Archive for: June 2016

Sensing collapse of the State as Judges and Teachers went on Strike; beware of possible strike by all public servants

By: Tong Kot Kuocnin, LLM, Univ. of Nairobi, Kenya, JUN/22/2016, SSN;

In my previous article titled ‘Economic and Political uprising are civil means to end Unproductive Governments,’ I succinctly explored in depth the economic hardships that befell on Tunisian to that befalling on South Sudanese. Truly, the economic hardships we’re facing are not less than the economic hardships and situation which caused President Ben Ali of Tunisia to flee, President Ali Abdullah Saleh of Yemen to leave office and flee and the great President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt to resign and put under trial.

The causes and conditions of this so-called Arab Spring which almost swept through the Arab world are not less than the economic hardships we’re facing in South Sudan. Our economic situation is much worse than that of the Arab Spring World.

Our unemployment rate is beyond hundred per cent level. Hundreds of south Sudanese go to bed with empty stomachs. Some are already dead and the rest are on their way to the graves. This is worse than that of the Arab Spring. The only difference is that we’re used to enduring hardships of all sorts meanwhile the citizens of the countries where the Arab spring burst aren’t used to this kind of situation.

The Bank of South Sudan has commercialized the dollar instead of keeping it as a medium of exchange. It has commercialized the dollar, making it an item for trade and not a medium of exchange causing hikes in almost every item on sale in the market.

Today, the rate of 1 dollar stood at 50 SSP, meaning that one hundred dollar is equal to 5,000 SSP causing inflation rate to double more than 300%. The two institutions, ministry of Finance and Economic Planning and the Central Bank have completely failed in tackling and strategizing the efficiency of our economy.

It seems that in South Sudan, everything runs on its own. Traders are selling and raising prices on their own, Central bank floating the rate of the dollar as it wishes unquestionably.

The luckiest rich few are manipulating everything from the Ministry of Finance with their so-called (sharab moya) commission to the Central Bank to the market at the expense of the downtrodden poor South Sudanese who have no ability to change the status quo.

The authorities both at the ministry of finance and economic planning and the central bank together with their cohorts are responsible for this economic downturn.

We entrusted hyenas with responsibility to look after our goats and sheep. We gave them power to roast any goat or sheep they wish amongst our goats and sheep. The country is left at its own whim to turn its economic downturn into economic boom magically.

We’re convinced truly that our government whether previous or current is indeed a boondoggled government. Where’s the Joshua? Or is he the driver of this vehicle that is taking South Sudanese to hell earlier than the days that God planned to them each at a time.

Let our government know that the root causes of the Arab Spring aren’t more than ours and that Arab Spring may inevitably ensue in this part of the world for we may be forced to violently demand our socio-economic rights to food and decent living like them.

We can’t permit others to enjoy live at our expense or resources that belongs to all of us.

Thus, if the president can’t think twice to bring in responsible personalities with expertise both at the ministry of finance and at the central bank, to turn things around, he must be prepared for eventualities for the people of South Sudan will not in any way continue to suffer at the hands of selfish and corrupt leaders who buy their positions at the expense of the people.

If Michael Makuei says that judges, teachers and other public servants who went on strike are working for the regime change, then how about those who steal 4 billion dollars which is still missing to date and, those who stole 30 million SSP and 14 million dollars that caused Mayen Wol and his associates a life imprisonment sentence, what were they working for?

Makuei must come to his senses and realize that it is no time that they play with our minds as they wish. There will be time when the people of South Sudan stand up to forcefully demand their socio-economic rights from these oligarchs and mafias.

We will surely touch these untouchable mafias and oligarchs who scoop all our money for their selfish enrichment unless they rescue themselves from these shambles.

I assure you, economic and political uprisings as civil means of ending the life of a repugnant and an unproductive government like the government of South Sudan will be inevitable.

Mr. President, this is a fact. Look at the faces of South Sudanese; listen to their voices on the streets on how they are suffering and you will dismiss this failed minister of finance who buys his position using public money and the weak, lousy and ailing governor of the Central Bank for the danger is haunting you and it will surely reached your gate if you don’t act swiftly.

The state is collapsing at your watch. Your government is at a stake. Act swiftly and salvage the country and its people.

The writer is a Master of Laws (LLM) candidate at School of Law, University of Nairobi. He can be reached via: tongbullen@gmail.com

Accountability is the vehicle for stability in South Sudan

BY: Dr. Lako Jada Kwajok, JUN/21/2016, SSN;

The alleged joint letter by the President and the First Vice President that was published by the New York Times couldn’t have come at a better time. It provided the South Sudanese people with the opportunity to know early on how committed are the principal parties to the issue of accountability as stipulated in the Agreement on Resolution of Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (ARCISS).

The revelation of the hiring of a public relations firm in drafting the letter and in ensuring its publication on New York Times shows how desperate the regime has become in its bid to evade justice.

Ironically, the government that has mistreated and accused some honest citizens of undermining South Sudan’s sovereignty finds nothing wrong in enlisting the services of a foreign firm in a matter that has far-reaching national security implications.

It’s unbecoming of the President to incorporate the name of the First Vice President in a fake letter without his consent. One would have expected the President to come forward and state his case before the nation rather than trying to share the responsibility of his actions and positions with his First Vice President.

