Kiir jump-start national consultations for truth commission

Kiir, his deputies and other top officials pose for photo at Freedom Hall yesterday

By James Atem Kuir

President Salva Kiir Mayardit has called for national reconciliation as public consultations for the establishment of the Commission for Truth, Reconciliation, and Healing (CTRH) began its work yesterday.

The government and stakeholders launched national public consultations which will form legislation for the establishment of the CTRH, on the key mechanisms stipulated in the 2018 deal to address the issues of transitional justice.

Presiding over the launch of the public consultations, President Kiir stressed that reconciling communities was the most important step towards achieving peaceful coexistence.

“In light of the challenges that we are currently facing, what we need the most is reconciliation before the next step on pursuing punitive justice. We need community healing first rather than devoting our energies on deterring specific acts of violence through criminal prosecution. We need to use reconciliation and forgiveness to eradicate the culture of impunity,” the president said.

The launch facilitated by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) with funding from the kingdom of Netherlands, was also attended by the First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar, Vice President Dr. James Wani, Vice President General Taban Deng Gai, and Vice President Rebecca Nyandeng de Mabior among other heads of international organizations.

According to the peace agreement, the Commission for Truth, Reconciliation, and Healing will receive and document complaints from the public on human rights violations and other abuses by all actors during the conflict.

Two other transitional justice institutions, the Hybrid Court for South Sudan and Compensation and Reparation Authority will also work to address the conflict.

Speaking in the same event, First Vice President Dr. Macharsaid the CTRH when established, would work with other mechanisms to facilitate access to justice and promote national reconciliation.

“These transitional justice mechanisms are interconnected and expected independently to promote the common objective of facilitating truth, reconciliation, and healing, administer access to justice, compensation and repatriation respectively in the country.

“The CTRH is recognized as a critical part of the peacebuilding process as it will spearhead efforts to address the legacy of conflict, and promote peace, national reconciliation, and healing.

“It is expected to enquire into all aspects of human rights violations and abuses, breaches of the rule of law and excessive abuse of power committed against all persons by the state, non-state actors or their agents or allies,” Dr. Machar said.

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