Archive for: August 2013

Now to the International Criminal Court [ICC] in The Hague: PRESS RELEASE

Now to the International Criminal Court [ICC] in The Hague.

Press Release, AUG/06/2013, SSN;

Dear compatriots the gallant masses of the Republic of South Sudan and the friends of south Sudan worldwide

We the undersigned would like to bring to your attention that since the country became independent on 9th July 2011, the top leadership under President Salva Kiir Mayardit has led the country contrary to the aspirations of its people.

It is no secret that the new Republic of South Sudan has for the last two years remained top in the media, side by side with the likes of Somalia, DR. Congo, Sudan and the Central African Republic [CAR] where citizens have suffered and continue to suffer unprecedented human rights abuses in the world.

The brutal face of president Kiir’s totalitarian regime is demonstrated by the heinous events in Wau in Western Bahr el Ghazal state where unarmed demonstrators were maimed in cold blood by the very security agents supposed to protect them; the massacre of civilians coupled with the indiscriminate violations of human rights abuse in Chollo kingdom in Upper Nile State; and the wanton singling out of the Murle people for destruction in Jonglei state.

Juba, the capital city, has not been spared from these widespread human rights abuses which have now taken a systematic pattern. As government officials, common citizens and opinion writers perceived critical of the incumbent regime meet their fate through dubious disappearances, or being slaughtered without any remorse, or worse still face deaths through cold blooded assassinations, South Sudan is far from being governed by the rule of law.

The unfortunate fate of late Eng. John Louis Silvino, late Traffic Police Sargent Banyjioth Matoat Tap and the well-known civil rights activist late Isaiah Abraham, all speak very aloud of how government security agents dispense terror in a town which in fact is the seat of the new country’s government.

In Eastern Equatoria state, the Lakes State, and the Unity State citizens continue to suffer in the hands of state run squads under directives of the legal authorities and their associates.

In short, South Sudan is rapidly descending into a state of anarchy. And since no local independent and competent courts exist in the country to serve justice for the families of these victims whose numbers continue to rise daily as the perpetrators reassure themselves that no power on earth can stop them from these inhumane abuses, some bold initiative has to be sought to bring these abuses to a halt.

In line with all the above, we the under mentioned citizens have taken upon ourselves the responsibility to seek justice elsewhere for: the victims, and their living relatives who suffered and continue to suffer immeasurable pain as the result of the losses inflicted on them.

By so taking this route we too, believe that there lies a light of hope at the end of the tunnel that will lead to the eventual restoration of rule of law in South Sudan.

And as we put forward this press release, we would want to assure you that we have set the ball for justice rolling at the International Criminal Court [ICC] in The Hague.

Inspired by healthy debate in South Sudan Nation website on the issue of human rights abuse and our own values, we have now built a case and the legal process has started at the prosecutor general’s office as testified in the response from the court [see the attached correspondence].

Whether at this first attempt the case proceeds to a hearing or not, one thing we know for sure is that South Sudan from now on will be on the radar of the international community in general, and the ICC’s in particular and this petition will remain a precedent on which future cases will be built.

Let us keep our fingers crossed!

We now call upon all concerned citizens of South Sudan at home and in the Diaspora; and the friends of South Sudan worldwide to come forward to support this petition in any way possible.

Let’s stand up as believers in human rights, peace and justice to cleanse South Sudan from criminals. If we work together, nothing is impossible to change for the better.

Yours sincerely,

– Elhag Paul
– Dr. JAC Ramba
– Karlo Kwol Akol

——————————————————————————————-

BELOW IS THE LETTER ATTESTING TO THE ACCEPTANCE OF THE PETITION ABOVE BY THE ICC

Post Office Box 19519, 2500 CM The Hague, The Netherlands
Boîte postale 19519, 2500 CM La Haye, Pays Bas
Telephone / Téléphone: + 31 70 5158515 • Facsimile / Télécopie: + 31 70 5158555 • http://www.icc-cpi.int

Our reference: OTP-CR-242/13

The Hague, 5 August 2013

Dear Sir, Madam

The Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court acknowledges receipt of your
documents/letter.

