Right Commission calls for transitional justice implementation

Right Commission calls for transitional justice implementation
Beny Mabor Gideon, South Sudan Human Rights Commissioner (photo credit: courtesy)

The South Sudan Human Rights Commission has called on the Revitalised Government to ensure the implementation of the Chapter Five of the peace agreement in later and spirit to achieve lasting peace in the country.

“As a government, there are no other ways, there is no middle ground. The implementation of the Chapter Five of the Revitalised Peace Agreement in letter and spirit is the only way forward,” Commissioner Beng Gideon said.

Mr. Gideon was speaking during closing remarks of a three-day multi-stakeholders workshop on the perspectives of South Sudanese citizens on the Chapter Five of the Transitional Justice Mechanisms at Pyramid Hotel on Friday.

The workshop—organized by the Center for Inclusive Governance, Peace, and Justice with support from Trust Africa in partnership with AU Commission—drew together members of civil society organizations, academia, politicians and government officials, women leaders, and youth, faith-based groups.

The conference was also attended by representatives from the East Africa West and South Africa regions to discuss and share experiences on transitional justice and how it helps in ending conflicts in a country.

In the resolution of the conference, the conference recommended that the Transitional Justice Mechanisms be grounded in the South Sudanese context and beyond accountability mechanisms under Chapter Five.

They recommended that implementation of the chapter should be victims-centered, citizen-driven, and geared towards promoting reconciliation and healing and ending impunity to foster developments. This could improve good governance and strengthen rule of law in the country.

Mr. Gideon said without support from the international and regional partners, it would be very difficult to implement the chapter as stipulated in the revitalized peace agreement.

“However, the implementation requires technical and financial from a regional and international partner,” said Mr. Gideon.

Chapter Five of the Revitalised Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan has been one of the outstanding tasks parties were yet to implement. 

The chapter provides for the reconstitution of the commission for truth, reconstruction, and healing to probe human rights violations during the conflict as well as establishing the hybrid court to try human rights violators, compensation, and repatriation to the victims.

Previous efforts

Early this year, the Ministry of Justice and Constitutions Development established committees to head the implementation of the transitional justice mechanism, following the endorsement of the formation of a hybrid court by the cabinet in January this year. But this is yet to be fully operationalized as per the peace agreement.

Jacklin Nasiwa, Executive Director of Center of Good Governance, Peace and Justice said the coalition government should prioritize the implementation of transitional justice mechanisms to address the impact of conflict in the country.

“We cannot have successful justice without the involvement of citizens, without putting the victims as a priority in the center of our decision because these are the people who are affected by the conflict,’’ Nasiwa said.

 “The impact of conflict is traumatic on the societies, there are many people who have become mentally sick, not because they have health issues but because the conflict has affected them. They have lost lives, they have lost properties and poverty is the core,”    

In January the UN Human Rights Commission challenged the government to ensure that the victims of war and human rights violations get justice in the transitional justice, reconciliation, and healing process.

“If the Government of South Sudan retains any credibility whatsoever, the political rhetoric must translate into tangible and genuine results,” said the Commission Chair, Yasmin Sooka.