War crimes agreement failed to guarantee justice
The implementation of the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (ACRSS) has completely failed to deliver Justice and accountability against war crimes and crimes against humanity, South Sudanese opposition political parties have said.
The Chairman of the Umbrella of Political Parties for Peace and Democratic transformation, Peter Mayen Majongdit, said all the parties to the conflicts had failed to guarantee justice through the ACRSS.
The umbrella is a coalition of eight opposition political parties; People’s Liberal Party (PLP), South Sudan United Party (SSUP), National Democratic Alliance (NDA), Sawa-Sawa Party, SANP, Liberal Democratic Party, United Democratic Salvation Front (UDSF) and National Liberal Party (NLP).
According to the umbrella, the ARCSS deal did not elaborate much on judiciary reforms and this had hold justice and independent law firms like Bar Association, Law Society, Judiciary Review Commission and other legal institutions hostage to presidential directives and orders, which had created a failed judicial system with much interference by the executive.
“The revitalisation process should address issues related to judicial reforms; pave the way for free and just society. Review and reconstitution of judiciary service commission with responsibility to designate and recommend the appointment of the Chief Justice,” Mayen said.
He further said there must be a complete unconditional commitment by the international community to finance the peace process to enable monitoring institutions such as the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC) the body tasked with responsibility to monitor the implementation of ARCSS, the regional security and trade bloc, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and other parties to implement key provisions of the agreement.
“In order to ensure effective democratic transformation, there must be independence and funding institution to democratic institutions to avoid irregularity and apathy in the Political Parties Council, National Elections’ Commission and democratic foundations affiliated to political parties,” Mayen argued.
The coalition called for the existing defined strategies in chapter five in ARCSS to be retained on the revitalisation process of the agreement and any documented reports of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the estrange armed group to be taken into serious account.
The political parties’ umbrella further urged the development of the international legal system and to ensure that when credible evidence emerges of grievous human rights violations or crimes against humanity, a comprehensive investigation must follow, with the accused judged by a competent court.
The umbrella believed that, where this was not possible at the national level, the regional and international courts should assume the role and those found guilty of committing heinous crimes be held responsible for their actions, while ensuring that the threat of punishment does not perpetuate a conflict, which could otherwise be resolved.
Mayen added that the umbrella was still calling for the full deployment of the 4,000 strong Regional Protection Forces (RPF) in the country to support and protect the peace implementation process, including the revitalisation process.