This communication has been duly entered in the Communications Register of the Office. We
will give consideration to this communication, as appropriate, in accordance with the provisions of
the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

As soon as a decision is reached, we will inform you, in writing, and provide you with
reasons for this decision.

Yours sincerely,
M.P. Dillon
Head of Information & Evidence Unit
Office of The Prosecutor

Elhag Paul
elhagpaul@aol.com
Le Bureau du Procureur
The Office of the Prosecutor
Post Office Box 19519, 2500 CM The Hague, The Netherlands
Boîte postale 19519, 2500 CM La Haye, Pays Bas
Telephone / Téléphone: + 31 70 5158515 • Facsimile / Télécopie: + 31 70 5158555 • http://www.icc-cpi.int
Notre référence : OTP-CR-242/13
La Haye, le 5 août 2013
Madame, Monsieur,
Le Bureau du Procureur de la Cour pénale internationale accuse réception de vos documents /
de votre lettre.
Les informations y figurant ont été inscrites comme il se doit au registre des communications
du Bureau et recevront toute l’attention voulue, conformément aux dispositions du Statut de Rome
de la Cour pénale internationale.
Nous ne manquerons pas de vous communiquer par écrit la décision qui aura été prise à ce
sujet, ainsi que les motivations qui la justifient.
Veuillez agréer, Madame, Monsieur, l’assurance de notre considération distinguée.
M.P. Dillon
Chef de l’Unité des informations et des éléments de preuve
Bureau du Procureur
Elhag Paul
elhagpaul@aol.com
Le Bureau du Procureur
The Office of the Prosecutor

SPLM bigger than sum of our individual interests: Putting house in order

BY: Sabrino Majok Majok, Aweil, South Sudan, AUG/03/2013, SSN;

Now that President Salva Kiir has appointed the new cabinet which, in my opinion, is in line with current austerity situation, I would like to concentrate the gist of this article on issues pertaining to the ruling party, the SPLM. Before the Third National Convention is held, SPLM should focus on two main issues: 1- passing of basic documents and, 2- carrying out accurate registration of SPLM membership throughout the Republic of South Sudan.

When these two tasks are completed with satisfaction of all stakeholders, SPLM leadership should then design representative selection mechanism for Convention delegates, putting into consideration membership strength per State.

It has to be noted that there are many major problems that arise as a result of disregarding the above mentioned concerns. Take for example, the representation in SPLM National Secretariat, National Liberation Council and Political Bureau is disproportional if membership strength per State is to be considered.

This is why it’s imperative that SPLM leadership design new mechanism for representation which, in my humble opinion, should be based on membership strength per state as stated above.

However, registration of SPLM membership of 2013 shouldn’t be administered like the fraudulent 2010 census when historically smaller states were dominant over more populous states, hence qualifying the latter for more representation in National Legislative Assembly and Cabinet.

Therefore a misguided history must not be allowed to repeat itself when consequences of the said census are fresh in the victims’ minds, especially on distribution of national cake which is being enjoyed by a few.

If this imbalance of distribution of national wealth and power continues, those affected may feel excluded and marginalized: a sad replay of fundamental reasons why people of South Sudan took up arms in the first place against the successive regimes in Khartoum.

I want to emphasize on the importance of approval of SPLM basic documents, SPLM membership registration and holding of SPLM third National Convention.

1. Approval of Basic Documents
It’s urgent that SPLM passes its basic documents sooner than later so as to enable its existence as a legal entity in the country. It is needless to emphasis that such a historic Movement, now turned Political Party, can’t be run without legal or guiding documents which are currently in draft forms.

2. SPLM Membership Registration
In order for SPLM membership registrations and updates to be effective and creditable, many factors need to be put into consideration.
First, SPLM National and States Secretariats should conduct extensive awareness campaign across the country.
Second, adequate material and human resources need to be availed for this important exercise.
Third, the registration itself should be given enough time to execute the task fully.
If these factors are put into serious consideration, I am sure the past mistakes encountered during other important national exercises such as census can be avoided.

