UK wants soldiers embroiled in killings prosecuted

By William Madouk Garang

The United Kingdom is calling on the government of South Sudan to arrest and prosecute soldiers who are finger pointed in Killing of Civilians in Southern Unity State.

The UK government lamented about increasing cases of conflict related sexual violence committed by both government and opposition forces.

“This year, hundreds of civilians have been killed or are victims of Conflict Related Sexual Violence at the hands of government and opposition forces,” statement seen by No1 Citizen Daily Newspaper reads.

“Horrific attacks in southern Unity State and ongoing violence in Upper Nile State are prime examples of this. There is need for urgent action by the South Sudanese Government to protect civilians and hold perpetrators to account,” it added.

The UK praised the OHCHR and UNMISS for their continuing technical assistance, but add that technical assistance alone will not lead to sustainable peace and justice without clear mechanisms for scrutiny and accountability.

Government of United Kingdom also acknowledged the Government of South Sudan’s extension of the 2018 peace agreement and accompanying Roadmap.

The UK calls on the South Sudanese Government to implement the peace agreement, especially chapter five to see establishment of Truth and Justice Mechanisms, Hybrid Court among others.

Last month, a joint human right report by UNMISS and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights documented gross violations and abuses of international human rights law in Unity State.

A joint report said more than 170 people were killed, 131 women among them girls raped in Unity State between February and May.

According to the report, the “violations occurred as a result of clashes between joint government forces and affiliated armed militias or groups, as well as elements of the SPLA-IO loyal to First Vice President Dr Riek Machar.”

However, Minister of Information, Michael Makuei rubbished a chilling United Nations report that implicates various armed forces in the killing of civilians in southern Unity State.

Minister Makuei termed the report “concocted” by those who are paid to write “what others want to be written.”

On the other hand, Makuei acknowledged the clashes in Unity’s Koch, Leer, and Mayendit counties but claimed the government intervened and resolved the inter-communal conflict.

The report, which covers the period from February 11 to May 31, 2022, the hostilities in southern Unity State affected at least 28 villages and settlements, with approximately 173 civilians killed, 12 injured, and 37 women and children abducted.

Many of the abductees were sexually abused, including girls as young as eight years old, with a nine-year-old girl gang-raped to death.

According to UNMISS, 131 cases of rape and gang rape have been documented, and roughly 44,000 civilians have been displaced from at least 26 villages.

It named joint government forces and allied militias or groups allegedly operating under the command of Koch and Mayendit county officials as the primary perpetrators of human rights violations and abuses. It also claimed that SPLA-IO carried out attacks in Mirmir Payam, Koch County.

the head of UNMISS, Nicholas Haysom said government is duty-bound by law to protect civilians, investigate allegations of human rights violations, and hold suspected perpetrators accountable.

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