It’s a bizarre and a fraudulent act at the highest office in the land. The scenario is quite damaging to the office of the Presidency, and as usual, under Kiir’s reign, we ended up being ridiculed around the world.

Three weeks ago, Daniel Awet Akot, the Presidential Advisor on Military Affairs criticised the international community for pushing for the establishment of the Hybrid Court of South Sudan (HCSS) as prescribed by ARCISS. He argued that it would derail the peace process and that it should be delayed, and priority should be given to reconciliation and to building trust between the parties.

But how can we build confidence while criminals are left on the loose?! And how long should the formation of the HCSS be delayed? Will it be for the entire period of the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU) as suggested by some supporters of the regime?

And should that be the case, will it not interfere with the expected elections in 2018? President Kiir, who is topping the list of suspects has already unofficially declared his intention to stand for election in 2018; will that not result in a serious conflict of interest and hindrance to the functioning of the court?

The HCSS is an integral part of ARCISS; hence, the postponement of its formation is in itself a violation of ARCISS. Either we have an agreement that needs implementing in its totality or we haven’t got one. Forgoing one of the pillars of the peace deal would leave the door wide-open for reluctance or refusal to honour the rest of the commitments and a consequent collapse of the whole peace process.

It’s a calculated attempt to water down the provisions of the peace agreement. Accountability does not cancel reconciliation or vice versa. Both processes could be carried out side by side if a lasting peace is to be realised.

It transpires that some are worried about individuals who may well be targets for indictments by the HCSS thus would pose a threat to the peace process as a whole. Whether these concerns are genuine or a sort of scare tactics employed by the regime – Justice cannot be held hostage by a bunch of individuals who may well be criminals and continue to hold positions of authority.

I believe the South Sudanese are not in a position to appease those who have committed war crimes and are certainly not afraid of what such people might do. Many countries went through similar circumstances as South Sudan but they did the right thing.

In Rwanda, where an estimated 800,000 people were killed between April and June 1994 in the worst genocide ever on the African continent – the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) was established on 08/11/1994 by the UN Security Council resolution 955. That was within 5 months from the end of the war. There was no such thing as delaying justice for the sake of building trust between the adversaries.

In the case of the massacres in the former Yugoslavia, the UN Security Council Resolution 827 for the establishment of the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia (ICTY) was passed on 25/05/1993, while the war was still raging in some parts of the country. The Srebrenica genocide where 8,000 Bosniak (Bosnian Muslims) men and boys were killed actually took place after the formation of the ICTY.

Therefore, the formation of the HCSS is most required sooner than later and is already overdue. Its establishment would bolster the chances of a genuine reconciliation between the communities as people would be encouraged to engage in a national dialogue for peace knowing that the rule of law is being upheld. It’s unlikely that a well-informed community would defend or hide a criminal even if he or she is one of its own.

President Slobodan Milosevic’ of Serbia, President Radovan Karadz’ic’ of the Bosnian Serbs and General Ratko Mladic’, the Bosnian Serbs Military leader were all extradited to The Hague to face justice for their roles in the Bosnian genocide through the cooperation of their people.

Some suspects may seem invincible to some people or they may think they are so but once the indictments are handed down by the HCSS – that invincibility would vanish in no time. As for those in the government who have threatened to follow the footsteps of Al Qaeda and cohorts – they should be mindful of the fact that the terrain in South Sudan is not similar to the Tora Bora mountain range in Afghanistan that facilitates hiding.

With the collapse of the economy and failure to pay salaries for the soldiers – our bogus Generals would likely find themselves on their own. The HCSS may have little to do tracking down the fleeing Generals as their soldiers would no longer be keen to protect them thus would rather hand them over to the court.

It must be clear the accountability we mean is the one that will bring all criminals from all parties to book. There should be no one above the law. It’s not just a matter of seeking justice for the grieving families and victims but is a moral obligation on our part as citizens.

It also sets up the foundation for a just, law-abiding and peace-loving society. Some may say atrocities have been committed since 1983, so why precedence is given to the December 2013 Juba massacre of the Nuer civilians than the others?

My answers to this valid question are as follows: Firstly, the HCSS has a specific mandate and jurisdiction that does not include war crimes committed before the December 2013 massacre.

Secondly, the trial of suspects for the recent atrocities does not negate setting up a special court for the previous crimes if deemed practicable. However, such a court would face insurmountable difficulties in collecting evidence for crimes committed over a quarter of a century ago. The forensic evidence has already been lost, and the credible eye-witnesses might have perished in the course of that war or indeed in the recent conflict.

Thirdly, the chances for the international community to establish a court for the previous atrocities are quite remote. The international law is based on precedents among other things. What happened before were atrocities committed by rebel factions in the absence of the rule of law. The international community has never set up a court in the past for trial of leaders of rebel factions. There is no precedence.

Therefore, such an undertaking by the international community is very unlikely. However, we do realise that some of the suspects in the previous atrocities are also suspects in the recent ones, hence, would not escape justice this time if proven to have recommitted crimes.

Many observers and even supporters have been wondering about what is going on in the SPLM/A-IO camp. The majority of the South Sudanese people would certainly give Dr Riek Machar a thumbs-up for his endeavours to reach out to the communities by delivering speeches at church congregations and private meetings. Organising public rallies would have been a much effective way of getting his message across to the populace.

