Victims, witnesses of conflict to enfold key finding

Members of the Technical Committee on Truth, reconciliation and Healing for the protection of victims and witnesses addressing the press during last day of the workshop. (Photo credit; Jenifer Jok)

By Ephraim Modi D.S

The Technical Committee for the establishment of the Commission for Truth, Reconciliation and Healing on the protection of victims and witnesses of conflicts in South Sudan are calling on groups assigned to carry out investigation on conflict related incidents to enfold key findings related to conflicts.

Speaking during the closure of the workshop, the Deputy Chairperson of the technical committee on truth, reconciliation and healing, Ochan Dominic said the team had been steering sessions with civil society organizations, civil servants, and general public to get their views on the creation of the body to protect victims and witnesses of conflict in the country.

The Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Justice, Ruden Madol Arol established the team earlier this year under Ministerial Order 002/2021 to consult citizens and get their opinions about the perpetrators, witnesses and victims to acknowledge the episodes of violence between them.

He said that the Technical Committee for the formation of truth, reconciliation and healing had been conducting seminars throughout the country to engage citizens through civil servants, civil societies, and ordinary citizens to bring ideas of citizens in the way they wanted the commission to be formed.

Mr. Ochan said that their duties are to get outcomes on the truth, reconciliation and healing from victims and witnesses and some key note on how one can be convicted as it necessitates concern of both the victims and witnesses.

“The truth is meant to come from the victims, and these victims in some certain circumstances, you understand we are human beings sometimes somebody expresses an idea against you and you don’t feel comfortable and you may not easily welcome and to back up that sometimes the efforts of the witness is necessary,” he said.

“In exercise on the duties of the commission, we need victims and witnesses, now as witnesses come and expose certain things together with the victims the payback impact in some cases if you can be compassionate and put yourself in the position of the victim, sometimes you will not feel comfortable and we want to retaliate revenge to do something against somebody who expose something that you might have done sometimes back very bad,” he added.

He said the commission is tasked to see that victims and witnesses to be protected for the truth to come out clearly.

Mr. Ochan said the training was meant to train different stakeholders including Civil Society Organizations to give them a clear recommendation in regards to

duties of the commission on truth, reconciliation and healing.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Chief of the Technical Committee Opio Moses highlighted on categories of people that deserve protection in order to provide genuine opportunity for their voices, ideas and experiences to be shared during the transitional Justice mechanisms’ investigation or any other aspect relating to commission for truth, reconciliation and healing or hybrid court on South Sudan.

He also pointed out that internally displaced are unlawfully apprehended, tortured, inhumanly and mistreated during time of conflict.

“We have victims of rape, gender based violence, victims of extra judicial killings and in general any aspect of insecurity that affect them,” he said.

Moreover, Mr. Opio stated that rule of the committee is to consult people on how they would be protected and specific measures they demand.

He said the committee is committed to keep the results of the findings as confidential, and alerted the press on the items to be hidden in relation to protection of identity of victims and witnesses (names, pictures recordings, etc.).

Dominic also highlighted on other mechanisms that include figuring out a suitable and safe environment while interviewing, the well-being and many others.

The establishment of the commission for Truth, Reconciliation and Healing in South Sudan, falls under Chapter V of the Revitalized Agreement on Resolution of Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan. (R-ARCSS).

The Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs is delegated by the R-ARCSS to conduct countrywide consultations in partnership with other stakeholders and civil society agencies.

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