There were great expectations of South Sudan when it gained independence from Sudan in July 2011, at the end of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) and the National Congress Party (NCP) of Sudan in 2005.
The CPA paved the way for the January 2011 referendum that saw a resounding vote in for the South to secede and become the 54th member of the African Union (AU). South Sudan’s independence brought to an end decades of a civil war that is also arguably the longest within the African continent.
A little reminiscent of the Eritrea-Ethiopia split in 1993, the nascent state was plunged into an inter-state war with the North in 2012 over contested borders and oil, before it descended further into an internecine crisis in December 2013. This crisis stemmed from a power struggle between the president, Salva Kiir and his deputy, Riek Machar, whom he sacked, accusing him of plotting a coup.
The fighting that ensued between government troops and rebel factions in a milieu of human rights violations and other abuses, as well as the breakdown or violations of internationally-mediated peace agreement, including in August 2015, has resulted in thousands killed and led to the displacement of over 2.2 million people.
In a think piece titled “Reading the Report of the African Union Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan (AUCISS)”, Dr. Solomon Ayele Dersso provides an apt review of the report/s of the AU Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan (AUCISS) that were released on 27 October 2015, after a prolonged delay of 10 months of the completion of the investigations and seven months after one of the reports was initially tabled. He summarizes what the report contains and what it has to say about the conflict and the violations that ensued.
Dr. Ayele-Dersso sees the report’s value in the “comprehensive account for helping South Sudan build a shared memory that will serve to fight impunity”, giving “voice to the views and concerns of affected communities and various sections of South Sudanese society both about the war and its resolution” and laying “down the foundation for the transitional justice processes envisaged in the IGAD sponsored peace agreement including the proposed hybrid court and the commission on truth, healing and reconciliation”.
He concludes the piece by expressing the view and hope the AUCISS report ”…gives strong impetus for the implementation of the parts of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan relating to accountability and truth, reconciliation and healing”.
But this may be easier said than done. The peace implementation may be bogged down by mundane push-and-pull, peace versus justice tensions.
Read the AUCISS report at: http://www.au.int/en/content/african-union-releases-report-au-commission-inquiry-south-sudan