Published: Mon, February 26, 2018
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South Sudan to hang S. African over aid to rebel chief

South Sudan to hang S. African over aid to rebel chief

As worldwide frustration with South Sudan's five-year old civil war grows, the report offers little hope.

More than 40 senior military officers and officials in South Sudan should be prosecuted on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity, a United Nations commission said Friday, citing harrowing witness testimony and thousands of documents tying them to mass atrocities in the country's four-year civil war.

Following the release of this report, the Commission will take part in an interactive dialogue on South Sudan in the Human Rights Council on 13th March 2018 in Geneva.

But the problem is South Sudan's government is unlikely to ever set up the court because its own military allies are thought to be some of the main culprits, reports the BBC's Will Ross.

South Sudan descended into violence in December 2013, after political dispute between President Kiir and his former deputy Machar led to fighting that pitted Dinka ethnic soldiers loyal to Kiir against Machar's Nuer ethnic group.

"Conflict-related sexual violence [in South Sudan] is endemic", the Commission said in its report on Friday (23 February). Tens of thousands of people have been killed and a third of the population have fled their homes.

The U.N. report details what it calls "appalling instances of cruelty against civilians who have had their eyes gouged out, their throats slit, or been castrated".

So far, there have been very few prosecutions of South Sudanese military or government officials for crimes against civilians. The same woman also had to watch her husband being castrated.

The report said numerous cases were "reminiscent of Bosnia", in particular the accounts of civilians who were forced to rape their relatives.

The commission collected 230 witness statements and 58,000 documents.

Among those identified are eight Lieutenant Generals, 17 Major Generals, eight Brigadier Generals, five Colonels and three state governors who may bear direct responsibility for violations of human rights.

Meanwhile, a separate report authored by the UN Mission in the country (UNMISS) and the Organization's human rights wing, OHCHR, indicated that undue restrictions on freedom of expression are having a "chilling effect" and further shrinking the space for debate and dissent in war-torn South Sudan.

Whether the investigators' evidence will result in prosecutions depends on the African Union. A 2015 peace agreement collapsed and a cease-fire agreement reached a year ago has had little impact.

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