President Salva Kiir’s spokesperson has challenged United Nations’ claim that 41 senior civil and military officials were involved in war crimes and crimes against humanity and called to reveal their names.
- South Sudan’s presidential spokesperson, Ateny Wek Ateny (AFP)
“We were told that over 40 officers were implicated but the names were not given. We challenge the UN to come up with the names and evidence,” said Ateny Wek Ateny.
He further stressed that his government would hold accountable any official who committed proved crimes.
“If there is real evidence that points to crimes committed by those generals, then the government will leave no stone unturned,” he stressed.
In a report released on Friday, the UN Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan established the occurrence of violations during the past four years of civil war and identified those bearing responsibility for those crimes.
However, the presidential spokesperson was keen to say that such human rights violations would not tarnish the entire national army and its leadership.
The 2015 peace agreement provides to establish an independent hybrid court, to investigate and prosecute individuals bearing the responsibility for war crimes against humanity and violations committed in South Sudan from 15 December 2013 until the end of the transitional period.
However, no hybrid court has been set up as the government delays the procedures despite the signing of an agreement with the African Union in this regard.
The UN report details what it calls “appalling instances of cruelty against civilians who have had their eyes gouged out, their throats slit or been castrated”. It says such violence occurred during five major battles between government troops and rebels in 2016 and 2017.
In a statement issued on Friday, Seif Magango, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes said the findings of this report and the acts of shocking brutality should push the international community to accelerate efforts to end the horrific human rights violations in South Sudan.
The report’s findings of yet more acts of shocking brutality, including men being castrated, women gang-raped, children, forced to watch their mothers being raped and boys forced to rape their family
“They demonstrate the critical need to establish the Hybrid Court for South Sudan and to renew the UN Commission on Human Rights’ mandate, which is due to expire in March,” said Magango.