How to ensure victims' rights in the South Sudan Truth and Reconciliation Commission?
Updated: Nov 8, 2022
South Sudan's Peace Agreement of 2018 includes a chapter on transitional justice, which sets
out three mechanisms: a Hybrid Court, a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (CTRH) and a Reparations Authority. While progress on the Hybrid Court is yet lacking, there has been some movement on the establishment of a Commission for Truth, Reconciliation and Healing in 2022. The Agreement specifies that the Truth Commission should include best practices for promoting truth, reconciliation and healing from the African Continent and elsewhere, and that “the CTRH shall recommend processes for the full enjoyment by victims of the right to remedy, including by suggesting measures for reparations and compensation.”
Civil society and survivor groups recently submitted a paper on victims' rights to the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs of South Sudan. It sets out internationally recognised standards on the rights of victims of mass atrocity crimes in the context of the establishing a Truth Commission.
Public consultations on the establishment of the CTRH took place in South Sudan during April-June 2022, including consultations with some survivor groups. Survivors from across South Sudan came together in June 2022 to establish a National Survivors Network, and produced their own statement on the CTRH which was presented to Ministers in Juba.
A draft Law is being drafted by the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional affairs, and is expected in the last quarter of 2022. If supported with the necessary funding, the CTRH could play an important role in promoting truth telling, acknowledging the suffering of survivors and awarding them reparations.This paper looks at victims' rights in the African Human Rights system and unpacks rights to access justice mechanisms that include truth commissions, as well as rights to have redress for the violations suffered - whether or not perpetrators are convicted or even specifically identified. Victims can be acknowledged and receive administrative reparations whether or not there are trials - though seeing justice happen is an important form of reparation (satisfaction) in and of itself.
Read the full paper here.