He has been talking about reconciliation and the need for forgiveness which resonated very well with the majority of the people. However, it has been noted that the word accountability never came up in his speeches.

Despite the fact that the alleged joint letter has now been proven to be a scam, yet a cloud of suspicion continues to hang over Dr Riek Machar regarding his real position about accountability. A direct statement from him would have dissipated that cloud of suspicion immediately and for good.

It’s one thing when the Press Secretary, James Gatdet, refutes the letter and it’s another when the denial comes straight from Dr Riek Machar because it will not be merely a denial but a reaffirmation of his position.

The SPLM/A-IO leadership has much to lose with the delay or the abolition of the HCSS than SPLM/A-IG. In fact, Kiir and cohorts would like the HCSS to be no more, and should that happen; they would be the ultimate winners.

Therefore, the SPLM/A-IO should be wary of public support because it’s never absolute and could change rapidly simply because of lack of clarity or when politicians give mixed messages about important issues like accountability.

Dr Lako Jada Kwajok

One month on, no reprieve for Juba as donors remain tightfisted

By FRED OLUOCH, The EastAfrican, JUN/18/2016, SSN,

IN SUMMARY:

After one month in existence, the South Sudan transitional government is reeling from a lack of funds to run its operations.
Despite the formation of the transitional government, donors are demanding that the Central Bank and the Ministry of Finance tighten regulations and eradicate the dollar rent seekers, fight official corruption and wastage, and empower the National Revenue Authority for revenue mobilisation.
The South Sudanese pound continues to weaken and there is a possibility of currency crash unless a bailout comes from international community

;

After one month in existence, the South Sudan transitional government is reeling from a lack of funds to run its operations.

President Salva Kiir has blamed donors for going back on their promise to release the funds as soon as he and his rival Riek Machar formed the transitional government of national unity.

But the return of Dr Machar in April and subsequent formation of the transitional government has not unlocked aid money, as most donors — especially the US and the European Union — are demanding economic reforms and implementation of key provisions of the August 2015 peace agreement.

Aggrey Tisa Sabuni, presidential economic adviser, said the government had been negotiating with the donors over budgetary support but this programme was disrupted by the outbreak of civil war in December 2013 and negotiations have to begin afresh.

Projected oil revenue

Having reduced its budget by 6 per cent in the 2015/2016 financial to $3.6 billion, South Sudan was expecting grants of $54 million from donors to add to the projected oil revenue of $255 million and non-oil revenue of $76 million per month.

But global oil prices dipped from $115 to $46 per barrel, seriously affecting the country’s net oil revenues, as production also dropped from 350,000 barrels 160,000 barrels per day during the civil war.

By May 2016, oil revenues had fallen by 75 per cent to $60 million a month. Now, the country generates only $40 million a month in tax revenue.

Despite the formation of the transitional government, donors are demanding that the Central Bank and the Ministry of Finance tighten regulations and eradicate the dollar rent seekers, fight official corruption and wastage, and empower the National Revenue Authority for revenue mobilisation.

South Sudan charge d’affaires in Kenya Jimmy Deng said that the partners in the unity government have agreed on programmes for economic recovery and national reconciliation.

“Our international partners are not forthcoming with their pledges for financial assistance. We are trying to harness our internal resources from taxes and Customs duties to meet some of the obligations but they are either limited or not enough to implement all the programmes,” said Mr Deng.

James Gatdet Dak, press secretary in the Office of the First Vice-President, said that despite the executive arm of the transitional government having been formed over a month ago, it is still a skeleton because parliament is yet to be reconstituted and the National Constitutional Amendment Committee lacks funds to begin its operations.

But Jacob Chol, the head of political science department at the University of Juba, told The EastAfrican that donors are not showing any signs of releasing money soon because the transitional government is yet to provide a concrete blueprint to reform the economy.

The South Sudanese pound continues to weaken and there is a possibility of currency crash unless a bailout comes from international community.

“These days, in Juba, if you go to a restaurant, you have to pay for food in advance, as the price may change before you finish your meal,” said Mr Chol. END

Stolen Assets Must be Returned to the South Sudanese People

Statement from John Prendergast and Brian Adeba,
Enough Project, June 16, 2016;

Recently, the president of South Sudan, Salva Kiir, called for global support to recover assets stolen by South Sudanese elites and deposited into foreign bank accounts or spent on purchasing properties in foreign countries. This is not the first time President Kiir has expressed a desire to tackle elite corruption in his country. In past cases, however, there has been no effective follow through, leaving the situation unchanged and the stolen assets in the hands of those who stole them.

This time it can, and should, be different.

President Kiir could demonstrate his commitment to action by giving real autonomy and support to the domestic agencies that are authorized to counter corruption and by operationalizing collaborative efforts between his government and international agencies. Both of these steps would work only if independent investigators were allowed access to financial information of top officials of the government, right up to the presidency. If instead anti-corruption efforts become a tool to target political opponents, it will have no impact on good governance and only serve to undermine confidence in future anti-corruption initiatives.

Recent news of convictions in a case involving the reported theft of $14 million from the presidency is encouraging, but questions abound as to how such an effort will be followed up and further high-level corruption will be targeted.

In order for President Kiir’s call for global support for asset recovery, specific steps could be taken by his government that would lay the groundwork for meaningful implementation. His government could:

1— Issue an official request for global assistance in asset recovery, specifically to the governments of the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, and Kenya. President Buhari of Nigeria recently issued a similar request, and this type of request helped to spur an effective asset recovery process in Kazakhstan.

