South Sudan cabinet approves transitional justice mechanisms
Updated: Feb 12, 2021
Over two years after parties to the conflict in South Sudan signed a 'revitalised' Peace Agreement  , the Cabinet has finally approved the establishment of transitional justice mechanisms in accordance with Chapter V of the Agreement. Rights for Peace welcomes this important development. The government has given the Minister of Justice the green light to take the next steps to set up a Hybrid Court, a Commission of Truth, Reconciliation and Healing (CTRH) and a Compensation and Reparation Authority (CRA).
With political commitment and external support these mechanisms could provide a comprehensive opportunity for root causes and grievances to be publicly aired, laying down foundations for a peaceful co-existence of opposition groups in South Sudan. Crucially, they could address responsibility for and acknowledgment of widespread atrocities that have seen hundreds of thousands killed, thousands subjected to sexual violence and millions displaced.
Rights for Peace has been collaborating with members of the South Sudan Transitional Justice Working Group, that recently issued two pertinent analysis papers:
Justice Landscape Assessment reviews ongoing justice efforts addressing conflict related violence in South Sudan. In the absence of a Hybrid Court, there have been some fledgling attempts to address impunity for conflict-related crimes through mobile courts, military tribunals and the customary justice system. While a Hybrid Court is necessary to deal with the scale and nature of the conflict related crimes, strengthening and building confidence in the domestic justice system is also going to be critical to ensure livelihoods and re-establish the rule of law.
The Transitional Justice Agenda: Building a Foundation for Justice in South Sudan, assesses the process of implementation of the transitional justice mechanisms under Chapter V. Importantly, it provides guiding principles that were identified at a National Conference on Transitional Justice held in Juba in 2015. Principles emphasise impartiality, transparency, inclusivity amongst others. An analysis on timing and sequencing of the different mechanisms is provided, favouring a sequenced approach. As regards reparations, some concrete suggestions have been made, such as the possibility of identifying some pilot programs to address specific categories of victimization. These could include medical services, psychosocial support or educational opportunities in areas that have large concentrations of survivors. Such pilot programming could help build expertise and support for the feasibility of reparations in South Sudan.
The papers can be downloaded here:
 The Revitalised Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan was signed by parties to the conflict on 12 September 2018.
Photo credit: (c) some rights reserved Democracy Chronicles, 2016. Creative Commons License: CC BY-NC-SA 2.0