The signing of a peace agreement today by the Government of South Sudan is an important and vital step in ending the violence and addressing the massive human suffering in South Sudan. Amnesty International reiterates its call for both parties to embrace an unequivocal commitment to accountability for atrocities committed during the conflict to ensure a lasting peace.
“Both sides must uphold the terms of the peace deal in order to ensure that immediate steps are taken to bring those responsible for crimes under international law to trial and provide full reparations to victims,” said Sarah Jackson, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.
“Silencing the guns and signing accords is not enough – if South Sudan is really committed to ushering in a new era of peace and accountability, the international community must remain vigilant and take concrete steps to ensure accountability. The UN Security Council, the African Union and South Sudan’s neighbors have a crucial role to play to ensure that mechanisms established during the peace process are successfully implemented to bring perpetrators to justice,” said Sarah Jackson.
The Inter-governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Secretariat announced yesterday that the Government of South Sudan would sign the proposed peace agreement to end the conflict that has ravaged the country in a mini-summit in Juba today.
The conflict between the Government of South Sudan led by President Salva Kiir and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in opposition (SPLM/IO) led by former Vice President Riek Machar has gone on for more than 20 months. It is widely accepted that both parties to the conflict have committed violations of international humanitarian law and gross human rights abuses, including mass killings, rape and other forms of sexual violence, abduction and recruitment of children into their forces, burning and looting of civilian infrastructure, and obstruction of humanitarian assistance.
The first deadline for signing a peace agreement, March 5, 2015, passed with no agreement. The second deadline on August 17 saw the agreement signed by the SPLM/IO and a group known as the Former Detainees, but not the government.