2— Spearhead and fully resource an independent audit of government departments suspected of massive leaks of funds both before and during the conflict, including his own office.

3— Task government agencies with implementing mechanisms to enforce banking and procurement transparency. In particular, procurement transparency should include requirements for the publication of contract amounts, beneficial ownership information, and other pertinent data, in line with the principles of the Open Contracting Partnership.

4— Ensure that civil society and media organizations focused on investigating and reporting on corruption can do so in a safe space without fear of retribution.

With these steps taken, the U.S. and other governments should respond by providing tangible assistance to investigations through the Department of Justice’s Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative and, for transactions that appear to have been conducted in U.S. dollars, through investigative tools available to the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. The State Department should prioritize this assistance in engagement with other countries critical to the asset recovery process, and USAID should evaluate effective means to support critical institutions.

President Kiir has opened up a critical conversation just as he did in 2012 when he addressed a letter to 75 top officials asking for the return of $4 billion that were stolen and taken out of the country. Since that time, the looting has continued and too often anti-corruption measures have been used as a political tool to target political opponents.

The Transitional Government of National Unity will need to address serious economic, humanitarian and political challenges and will need the support of the donor community. Demonstrating that graft and corruption will no longer be tolerated is an essential element in building back trust.

In order to set South Sudan on a new path forward, we call on President Kiir to show the South Sudanese people and the international community that he means what he says and that The Transitional Government of National Unity will act on these words in the interest of the people. The era of impunity can be brought to an end, restoring investor and donor confidence as well as laying the groundwork for a lasting peace.

For media inquiries or interview requests, please contact: Greg Hittelman, Director of Communications, +1 310 717 0606,gh@enoughproject.org.

About THE ENOUGH PROJECT
The Enough Project, an atrocity prevention policy group, seeks to build leverage for peace and justice in Africa by helping to create real consequences for the perpetrators and facilitators of genocide and other mass atrocities. Enough aims to counter rights-abusing armed groups and violent kleptocratic regimes that are fueled by grand corruption, transnational crime and terror, and the pillaging and trafficking of minerals, ivory, diamonds, and other natural resources. Enough conducts field research in conflict zones, develops and advocates for policy recommendations, supports social movements in affected countries, and mobilizes public campaigns. Learn more – and join us – at www.EnoughProject.org

To Salva Kiir and Riek Machar: Don’t promote amnesty for killers

By: Dr. Remember Miamingi, South Sudanese, Univ. of Pretoria, South Africa, JUN/17/2016, SSN;

IN SUMMARY: What has most destabilised South Sudan is not fear of justice, but perpetual impunity and the rewarding of war crimes with power and wealth.

In December 2013, South Sudanese soldiers of Dinka ethnicity, under the command of President Salva Kiir, went on a house-to-house rampage shooting, hacking and decapitating defenceless men, women and children of Nuer ethnicity. Many who tried to escape were herded together into grass-thatched-houses, which were doused with kerosene and set alight. Others were handcuffed and thrown into the River Nile.

A rebel movement under the leadership of former vice president Riek Machar reacted by mowing down several others, decapitating the bodies of those killed, amputating the limbs and raping children and women. These chilling eye witness accounts were documented by the UN, AU and other human rights organisations and media outlets.

A peace deal was finally signed in August last year, which called a Truth and Reconciliation process as well as an international tribunal, the Hybrid Court for South Sudan, which would punish those found guilty of war crimes. On June 7, Mr Kiir who remains South Sudan’s president, and Dr Machar, who is once again First Vice President, co-authored a New York Times Op- Ed piece arguing that the Hybrid Court should be scrapped in order for the country to move on and rebuild. The Truth and Reconciliation process would provide healing, they wrote, but disciplinary justice would only open old wounds.

I beg to differ. What Kiir and Machar are suggesting is amnesty for the killers, and denial of justice for the victims in the name of stability. This is blackmail. Certainly, South Sudan’s people and the rest of the world need to know the truth, but Truth and Reconciliation Commissions should not serve as veils to protect truth-telling-criminals. In any case, many of the details of the worst abuses are already in the public domain. For Kiir and Machar, reconciliation and justice is a zero-sum game.

In their Op-Ed, Kiir and Machar cite the examples of Northern Ireland and South Africa, both of which help Truth and Commissions, but not trials. The assumption that these models worked and on the basis of a blanket amnesty provision is misleading. In both cases, the quest for accountability remains the unfinished business of these societies threatening to further destabilise these countries, especially in the South African case.

In 2009, Eames-Bradley Report recommended justice through accountability for Northern Ireland. In South Africa, the TRC recommended prosecution as a complementary mechanism to its mandate. In addition, the context and the nature of the conflicts in these two countries are also different.

It is not true that the quest of accountability through trial is unavoidably destabilising. Sierra Leone and Rwanda provide examples where trials did not lead to return to war. In Sierra Leone, the Hybrid Court tried individuals bearing the greatest responsibility for international crimes. In Rwanda, in addition to a UN Criminal Tribunal, the Rwandese government conducted mass trials using traditional mechanisms. These two countries are still stable today.

What has most destabilised South Sudan is not fear of justice, but perpetual impunity and the rewarding of war crimes with power and wealth. Can we really trust these two men to preside over a process that provides healing and justice to their victims?

