt a survivor-centered approach. Survivors of sexual violence, their families and communities have a central role to play”, emphasized the Special Representative.

“My Office stands ready to support the Government and its partners in their efforts to strengthen prevention and response to sexual violence and ensure that the prosecution of these grave crimes takes place in a timely and transparent manner.”

Rights group urges justice for victims raped by national army

Press Release

South Sudan’s soldiers stand at attention during the official independence day ceremony. Photo © J.B. Russell
South Sudan’s soldiers stand at attention during the official independence day ceremony. Photo © J.B. Russell

Press Release | The Center for Peace and Advocacy (CPA) has recently noted with great concern gross human rights violations perpetrated against women in the country.

On Wednesday, CPA learned that innocent women were gang-raped between March and April of this year in South Sudan and such an unbearable incident was confirmed by a law maker representing Yei River County in the Transitional Legislature Assembly and perpetrators happened to be “men in uniform”. CPA urges the government to hold perpetrators accountable and brought them to book.

“The failure of the government to protect and support victims of sexual violence undermines the quest for justice,” said the group’s national Director Ter Manyang Gatwech.

Since the signing of Revitalized Peace Agreement on Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS) on the 12 September 2018 in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia by parties to the agreement and therefore, human rights situations remain a challenge for the last two years in South Sudan.

Late last year to early this year, rape and gang rapes occurred in northern Unity state has been reportedly continuing this year, with perpetrators apparently thinking they could get away unpunished a statement by U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet (Source Reuters news). Last November there were report of 125 women and girls who were allegedly raped or gang raped over a 10-day period reported.

Reference Reuters: http://reut.rs/3rHsVek

Violence against women and girls in South Sudan remains a challenge. Two thirds of women who have experienced domestic violence say it was perpetrated by an intimate partner, while one in four women report that their first sexual experience was forced. It is important to note that in cases of sexual violence, many women do not report due to fear, stigma and the trauma that is associated with the offences.

“These police brutalities are just a tip of the ice bag of the magnitude of violence committed against women on a daily basis in this country.”

We at CPA condemn these acts of injustice committed by individuals and other criminal groups in the country. As a Human rights organization, we urge the government to bring these criminals to justice and also to speed up the formation of states governments and hybrid court for South Sudan to avoid such violations.