3. The Third National Convention
The holding of third SPLM National Convention is crucial. But SPLM leadership needs to rethink its plans and strategies in as far as forthcoming convention is concerned. From experiences of SPLM Second National Convention of 2008, I feel obliged to advice the SPLM leadership that the third SPLM National Convention should be held in historic town of Chukudum where the first and successful convention was held or in any other secured location outside Juba such as Yambio or Wau.

The reason for this advice is grounded on the fact that the conduct of the Second SPLM National Convention of 2008 in Juba resulted into unprecedented confusion. Because the convention was so diluted in such a way that majority of those who were not delegates to the convention converged on the venue and created unnecessary confusion and instigation.

Some of those uninvited “guests” acted as spokespersons for leaders or camps of their choice, hence furthering confusion days before convention commenced. In order to avoid similar problems, SPLM should choose a venue that is secure, isolated and free from unnecessary interference from non-delegates. And only creditable media houses should be allowed to cover the convention.

It’s my firm believe that if this recommendations are considered, the third SPLM National Convention will be successful and a lot of SPLM problems can be amicably resolved.

On current power struggle, there is no doubt in my mind that SPLM will prevail because it has proven records of triumphs over divisions and temptations throughout the liberation struggle.

Each time SPLM was tempted to fail as a Movement from 1983-2005, it quickly organized and prepared itself for the task at hand until Comprehensive Peace Agreement was signed in 2005 which culminated into historic independence of the Republic of South Sudan on July 9, 2011. It is therefore obvious that the SPLM will stand the test of ongoing turbulent or political wrangling.

Finally, the SPLM, being a liberation Movement turned political party of an independent nation for which people of South Sudan sacrificed enormously, should be a role model to current political parties and those aspiring to join politics.

As such, SPLM leadership should not accept to be divided over minor, sometimes administrative issues when there are established legislative and executive structures; namely, General Assembly, SPLM National Liberation Council and Political Bureau where such issues can be addressed.

In his speech marking Eighth martyrs’ Day, on July 30th, 2013, President Kiir stated: “SPLM is not about one person. It is bigger than all of us. We have a lot of people. SPLM is all of us and it is going to clean itself and those who will not be found fit in the SPLM formula should leave on their own or SPLM will throw them out. That is all because at the end of the day our people want services. They need roads; they need schools; they need hospitals; clean drinking water.”

As correctly observed by President Salva Kiir Mayardit, SPLM is bigger than sum of our individual interests. I commend comrade Salva Kiir Mayardit for exercising wisdom and patience during this rather difficult political situation in the country and for taking tangible measures to form a lean government for greater good of the people of South Sudan.

I equally appreciate comrades who were affected during the recent major cabinet reshuffle for accepting their relief with honor. After all, cabinet appointments and reshuffling are constitutional rights of the President and are normal exercise in every democratic country.

Sabrino Majok Majok is a former member of Anya–Nya II in the early eighties and joined SPLM/SPLA on May 15th, 1984. He can be reached via sabrino.m.majok@gmail.com

Was President’s relief of Machar & ministers an opportunity or disaster for SPLM?

BY: Gabriel Bul Yak & John Deng Jok, AUSTRALIA, AUG/03/2013, SSN;

South Sudan’s President Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit exercised his ultimate powers by removing deputy, Dr Riak Machar and relieving cabinet ministers. The move has sent different reactions to general public in South Sudan and around the world, and has triggered debate on whether the president’s decision presented an opportunity for government to come clean on many criticisms or it is just another recipe for political disaster for the SPLM party.

This article is intended to explore and analyse the opportunities and the threats of the president recent decision. In doing so, these words are opinions in which the writers choose to maintain impartiality by considering both sides of the argument.

1- Opportunity to revive the SPLM party

There are always two sides of the story, and if you are an academic thinker, you need to analyse both sides of the coin. In this regard, president Kiir decision to sack his deputy, relieving cabinet ministers, as well as downsizing the government could be perceived by analysts as significant political moves due to many scenarios:

First, Kiir and the SPLM party have been heavily criticised for losing the vision of the SPLM/SPLA and widespread corruption within the government, slow economic development, tribal conflicts and oil shut down crisis.

At the moment, there are mixed reactions from general public in South Sudan in which others has praised and welcomed the bold decision made by president as a way forward to bring an end to the continuous SPLM party ranking infighting, while others expressed their ultimate disappointment blaming president’s decision to remove his Vice as unjustified.