It was the failure of Kiir and Machar to talk in the first place that led to the brutal war and to its prolongation. How can the two now say the world should leave them to talk their way out of criminal culpability and expect the world to trust them? And will powerful nations fail to respond firmly to those who sent thousands of children and women to their untimely graves?

Dr Miamingi is a South Sudanese and a human rights practitioner. He is affiliated with the Centre for Human Rights at the University of Pretoria.
remember.miamingi@gmail.com

Miscarriage of Justice: Life Jail terms for the 16 junior employees of State House, Juba

BY: Deng Lueth Yuang, BA, MA (Economics), CALGARY, CANADA, JUN/16/2016, SSN;

Frankly speaking, most of those sentenced to life imprisonment are Dinkas from President Kiir’s own Dinka tribe. Some could be his own clansmen. Some from other Dinka sub-tribes, a few Kenyans and/or 1 or 2 persons from the Equatoria region (Non-Nuers, but from a place with an amalgamation of minority tribes in South Sudan).

In brief, my early studies indicated that handing down such kinds of judgement in the annals of a South Sudan’s nation are contrived. Talk about the SPLA/M vision – towns to the people, Riek Machar’s coup de’tat and 75 public thieves! Nothing happened for a real cause but just a mere public stunt.

To my surprise, most of these men and women were used, accepted to be used and connived with some top dogs in the president’s office to use their ‘assigned’ VIPs official positions [not meritorious but quackery) within the presidency to amass ill-gotten wealth for their own future prosperity.

Here are the fundamental reasons:
1) Most of them had conflict of interest. Both the executive director, Mayen Wol, and his deputy, Yel Luol, hail from one ‘locality’; Chaat Paul with his daughter, Anyieth and husband Agou Wuoi, used their status within the president office; the Kenyans being IT/computer experts and their owners facilitated president’s fake signature and the rest of the parties used their wittiness, connections and job status to help their bosses who wanted to get rich quick.

2) Is Pres. Kiir’s assent to sign any letter/memo seeking financial intervention from the highest national organs of government such as the Treasury and Central Bank a MUST so that it goes through – without prior investigations and approvals by a legitimate body or person(s) assigned to act upon it especially an accounting officer from his office to sign and present it to an appropriate authority for such transactions to be verifiably honored – needs checked, costs cross-checked and proper withdrawals made within the confines of the Presidency Budget not the Treasury or Central Bank, private banks, forexes, etc. Smell fishy deals here.

3) I heard that there are other 14 ‘lemons’ from Treasury/Finance Ministry and Central Bank who conspired with those 16 caged animals. Where are they? They could bear the highest administrative ‘criminal’ responsibility for condoning such sinister behaviors.

4) When and how did Pres Kiir, himself, become a controller of budgets in his own office – a head of state; a father and a husband; an SPLA commander in chief; a general; a chief justice, etc.?? I smell a rat here.

5) When you can imprison a junior staffer who was insidiously intimidated, forced and/or coerced by a senior officer to conduct such a scandal on his own behalf – what will happen to those big papas and mamas who pres. Kiir wrote the letters to return back $4 billion they ran away with from 2005-2010?

Some of them are still serving this same government up to date. Some are living at large and have fled the land to live in mansions they bought with stolen money abroad. And some are rebels fighting this same government so that they acquire plum government appointments, not the public grievances they seem to echo.

6) Were proper investigation mechanisms employed? Handing a life imprisonment verdict is an unfair sentence especially if one didn’t take another person’s life. Some could be the main perpetrators while the rest were subsidiary/subservient – just recruited to act on behalf of the big fishes! Basic charges that way. It is jurisprudential. Fair enough.

7) Was any recovery of the alleged stolen money (14 million dollars) done? If so, why life in prison? Give a one, two or a 5-year sentence to stay behind bars so that such corrupt incidents won’t occur in the future.

8) If these scandal cases can happen in the highest office on the land – the president’s office – how many such cases are happening daily in each level of the governments – states, ministries, counties, private sector, chief’s, etc?

9) Was the presiding judge and prosecuting officers compromised and/or sub-judicious – functionally semi-literate and inexperienced? Or was there a discriminatory application of their constitutional obligations with biasness based on tribal and age inclinations?

10) Why is Pres Kiir becoming an inimical and a polemical character in all dirty games taking place these days in the country? Do his handlers really understand how unpopular a president can become to win an election or people’s hearts; how a democracy other than dictatorship is the best governance system in the world today?

Interestingly, nowadays, as Charles Darwin once stressed: only the strongest survive.

Disclaimer: The writer has got no grounds in law. He used available data to put up such analysis…

Mr. Deng Lueth Yuang studied Economics (BA and MA) and has more understanding of how such economic and financial crimes can take place anywhere and everyday.

South Sudanese expect Dr. Riek Machar to Deliver: Can he really meet people’s expectations?

BY: James Nguen, CANADA, JUN/13/2016, SSN;

Since Dr. Riek Machar returned to Juba, South Sudan, early this year after signing a peace accord with rival Pres. Salva Kiir in August 2015, various South Sudanese communities have been visiting Machar at his makeshift residence outside Juba centre.

One can tell that people are expecting so much from a man who ran for his life in Juba 2013 but returned to the sin city as a saint in 2016 despite constant negative whacking from belly politicians who wanted nothing but booties, though there is nothing at this point.

