Renewed violence underscores the urgency of bringing to account those responsible for crimes under international law committed during South Sudan’s armed conflict, said Amnesty International and International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) today, a year on from a faltering peace agreement.
The peace accord was signed on 17 August 2015 in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. It requires the African Union (AU) to set up a hybrid court for South Sudan to investigate and prosecute individuals suspected of committing genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity since the conflict began in December 2013.
“Last month’s return to violence underscores the need to seek accountability for the horrendous crimes committed and should bolster, not undermine, the pursuit of justice,” said Elizabeth Deng, Amnesty International’s South Sudan Researcher.
“The African Union must stop dragging its feet and take concrete steps to set up the court, including by immediately collecting and preserving evidence before it is lost and witnesses’ memories of events fade.”
Since the agreement was signed, the AU and South Sudanese authorities have made little progress in setting up the court. In the meantime, hostilities have continued and recently escalated, further worsening the human rights situation for millions of South Sudanese people.