In contrast, relieving cabinet ministers through the dissolution of the government can break up the corruption circle that has bred within the country since the implementation of Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) to date.

Regardless of who has been removed, this is an opportunity for SPLM to start over again, and re-energise taking all the criticisms and lessons learned over the years into account to improve the party’s image by appointing new talented ministers based on qualifications and credentials or technocrats as proposed by president early this year, but not based on ranks or favouritism. If Kiir can do this, then SPLM vision of liberation, prosperity and peace can be restored.

Secondly, the president’s decision to beg his cabinet’s members to return $4 billion in a letter leaked out by media last year has no doubt done considerable damage to the president’s reputation. However, his letter was received differently by the international communities which questioned Kiir ability to run the country effectively without harbouring corruptions, protecting loyalists or caring less about poor citizens of the country.

His recent moves to dissolve the government can be seen as redemption to clean up the party and improve his prospect for 2015 election. Though one can’t assumed all cabinets removed have corrupted, but the fact that no one knows who is corrupted and who is not, warrants the president decision to dismiss them all to give room for fresh start if that was the intention for the president to restore SPLM credibility to meet citizens’ expectations.

Thirdly, the fact that Dr Machar is more educated than Kiir can’t be denied but we should also remind ourselves that there are good number of PhD holders in South Sudan who are desperate to serve the country as vice president.

Since the government was formed, there have been increasing tensions between Machar and Kiir about the way the country should be run given the fact that each of them has different ideologies dating back during the struggle. These differences on ideological formulation are still creating divisions within the SPLM party.

In any democratic society, the vice president assists the President in running the country by liaising with Executives Committee. If there are identified differences between Kiir and his deputy, they should find ways to discuss their differences instead of vice president running his own campaign in different countries to derail his own boss while it is not even election time.

This justifies Kiir decision to dismiss his vice and appoint a new vice president. Hypothetically, the line-up without Machar as the vice would provides a better outcome for the party and gives Kiir confidence to remain hopeful that SPLM will again survive as it did when Machar defected during the revolution struggle.

If SPLM had survived without John Garang, one can hope that it can also survive without Riak and Pagan or Kiir himself in the government.

Fourth, Kiir decision to retire some generals within SPLA and police is also an opportunity for SPLM party to live up to the task of conventional army and restructuring SPLA to become young and strong to counter any challenges of 21th century.

It could also be due to fear of an Arab spring especially the military action in Egypt. This move could be viewed as precaution to reduce military power build up in South Sudan which might otherwise lead to unforeseen ripple effect of military coup in the future.

Fifth, relieving Dr Machar could be seen as an opportunity for Dr Machar to form his own party to hold the government accountable by revealing all mistakes the SPLM party has covered up since the formation of transitional government rule by the SPLM.

In most democratic countries, opposition parties keep governments in check and accountable. However, lack of a strong opposition party in South Sudan may lead to dictatorship in the near future if Dr Macher fails to quit the SPLM party.

Either he can decide to remain in the SPLM and shut up or forms his own party and hold the government accountable for its weakness and loss of Dr Garang’s vision which might also give him a shot of victory over Kiir in 2015 election.

Political disaster for SPLM party

Kiir decision has triggered many questions about the nature of South Sudan democratic system.

If “democracy is defined as a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under free electoral system,” (Dictionary), then why did the president remove governors who were elected by the people?

This is contradicting to those accusations spelled out in the presidential decree that there are some cabinet members that have abused their powers while the president did the same by removing elected governors.

In democratic system, the state can petition the governor and recalls new election should the petition approved by the state legislative assembly. As stipulated in Article 101 (r) that the president shall:
“Remove a state Governor and/or dissolve a state legislative assembly in the event of a crisis in the state that threatens national security and territorial integrity.”

However, this specific section and other parts of the constitution just to mention a few have raised a lot of criticism about the nature and the validation of the entire constitution.

To compare South Sudanese constitution with other modern constitutions around the world, in what country can a president has such powers to remove elected officials “without approval by a two-thirds majority of the National Legislative Assembly?”