For one, South Sudan as a country was ransacked through appeasements and war. The common men and women who are visiting Machar daily see no miraculous exit from the establishment (government). So South Sudanese Communities expect Dr. Riek Machar to deliver and somehow meet their expectations.

The million dollar question is can Machar really meet people’s great expectations?

No one outside Machar’s inner circle can resoundingly answer this question. However, we can only assume, mesmerize and also take a critical look on the IO’ programs and their political space in Juba.

In the meantime, without question, people of South Sudan are starving across the country. Yet, when communities visited Machar in his residence, they dance, sing songs and present well-perfected gifts in the blistering heat amidst jubilation.

Knowing my people well, they are tired and expect Machar to promise them salvation, but Machar is too skilled to venture into such debased hope to which the end of the rope rest at someone’s else prerogative.

In terms of exclusive power, Dr. Riek Machar never had a chance under one all-South Sudanese umbrella, to exercise such power for people to distinctively and independently know his intentions. What has the man in store for his people and country when he always served as a subordinate and his authority is always capped?

During people’s visitations or him (Riek) visiting them, Machar has this far preached peace and that peace has come. There are limitations, however. In my view, there is so much Machar and his camp can do. Which empathized the point that this peace cannot be sustained one-sided.

Machar’s partner in the agreement wanted “justice and accountability” to be scrapped. Such a position hasn’t gone well with people of South Sudan, whether government’s supporters or not. In short, it’s an unpopular demand. People across the board wanted justice and accountability to prevail in South Sudan.

Pres. Salva Kiir’s press secretary, Ateny Wek Ateny, proposed that justice and accountability will make the killers to rebel again when the hybrid court for South Sudan is implemented. President Kiir himself didn’t refute this stand. I assumed he is on board.

Also, President’s military advisor, Daniel Awet Akot, has recently asked the South Sudan hybrid court formation be delayed. This statement came before the New York Times’ op-ed. One can conclude that these two events are connected and it’s Mr. President’s position.

Machar’s positive mingling with the South Sudanese communities at his residence never made it to the South Sudan Broadcasting Corporation (SSBC), simply because the management is in opposition to the first vice president’s efforts to plant hope in people’s hearts.

Not only that, some government’s officials still talk ill against the First Vice President, yet, this man is their boss. For example, almost two weeks ago, South Sudan’s Deputy Ambassador, Baak Wol posted a fabricated video of 58 minutes. That video was shortly removed by Baak Wol after 3,000 plus views. The video titled “Riek Macahr’s war victims in Jalle and Kolyang.”

Further, Mr. Gordon Buay Malek, a South Sudan’s ambassador stationed in Washington DC at the South Sudan embassy has called on FVP, Machar to response to the fabricated New York Times’ op-ed.

Though, the video was pure fabrication and Mr. Buay is considered a mad man, I expected a strong response from the First Vice President’ camp. However, I didn’t see any reaction from Machar’s inner circle yet that video and many others were intentionally made to undermine Mr. Machar’s authority. You can call it a resounding subordination in its purest ugly form.

Therefore, in part, if Dr. Riek Machar can allow people who should report to him tarnish his character through pure fabrications and lies at will without any consequences, then, we should be worried about him meeting people of South Sudan tall expectations.

However, for this worry to cease, I strongly recommend toughness, a bold change of strategy and approach from Mr. Machar’s camp as they address issues of importance. For example, holding government’s officials to account for their misguided actions and behaviors must be Mr. Machar’s first priority and a step to grace or storing people’s confidence.

J. Nguen is a South Sudanese living in Canada. He can be reached at jamesnguen@gmail.com.

Pres. Kiir’s ‘officials’ sentenced to serve life in jail for $14m theft: Breaking News

AFRICAN REVIEW, JUN/13/2016;

South Sudan High Court Monday sentenced at least 16 government officials to life in prison for embezzling public funds.

The officials reportedly occasioned the loss of more than $14 million from the Office of the President.

Those jailed are former employees at the State High Office of President Salva Kiir.

Corruption scandals: The Juba court was presided by High Court judge, Lado Erminio, who passed the life imprisonment sentence on the 16 government officials.

Their names and positions are:

1- John Agou Wuoi, Security officer; according to the investigator, Agou used his position at the Office of the President and his Click Company to receive 14 million US dollars and 30,994,832 SSP to Kenyan account operated by his wife;
2- Anyieth Chaat Paul,
3- Yel Luol, Pres. Kiir’s Chief Office Administrator
4- Chaat Paul, Director of communications
5- Mayen Wol, Pres. Kiir’s Executive Office Director
6- Diing Ajieng,
7- Nhumot Agot, Controller of Accounts
8- Ana Kalisto, Accountant, office of the president
9- Kur Ayuen,
10- Garang Aguer,
11- Francis Yata, Employee in ministry of finance
12- Anyang Majok Ayuen, Cashier at Central Bank
13- Anthony Madimo,
14- Anthony Dia,
15- Raphini Jadada and
16- Lisiuma

These sentenced officials were found to have stolen the money in a coordinated process.

President Kiir in June 2015 issued administrative orders suspending the executive director in his office, Mayen Wol and Yel Luol, chief administrator, who were until Monday sentenced to spend the rest of their lives behind bars.

