By Abu Deng
On Tuesday the UN Security Council sent a clear message to the Republic of South Sudan, in particular its leaders currently involved in forming the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGONU). The eight page statement contains numerous cautionary pronouncements that signal imminent serious consequences for violations or obstructions of Peace.
My ownview after reading the statement is that those who are currently found to be obstructing or delaying the ARCISS Peace Plan will face the brute force of the global and regional community.
A thorough read of this statement finds the 8 page declaration notes the welcoming remarks of President Kiir and First Vice President Machar expressing a need to ensure reconciliation and a spirit of cooperation. But notes the slow and "missing" key steps in implementation process packed full of threats, unilateral decision making, exampled by the 28 states issue, the 10 presidential advisors selection and attempt to circumvent the ARCISS MP process. Such as,
National Alliance says Kiir's SPLM faction amending list of MPs
Another incident, the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC) was upset over the recent detainment/arrest of its monitoring and evaluation team leader in Torit. See,
South Sudan arrests, detains peace monitor
As well, the resolution welcomes the support of JMEC and asks the TGONU to extend its cooperate and support, but some recent events have shown a lack of support for the JMEC and international bodies and their mandate, see,
Info Minister Michael Makuei behind expulsion of peace monitor from South Sudan: document
And another telling example, see
JMEC chair says disturbed by 'harassment' of UN Women by Info Minister Michael Makuei
The 11 May 2016 report by OHCHR showed the intensity and scale of atrocities in the country's civil war, as well as this report of December 2015 by UNMISS/OHCHR (The State of Human Rights in Protracted Conflict in South Sudan)
The AU Commission of Inquiry report had findings of war crimes for actions such as rape and sexual violence used as a weapon of war!
Noting ongoing violations and abuse of human rights and international law now (extrajudicial killings, rape, forced disappearances, ethnically-targeted/gender-based/terror-spreading violence) as well as inciting such acts above.
In S/2016/70, the UN Panel of Experts on South Sudan found that some officials obstructed humanitarian access, which is unfortunately widespread across the nation and it notes all parties have a responsibility here, which includes creating a NGO bill based on global best practices.
The statement declares all attacks on humanitarian personnel and depriving civilians of indispensable objects key to their survival are violations of international humanitarian law.
It discussed S/2016/70, the UN Panel of Experts Report on South Sudan's account of ceasefire violations, increasing humanitarian catastrophe, human rights violations and abuses plus the Government's violation of its United Nation's Mission in South Sudan Status-of-Forces agreement. The Panel of Experts Final Report notes both sides are still acquiring arms and military equipment after signing the peace agreement which undermines the agreement.
Between 2014 to 2016, the IGAD in a series of communiques expressed its will - as on 31 January 2016 - it stated the parties should not do anything inconsistent with the African Union (AU) commununique such as the 28 states issue, a powerfully controversial topic.
This communique as well asks the UN Security Council to assist in applying consequences on parties determined to be obstructing the peace process. The 29 January communique asked parties to "faithfully implement" ARCISS while asking AU members and the International community to support peace plan implementation in a coordinated way.
Hate Speech and Media Manipulation
The message is forthright in regard to hate speech and message suggesting sexual violence (some of our leaders may pay dearly based on this lucid statement:
"Strongly condemning the use of media to broadcast hate speech and transmit messages instigating sexual violence against a particular ethnic group, which has the potential to play a significant role in promoting mass violence and exacerbating conflict, and calling on the TGNU to take appropriate measures to address such activity, and further urging all parties to desist from these actions and instead contribute to promoting peace and reconciliation among the communities"
Obstructions of Peace Provisions
The UNSC statement highlights the instruments that identify those who obstruct the political process or undermine the ceasefire agreement and impede the implementation of Peace in in the country:
AU PSC communique, 12 June, 5 Dec 2014; 29 January and 26 September 2015...
Here is where some South Sudan officials, ministers and advisors are likely to be designated for their actions and statement (for some, their lack of action)
The communique of the 28 Extraordinary Session of IGAD Heads of States agreed to collective actions as appropriate for violators, such as asset freezes; travel bans; and denying the supply of arms and materials that can be used in war. The AU and UNSC will support this punitive effort if needed.
