AU, South Sudan agree to establish hybrid court

By Deng Machol

Juba – South Sudan and African Union have agreed for the setting up of the hybrid court to try suspects of the war crimes during the long – conflict in the East Africa youngest nation.

The continental body has been crying for the establishment of the hybrid court to start its function in order to address the human rights abuses in South Sudan as resulted of war.

This was reached on Wednesday after one hour close door meeting between the South Sudan president Kiir and the delegations from the African Union Peace and Security Council in Juba on Revitalization Forum and the humanitarian challenges and development.

Speaking to the press, the African Union Peace and Security Council, head Amb. Bankole notes that they discussed with President Kiir possible setup of the Hybrid Court

“We have listened to the government and the government has reassured us of their commitment to the hybrid court. It is just a question of timing and sequence,” Adeoye said.

Meanwhile, South Sudanese Minister of Cabinet Affairs Dr. Martin Elia Lomuro further confirmed a government commitment to the hybrid court but he cautioned that the court should not be threat to peace process.

“We are not shying away from transitional justice or accountability but it must be done in such a way that the country is not destabilize further by introducing an element of the agreement that could be contradictory to aspiration of peace,” Elia said.

However, Amb. Adeoye further calls on the warring parties of South Sudan to go to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia for the third phase to achieve lasting peace in the country.

He says the AU fully supports the High Level Revitalization Forum to get harmony to the country.

“There is no plan B for us at this stage. The only plan we have at this stage is that a best window for peace must be exploited to the best before we can think of any option. What is critical is that all the parties including the international partners should support the peace process. We are all throwing our support through the IGAD – led process,” Adeoye told the press in Juba.

Of recently the East African bloc of nations IGAD said it had postponed this month’s talks aimed at securing the implementation of South Sudan’s peace deal, the latest bid to end a four-year civil war, without giving a reason or setting a new date.

IGAD, which was due to hold a new round of talks on April 26 in the Ethiopia capital Addis Ababa, and other international bodies have been seeking to resolve differences between the two sides, including working on the release of rebel leader Riek Machar.

South Sudan transitional government said that it will renew its mandate should the coming peace process fail to yield any positive results.

 “If the parties to the conflict fail to achieve peace we will have to renew the mandate of the transitional government,” Dr. Elia said. We cannot leave this government without mandate.The mandate is all about national unity and the sovereignty of the country. It is about interest of the people of South Sudan,” Minister Elia said, as argued allowing the mandate of the transitional government to expire is a “red line.”

The government seems to be taking other alternatives towards keeping itself in power if the next round of talks fail.

The IGAD is currently consulting with the parties to the agreement before the next round of the talks could begin.

The opposition alliance had also issued fresh demands stating that President Kiir and his former deputy Dr. Machar be excluded in the next transitional government.

The African Union Peace and Security Council has consulted with the government, civil society organizations and the faith based groups on their opinion about the next round of peace revitalization talks. The delegations has also visited the protection of civilians’ site in Malakal, Upper Nile region.

The bloc said last month that Machar should be released from house arrest in South Sudan as soon as possible, but on condition on that he renounces violence.

Civil war erupted in December 2013, when troops loyal to President Salva Kiir clashed with forces loyal to Riek Machar, then the vice president. Tens of thousands of people have been killed and much of the nation has faced dire food shortages.

The government and rebel groups signed the latest ceasefire in December in the Ethiopian capital, aiming to revive a pact reached in 2015. But the truce was violated within hours.

Despite several agreements and ceasefires, fighting has rumbled on in South Sudan with barely any break since first erupting at the end of 2013, just two years after independence.

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