‘‘The accused [persons] abused their power and misuse their positions and violated financial rules and regulations by committing breach of trust,” said prosecutor Achuil, reading from a charge sheet before high court judges in Juba.

“The prosecutor also proved to honorable court that the above financial documents have been endorsed and signed by the accused, Yel, the executive director in the Office of the President, with the consent of the accused, Mayen, the Chief Administer in the same office,” he further said.

According to the prosecutor, the repeated fraudulence led to the stealing of over 14 million US dollars in the name of the president.

Another amount of 30 million South Sudanese pounds (SSP), roughly equivalent to 8 million US dollars of the official exchange rate at the time, was also stolen in the name of President Kiir with the knowledge of the lead suspects, Yel and Mayen, helped by 14 other officials from the Office of the President, the Central Bank and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning.

“Furthermore the prosecutor will also call the witnesses who will testify that the directive and signatures found in the financial forms have been audited by the auditors were used by the accused Yel,” the prosecutor said.
South Sudan, the world’s youngest nation, has been struggling with major corruption scandals since it seceded from Sudan in 2011.
(More details to follow)

Why the Seat of Hybrid Court for South Sudan should be situated in South Sudan

By Tong Kot Kuocnin, Lawyer, NAIROBI, JUN/11/2016, SSN;

Successive crises have beset the Republic of South Sudan since its independence from Sudan marked by rising militias and warlords fighting for petty interests and demands. The most recent and more devastating one is the conflict which erupted on 15th of December 2013, due to failure of the SPLM leadership to amicably settled the procedures and mechanisms of voting within the SPLM primaries if need be, causing untold suffering and unspeakable human and material destruction.

While the virulence of the violence which shook the country transcended into unprecedented scale in particular, its tribal dimension around which the events crystallized constituted just one episode in a thorny political and security crisis resulting into the signing of the Compromise Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan in August 2015.

In the Agreement, chapter V, article 3, ushered in the establishment of an independent Hybrid Judicial Court for South Sudan thus far known as “The Hybrid Court for South Sudan (HCSS).”

The court shall inter alia be established by the African Union Commission to investigate and prosecute those bearing the greatest responsibility for the violations of international law and/or applicable South Sudanese laws committed from 15th December 2013 through to the end of the Transitional Period.

The terms of the HCSS shall therefore conform to the terms of the Agreement and African Union Commission (AUC) shall provide guidelines relating to and including the location of the HCSS, its applicable jurisprudence, infrastructure, funding and enforcement mechanisms, number and composition of judges, privileges and immunities of the court personnel and other related matters thereto.

This is, however, the theme of this article, ‘why the seat of the Hybrid Court for South Sudan should be located in South Sudan’s territory.’

It is apparent that hybrid courts are set up in transitional states, following a time in which serious crimes have been committed on a large scale during the armed conflict and where the national justice system is unavailable or incapable of conducting trials adequately, neutrally, impartially and independently.

Moreover, since hybrid courts can be given under both crimes under international law and domestic crimes, they may cover a more extensive catalogue of crimes than purely international or purely domestic courts.

Hence, to have the seat of the hybrid court for South Sudan situated in the country’s territory has a lot of jurisprudential benefits because working alongside international judges, prosecutors or lawyers and national jurists are likely to gain valuable legal expertise and experiences because trials taking place before international court removed from the state concerned cannot promote local capacity building which is particularly desirable in post-conflict states like South Sudan.

Similarly, the prosecutions of crimes under international law with help of international community and international experts are instrumental in the promotion of the norms of international law on the national level.

This not only includes norms of substantive international criminal law, but also fair trial standards but it points to the fact that a hybrid court established in the state concerned is moreover a practical advantage.

Unlike international courts that are far removed from the commission state such as the ICTY, ICTR or the ICC, the hybrid courts have more direct access to local witnesses and other evidences.

With hybrid court located in the commission state, there are fewer logical obstacles involved, which in turn results into low costs and speedier proceedings.

Moreover, the applicability of national law and the involvement of national personnel can ensure that domestic legal culture and corresponding expertise are represented.

At the same time, the involvement of the international community counteracts perceptions of bias and lack of impartiality that may be associated with trials carried out by judges and prosecutors who had worked under a prior repressive regime.

Thus, the combined national and international elements can be instrumental in ensuring that the proceedings are perceived as legitimate and impartial.

Hitherto, criminal trials within the commission state can constitute opportunities for a society to come to terms with atrocities committed in its past.

The society’s interest in conducting trials through its own criminal justice system, the involvement of national personnel, and the local exposure of the perpetrators of these crimes can best be described as ‘ownership’ of such criminal proceedings.

Therefore, hybrid courts provide a conducive atmosphere for potential national reconciliation and provide the best avenue for the society’s attempts to come to terms with atrocities committed in its past.

Moreover, having the hybrid court for South Sudan situated or located in its territory provides not only jurisprudential outputs but it equally presents a rear opportunity for infrastructural development for the country.

It also provides economic opportunity for such foreign members of the court will equally contribute to the development of economy of the country.

The court will equally leave behind a judicial legacy which will further develop and strengthen the capacity of the local or domestic judicial system.

This is why the African Union Commission should consider locating the seat of the Hybrid Court for South Sudan in any part of the country. This is to ensure a long lasting legacy for the rule of law and human rights and equally contribute to ending a culture of impunity by ensuring the prosecution of particular serious crimes committed during and throughout the period of the conflict.

