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AU did little to set up transitional justice system – UNHRC

Author : | Published: Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The African Union has not done much in setting up the transitional justice system provided for in the peace agreement to bring accountability to victims of atrocities in the country, the UN Human Rights Commissioners have said.

They made the statement in a media briefing this afternoon following a 10-day assessment trip across the country.

According to the peace agreement, the African Union is supposed to take lead in the transitional justice process by deciding the forms tribunals to be used, identifying individuals to man the tribunals and funding the process.

“One of the keys to eventually solving this conflict – this very tragic and unfortunate conflict – is accountability; to break the cycle of impunity,” said Kenneth Scott, one of the three commissioners appointed to assess and report about the Human Rights situation in the country.

Mr Scott revealed that consultations will begin in the coming week between the African Union and parties to the peace agreement.

“We hope that it will pick up very substantial speed in the very near future,” he added.

For his part, member Godfrey Musila says reforms need to be made in the justice sector of the country if the transitional justice system should be successful.

“In fact, accountability; particularly chapter five of the agreement is unlikely to work without some minimal reforms in the justice sector,” Musila said.

“So as a commission, we are concerned about the state of institutions; that in fact, you will not be able to conduct investigations to preserve evidence without looking at the state of the prosecution authority in the country.”

The three member of the UN Commission, led by Yasmin Sooka expressed concerns about the human rights situation in the country.

They emphasized the urgent need for justice and accountability in South Sudan to bring to book those responsible for committing human rights violations in the country.

While in the country, the commissioners say they visited Malakal, Bentiu, and parts of the Equatoria region.

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