Human Rights Watch has asked the Commission of the African Union to involve the unity government of South Sudan in speeding up the establishment of the hybrid court, as stipulated in the 2018 peace agreement.
In a statement during the 67th ordinary session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, seen by The EastAfrican on Tuesday, the rights group called on the continental body to investigate allegations of human rights violations.
“We call on the African Commission to urge all states in Africa, especially Tanzania, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Liberia, Guinea, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Mali, Nigeria, to conduct swift and impartial investigations into allegations of human rights violations. to begin.
“These offenses include property destruction, extrajudicial killings, torture, forced disappearances, sexual violence and other abuses committed by members of the security forces,” HRW said.
In July this year, South Sudanese civil society reiterated its call on the African Union to form a hybrid court that would raise issues of injustice.
The South Sudanese Civil Society Forum, a lobby of activists in the country, said the establishment of a hybrid court should be expedited to improve judicial independence.
The court, which is to be composed of local and foreign judges from African countries, was raised as part of efforts to reconcile a country divided by nearly seven years of civil war along ethnic lines.
The reviving peace agreement, a peace agreement that created a government of national unity last February, stipulates that there will be a hybrid court in South Sudan – which aims to hold war criminals accountable in the conflict that is estimated at 400,000 people killed and forced 4 million. South Sudanese must flee their homes, according to UN figures.
According to the peace agreement, the African Union must establish a hybrid court for South Sudan to investigate and prosecute individuals since the start of the conflict in December 2013.
But its creation has been a controversial topic, with authorities in Juba, led by President Salva Kiir, claiming it could open old wounds.
Since the formation of the unity government in February this year, which brought together Kiir and his former nemesis Riek Machar, little has been mentioned in Chapter 5 of the pace of peace that determines the institution of the court.
The transitional government of national unity, as the new structure is known, has argued in the past that attempts to “eliminate” perpetrators of violence during peace negotiations could discourage them from accepting or abiding by the agreement.
It called for ‘peace before justice’.
The government often rejects reports of rights violations, saying it was “clearly orchestrated to tarnish the image of the government.”