News, Politics

British lawyer defends his report on S. Sudan conflicts

Steven Kay, a British Lawyer and author of “Pushing The Reset Button for South Sudan” report (L), Ateny Wek Ateny, the President Salva Kiir’s Press Secretary(R) addressing journalists at the President’s office in Juba on Friday (Photo: Philip Buda Ladu)

By Philip Buda Ladu

The author of the report “Pushing The Reset Button for South Sudan” which the Government released as revealing that the 15th December 2013 and 8th July 2016 conflicts were attempted coups has come out to defend his report amid criticism of the report.

Steven Kay, a British Lawyer and the Head of the 9BRL QC Chambers in London was contracted by the Government of South Sudan to examine telephone intercepts given to him by the National Security Services in order to establish the facts behind the December 2013 and July 2016 conflicts.

Members of the main Opposition which its top leadership has been implicated in the report as the perpetrators of the attempted coups in December 2013 and July 2016 have come out to openly criticize the report calling it bias and one sided, made to favour the government.

Steven Kay told journalists at a news conference, Friday at the President’s office Juba, that it was not a surprise to him looking at his background that the Government of South Sudan wanted him to look at evidence that they had at their possession relating to evolving events of 2013 onwards.

“My experience had been that the analysis of such evidence is very important as it leads the way to the truth and when you get international institutions disregarding the word of the President, it is something worthy of examination to see who is telling the truth,” he said.  

“The President had spoken on many occasions about the fact that there had been two attempted coups, first of all the 15th of December 2013 and the 8th of July 2016 but it has been ignored by the international community and instead what we called a false narrative began to develop within the media and elsewhere it’s taken up by the international institutions and the truth concealed,” he noted.

The British lawyer said his analysis of the audio intercepts of the key participants within the conflicts of the 15th of December 2013 onwards is clearly set out in that report.

“You will see their words taken from telephone tapes of the major individuals who were conspiring to take power and do so with violence and they planned an attack and that attack is revealed in the extracts that I have put in the report,” Kay asserted.

He said there are far many more telephone intercepts that show even more plotting of the event, “but this is the essence of what took place and it reveals that what the President said shortly after wards on the 16th of December 2013 was in fact true”.

 False allegations undermine a society and undermine the confidence of the people in the society, they spread fear, they spread information that is distorted and it presents an image to the rest of the world that the society is at conflict with itself and that’s not a good thing.

Steven Kay said it was a great shame to him, looking at the work of the African Union Commission of Inquiry to South Sudan (AUCISS), that they did not take the time to analyze the telephone intercepts that he did, because they would have found their way to the truth.

 “The facts and truth can speak for themselves and that’s what I have sought to lay out for you that’s for the government, for the people of South Sudan and I hope that you will consider the content of that report and what it reveals and that the recent tensions instead can be calmed down and people on the basis of truthfulness seeking to reconcile and develop this society.

It’s not a question of me providing a report to suit one party but I was actually looking at it on the basis of whether there was evidence or not” he argued when asked of the credibility of his report that was commissioned by one party to the conflict.

Asked what guaranteed that the report is not biased, Steven said “the report is not one sided, the report just produces the facts, the report was not edited, it was sent to South Sudan without being edited by anyone from South Sudan”.

The report author rubbished media claims that he was paid 1.7 Million United States Dollars to write the report in favor of the government of South Sudan.

“Fake news about 1.7 million, I can’t respond to fake news because quite frankly to give respect to something that is a lie like that is not right, it is not the right thing to do,” he responded to questions surrounding the bribery allegations.

Kay said he believed that his report will be adopted by the international community; “I think they will consider the content of my report”.

“I would like to think that the UN institutions, the AU got the facts wrong, they have an opportunity to get the facts right, apologize to South Sudan, to its President” he said.

Kay argued that according to his findings in the report the root causes of the conflicts was not about ethnic violence but about seeking to take power and the Chairmanship of the SPLM.

Meanwhile Ateny Wek Ateny President Kiir’s Press Secretary said it is the best time to make the people of South Sudan to understand what happened in 2013 and 2016, because it is looking like there would be a recurrence of the same situation as those who were actually perpetrating the attempted coup in 2013 and 2016 are actively working to undermine the implementation of the peace agreement that they all now are implementing.

“So people of South Sudan need to be informed so that when a repeat of the 2013 and 2016 happened God forbids then South Sudanese will be able to understand who is actually perpetrating it, I think that’s why the report is timed to happened now not tomorrow,” Mr. Ateny said.

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