In contrast, the constitution seems to reflect the reality of a one-party rule. If this action was justified by the South Sudan democratic constitution, then what’s the point of electing States Governors through democratic means in the first place?

The fact that South Sudan is a more polarizing society in Africa, any political decision made by one person can always result into tribal division. President Kiir decision to relieve Machar may refuel deep-rooted hatred between the Dinka and the Nuer.

To make matter worse, suspension of the SPLM secretary-general Pagum Amum who is from minority Shilluk (Chollo) tribe may reinforces the claim that Dinka, who are the majority, control the power in South Sudan.

In conjunction with Pagum statement on Facebook that “Dictatorship is in the making” clearly suggested that the majority tribes decide what to do. People of South Sudan may wonder if the status quo is true or the claim is being exaggerated by political opportunists.

Even if these people are replaced later on by bringing replacement from their own tribes, it may do great damage to an already sick nation that is on the edge of collapsing.

Furthermore, Kiir’s action may add to already existing criticism about the direction the country is heading toward. Recently South Sudan was ranked fourth after Congo, Sudan, and Somali in failed states index by Fund for Peace and Foreign Policy Magazine (2013).

Depending on how this decision will play out in the near future, it may add some weight on social, political and economic impact and this could push South Sudan further on to the top of the failed states index.

Since South Sudan transitional constitution failed to provide clear limit on presidential terms, there is possibility Kiir will follow the footsteps of some African leaders such as Muamur Gadhafi, Daniel Arop Moi and Yoweri Museveni, who have clinked to powers for so long periods of time.

In this regard, Kiir’s decision could be viewed as politically motivated to get rid of his political rivals and nominate new loyalists so that he can remain in power as long as he wants. If this is true, then democracy in South Sudan will take long time to materialise.

President Kiir was credited of his amnesty policy to reunite the whole South Sudan. A policy that was praised and welcomed by the international community and people of South Sudan after renegade militia general Paulino Matip joined the government and was followed by other rebel leaders.

Finally, the president recent decision may create more divisions within the party and in the country where democracy has not yet been fully put into practice. In reality, such decision may be misunderstood and could trigger more tribal insurgency in the country. On the other hand, Dr Machar has been praised for his quick confirmation on Facebook that they have chosen to handle this issue peacefully and urged people to remain calm. We hope he and the rest honour their words to avoid repeat of 1990s.

The authors of can be reach at bbcyak@yahoo.com & johnjok2012@gmail.com

Political months ahead: Dr Machar could face ICC!

BY: BLESSED ABRAHAM, Sydney, Australia, JUL/01/2013, SSN;

It was just a matter of time before we would see vice president Dr Riak Machar out in the cold. Being in the cold once more, he will without doubt experience the extreme wilderness and the heat withal and may by himself realise how horrific being in the cold can affect.

In my first article [Justice thrown away: “who is who in the SPLM”], I predicted these tough times based on the former rebel commander’s rabble rousing speeches and the smear campaign he instituted behind the scene to remove his boss.

There is a saying that an early bird catches the worm. Likewise, there is also unforeseen casualty insinuated to it. That is, if by coincidence that bird comes across its predator, it will definably meet its fate.

Machar’s early campaign consisting of notoriety and absolute indeterminable criticism, spearheaded by a group of hooligans and people with corrupt tendencies, who by pledging their support unto him as a flag bearer to remove the President and seal possible investigations in their fraudulent activities, has now backfired.

This political turmoil that has eroded the state for months that divided the party and had affected service delivery which might not have pleased the president and the public whose welfare rests on the government.

The difficulties owing to the removal of Machar has nothing to do with him as an individual nor to the power struggle in my understanding, but had something to do with the interest of the party and the people, in fact no body is bigger than the SPLM in a literal sense.

Relieved from his duties prompts a question, why now? What was the president waiting for when Machar was busy campaigning against and dividing the party? Why did he make him vice in the first place?

Having referred to him as the “first comrade in arm” the president should have realised that something is wrong with that reference. What happened to one trusted cadre? Mind you, things are often hard and controversial in politics and you can really see some bad moves by bad guys when it comes to survival.