The UN Security Council recognized the need for monitoring, investigation and reporting on human rights for establishing justice, accountability, reconciliation and healing among South Sudanese.
The Statement reaffirms the importance of women, peace, security, children and the protection of civilians in armed conflict plus humanitarian and United Nation's personnel. It as well looks closely at the issues of Genocide, security sector reforms and the protection of health-care workers and facilities.
It essentially condemns the attacks by government and opposition forces on UN and IGAD personnel and facilities as well as the detention and kidnapping of such personnel.
The Security Council expressed serious concerns regarding the Leaders of South Sudan commitment to the peace plan, given ongoing the hostilities and continued and flagrant ceasefire violations AND therefore demanded full and immediate adherence to the permanent ceasefire provisions while allowing full, safe and unhindered humanitarian access to workers and all those who are in need.
Violations of this issue have been recorded by UN, NGO and media, such as:
South Sudan: aid blocked while fighting spreads
This issue will hit several of the South Sudan Leaders in the face since many have assets in foreign countries. Those who continue to impede the various stages of the peace process, could be subjected to frozen/repossession of assets, travel bans and possibly international criminal charges (war crimes, crimes against humanity, corruption)...all possible if a Leader is believed to be not implementing Peace in good faith or impeding/obstructing the ARCISS to the letter.
Note: the Sanctions regime has been renewed for 1 year which should signal the global community has little faith in Leaders at this point in the implementation - given what has occurred in the past 6 weeks.
UN Panel of Experts - Beware Leaders!
For the uninitiated, the United Nations has created a special panel of Experts (three) who monitor the actions of South Sudan Leaders, individuals and entities regarding peace implementation, in particular looking for incidents of non-compliance.
Notable is the fact that if you are an individual or entity (private or otherwise)
which assists/fund/contribute/enhance or engage in action(s) linked to targeted persons directly/indirectly or violations of this resolution You are liable as well!
Profoundly - the Panel of Experts look at the following kinds of actions and policies (I see a couple of generals, ministers and diplomats falling under this section for their questionable work):
Some of the questionable behaviors:
(a) Actions or policies that have the purpose or effect of expanding or extending the conflict in South Sudan or obstructing reconciliation or peace talks or processes, including breaches of the Agreement;
(b) Actions or policies that threaten transitional agreements or undermine the political process in South Sudan;
(c) Planning, directing, or committing acts that violate applicable international human rights law or international humanitarian law, or acts that constitute human rights abuses, in South Sudan;
(d) The targeting of civilians, including women and children, through the commission of acts of violence (including killing, maiming, torture, or rape or other sexual and gender-based violence), abduction, enforced disappearance, forced displacement, or attacks on schools, hospitals, religious sites, or locations where civilians are seeking refuge, or through conduct that would constitute a serious abuse or violation of human rights or a violation of international humanitarian law;
(e) The use or recruitment of children by armed groups or armed forces in the context of the armed conflict in South Sudan;
(f) The obstruction of the activities of international peacekeeping, diplomatic, or humanitarian missions in South Sudan, including the Ceasefire and Transitional Security Monitoring Mechanism or of the delivery or distribution of, or access to, humanitarian assistance;
(g) Attacks against United Nations missions, international security presences, or other peacekeeping operations, or humanitarian personnel; or
(h) Acting for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, an individual or entity designated by the Committee;
Be Aware of Reports
The Panel of Experts will do two key reports, one on the flow of arms in the nation to both warring parties and any pending threats AND two, one on the situation regarding the implementation process by December 2016.
The Bottom Line for South Sudan Leaders
The UNSC message is clear: given the severe and atrocious war crimes perpetrated, and still continuing in Western BHG/Equatoria - if South Sudan leaders do not constitute a proper democratic govt now, and continue to impede Peace; its leaders will face the full force of international law for orchestrating one of the worst wars in modern history.
Prepared by Abu Deng, ig
Juba, South Sudan AFRICA
Woodrow Wilson Fellow in Public Policy and International Affairs