A United Nations team in South Sudan has called on the African Union (AU) to expedite the process of forming a hybrid court to try perpetrators of rights abuses in the war-torn country.
The UN-backed South Sudan Commission on Human Rights concluded a seven-day mission to South Sudan, with a call for speedy formation of the hybrid court, and establishment of a truth commission by the South Sudanese government.
The setting up of the hybrid court by the AU is part of the terms of the August 2015 peace agreement, which aims to end more than two years of civil war in the South Sudan.
The three-member UN team held meetings with South Sudan’s officials on critical issues of accountability, and said the officials indicated their wiliness to cooperate with the AU on the establishment of the hybrid court.
The team said it will come out with a full report about rights violations during the civil war.
It expressed concerns for the diminishing work space for civil society members and journalists as well as restrictions placed on the UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan.
It was deeply concerned by the ongoing impunity and lack of accountability for serious crimes, human rights abuses against civilians, and the slow progress on the implementation of the provisions of the August 2015 peace pact.
“The reason they continue to happen is because of impunity and there is a real need to establish a mechanism to ensure accountability,” said Yasmin Sooka, head of the team.
South Sudan descended into civil war in December 2013. Tens of thousands of people have been killed and at least two million displaced.
The peace agreement signed in August 2015 failed to end renewed clashes between rival army factions that erupted in July.(Xinhua/NAN)