In the game of political survival, Dr Teny has been out-radicalised, out-popularised and ultimately out-positioned. The odds are staged against him because surviving from survival is a hard won trial that seems unlikely.

Although he will try to independently run or form a party to contest 2015 elections, he will only agitate for change and save his soul, that equally is arithmetical without an answer. Should he pin his hopes against 2015 elections, then he will have to fight even harder.

It is just a sad site, seeing men used to wielding so much power being publicly humiliated, reduced to sludge, isn’t fun. You just can’t but feel pity for Riak and Amuom, the damage they have done notwithstanding.

When someone starts saying, “the president was right to remove me,” when no one has asked them, you know it is rough out there. It is good to look back in order to look ahead, to check the previous wrongs and rectify things for the better future of our people.

Look left and look right to proceed with safety, isn’t something all people do. There are those who do not look back and look ahead nor look left and right. They amalgamate things to their peril.

If the move to remove vice president was about survival, then they will continuously keep him out to secure fundamental safety in the same way they would have done if that decision points to policy disagreements.

Of course, there are many people who think this decision is severe and would have faced different political approaches – by not removing Machar, but suspending him and hauling him before the disciplinary committee for bringing the party into disrepute and for dividing and campaigning against the party.

In the end, his actions will lead to expulsion or relief which can be examined differently if he is found guilty, but his immediate removal is a clear short cut for safety and a politically motivated one I believe, but it’s a right decision.

In fact, there are two most discussable and interesting scenarios in this saga, Kiir didn’t prioritise sacking his friend before the party’s convention, but it seemed there was unavoidable mounting pressure by his disciples, specially those who felt that Machar’s existence as vice was a risk to the president and to them.

They also know that the chances of keeping their positions may be ditched if Dr Machar Teny is elected president. The president was under siege to act before things fall apart.

First, an intention to remove him peacefully based on the so-called presidential decree is an advantage of being an incumbent. Second, to indict him regardless of the universal pardon issued by the party after the CPA was signed. By the way that pardon can be overridden by statute-defeated and void, exposing him to the helm of the ICC.

It would have proved difficult and could have caused a deep rift in the country and in the party, had he been indicted by the ICC while still in power, because he could easily use his power to campaign against a politically motivated move, publicly and in the government, which would not have been healthy for the country.

Now that he is out, his survival rests in his hands. It is twofold: if he fights back, he will crash and burn. And if he surrenders in defeat and sells himself as a sacrificial lamb hoping to be accepted into the family again, it will even prove more difficult for him because some sections will make sure he is kept in a complete wilderness.

It looks simple when we look at it that way, but it is not that simple as such. Machar is a politician never to be written off in the simplicity of our judgements and shallow discussions of self-favour.

Believe it or not, he will die trying. He will kick, punch and bite anything is necessary to survive. The public needs the president they can trust and who can deliver. If Kiir is hell bent on reserving too much power for himself without delivering to the masses, then his dethroned comrade will be able to capitalise and resurrect himself.

There is nothing unfortunate as having an insignificant bunch of political nonentities like Pagan Amum. Gosh! This man has sacked the sweat and the blood of our people more than we can imagine. A man for himself with allegedly millions and millions of stolen money. We didn’t want that for our country.

God and not Kiir have punished him because his time has come and he has to pay or leave in disgrace because he is not a part of that government and the people. He has drained enough.

He, like Machar, cuts a lonely figure, sad figure. The political engineering and embezzlement of public funds he allegedly did has been visited by mysterious Shiluk god ‘nyikang’ who told him he had embarrassed Shilluk’s dignity and integrity and that he will deal with him.

Indeed, this nonsensical Shilluk boy has embarrassed himself to the madness of SPLM, not the Shiluk community because his corrupt tendency has nothing to do with his community at large. Don’t celebrate too much for their demise though, for we don’t know when our turn will, because in this world you could easily become a victim of something you did not do but not in his case.

South Sudan is going through a first transition. This must not be achieved through crooked ways but through peaceful transition, in absolute transparency and honesty. The SPLM must rid itself of these crooks if it wants to achieve that transition.

BLESSED ABRAHAM is the Director of Young Christian Association of south Sudan.
He can be reached at blessedabraham28@yahoo.com.au