The writer is a Master of Laws (LLM) Candidate at the School of Law, University of Nairobi specializing in Law, Governance & Democracy. He can be reached via: tongbullen@gmail.com

Drastic times call for drastic measures to rescue suffering civilians in South Sudan

By: Luka Geng Geng, lukagenggeng@gmail.com, University Campus, Wau, JUN/10/2016, SSN;

Whilst we look into the future of our country, we must also not forget to learn from the past; taking this country in our recent past perspective, we may note down the huge differences from today, in the past few years after independence in July 2011, South Sudan should be a country full of hope for freedom, prosperity, bright future and hope for no more suffering. Instead,the country found itself in the grip of a massive, man-made humanitarian crisis.

Despite the fact that a handful peace agreements were signed between the government and rebels, with the most recent one being the ARCISS peace in August 2015, the suffering of civil population still deteriorating as that couldn’t end sooner to our expectations.

The repercussion of December 15, 2013 Juba coup attempt coupled with the economic crisis which is extremely felt today is a far cry from the scenes few years back when the entire nation took to the street in jubilation to celebrate the hard won independence.

Everybody thought that the suffering has come to its ending on that very day after when the country became an independent state from the hands of merciless Arabs.

Nevertheless, the young nation continued to be stormed and shaped only by violence, violence towards civilians has been widespread, including several reported attacks by unknown gun man, kidnapping, murder cases, massive displacement, raging human rights violations and dire food shortages which all amount to untold suffering of our civil population.

For the sake of the millions of innocents who have already suffered so much….and for millions whose lives and future hang in balance today, I think it is appropriate for me in this article to question the measures undertaken by the government to address such untold suffering of civil population in the young republic of South Sudan.

But prior to putting any question across, one needs to clearly explain the level of suffering that is endured by an ordinary citizen in the republic of South Sudan for better understanding of who want to know.

While I prepare to give you the tip of iceberg, I’d first and foremost like to plainly point out in a high tone that our civil population must be the only human population that has faced such a long term dramatic suffering since the end of world war II in 1945 (Second world War).

The fact that the two rounds of longest running civil wars spanning nearly 40 years fought over ideology, religion, ethnicity, resources, land and oil in Africa’s history took place in the present day South Sudan proves that its inhabitants suffered most than other people on the planet Earth.

During the times of wars, South Sudan citizens were subjected to various forms of human suffering and hardships both economically and politically. At the same time, what is felt today is not an exception; our civil population still suffering to no end, yet many people still don’t believe that our country is already in drastic times.

How would you best describe or call such times in country were civil servants must spend three to four months without being paid their salaries? Times in country where the rate of US dollars against its local currency has reach to its peak of decline in value?

A country where prices are all in record high in the markets? A country where there is no visible sign indicating that this suffering is short-lived?

A country where higher education staffs in the universities and Doctors in the hospital so far went for strike and still on hold strikes for their last three months payment without appropriate solution?

Agree with me or not, using my own vocabulary, a country in such a situation is automatically in drastic times, and as we know, drastic times call for drastic measures. But where are the drastic measures adopted so far by our government to address the untold suffering of our civil population in the republic of south Sudan?

Just for trial I think or in an attempt to bring back the situation to its normalcy, the minister of Finance and economic planning alongside with the governor of central bank in the last few months took to the radio station to announce the free floating policies against US dollars, they also went as far as announcing the increment of government employees salaries from lower scale to super scale grade.

However, these attempts were not correctly put right, they are totally naive and unpopular and they couldn’t be called drastic measures to address the current suffering of our civil population from economic crisis.

What the duo as well as the whole government of president Kiir should know is; “extreme situation can only be resolved with equally extreme action, which means drastic measures must always be put in place for drastic times like the current situation”.

Under article 18 and 20 of the international covenant on civil and political rights, each UN member state has duty to protect its people. So South Sudan government must do it best to alleviate the unprecedented suffering that has been inflicted on civil population.

Although it could not be denied that the same government that worked hard to ensure the independence of this nation in the recent past, the question that we are always bond to ask ourselves with regards to independence goes this way; did the formal independence bring to an end the civil population suffering in the republic of South Sudan?

Ostensibly, the answer to this question couldn’t be fully provided but the answers from majority have always been a big no in capital letters.

Initially, it was thought that the suffering which was endured by our civil population in the hands of Arabs from the north could only end with the independence, but the formal independence could not put to an end the suffering of our innocent people.

Today that the suffering continues, the key to ending the suffering of innocent people in the republic of South Sudan must be devised and I think it rests squarely on leaders’ shoulders.

The key to ending this stagnant suffering is leadership, it is up to the leaders of this country to adopt the spirit of reconciliation and tolerance so as to allow them an opportunity to deal with current situation by putting drastic measures that may rescue the suffering civil population.

South Sudanese leaders must practice the leadership that brings people together regardless of their ethnicity, religion, belief and gender and enable their full participation in society.

If our current leaders are not to this standard then the suffering of our innocent civil population will be difficult to reverse, but we are still advocating for righteousness and spirit of reconciliation and tolerance to end the current economic crisis in the country

The writer of this piece is a medical student in the University of Bahr el Ghazal; Wau, He can be reached at lukageng@gmail.com