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

23 Comments

  1. Jur Alikin says:

    Dr Laku,
    your argument here is in place and in fact its the wish and demand of the majority of south Sudanese.
    A challenge that I see is the enforcement body, the international community’s position seems to be only stating their position on the various issues. For example, the issue of the 28 states which was clear violation of the agreement by the government, but there was no consequences for that by the so called guarantors of the agreement.

  2. Ishakho says:

    Dr Lako,

    I enjoyed the beats of your new song.You are such a prolific song writer, imagine you have composed three songs now in just three weeks! congratulation! mobrukat!

    However your lyrics are so horrible, in fact very inaudible.Why do you compare Rwanda, a country of only three tribes , with South Sudan which is composed of 64 tribes? former Yugoslavia was a loose political union between Serbs,Cechzs, Bosnians and muslim minorities Why do you talk of Nuer and Dinka as the only classical sinners in South Sudan? Didn’t Charles Kasanga. Martin Kenyi, Lado Gore and MTN hunters kill people?

    If your want justice, then kindly arrest and jail only Kiir and Riek. They are the real owners of the name “sinners”. the next class of culprits will be tried locally by gachacha courts as fondly prefer Rwandans justice.

    Secondly, please be patriotic enough and join Dr Okuc at the University of Juba so that South Sudanese benefit from your “big pen”. or are you so mean to share that with us?

  3. cos says:

    Its a mockery letter and clear indication that he who wrote is guilt of man slaughter in Juba.
    Oh God what unforgotten Day is 15 Dec,2015!

  4. Hoiloom says:

    Instead of appreciating this great piece by Dr .Lako some of us are mocking him. Ishakho, what is not clear in the article? Dr. Lako has stated clearly all suspects from all sides need to face justice, that includes everyone who committed crimes during the conflict.

    Correction, former Jugoslavia is made up of Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia, Slovenia, Macedonia, Montenegero and Kosovo. Czech is not former Jugoslavia but Czechoslovakia (now Czech Republic and Slovakia). Take it easy on this great Dr. to educate the world about atrocities committed in our nation.

    Hoiloom

  5. Toria says:

    Dr Laku
    I couldn’t agree more. But I think at this point we have passed the point of trying to fix the mess created by these fools. The odd thing is that they never take time to listen nor heed any advise. I for one think it’s time for Equatorians to strengthen our separatism ideas and as we speak the movement for Equatoria independence is gaining momentum. I mean event the UK broke away from EU, there is no more surprises left. All that remain to do is to declare our independence and let us go for a referendum. I found some of these quotes in sudantribune.com suggesting that I am not alone. Bravo to all my Equatorian separatists supporters:

    “(jubaone
    Great,
    The country is at the verge of total disntegration and each state/ethnic group will find its own way. There is no better moment for Equatoria than now to break away and found a new country. Equatoria can survive on its own: it has the people, land, knowledge and sanity. Leave these jaang alone, they are a burden and only hamper our progress
    repondre message
    24 June 16:46, by Nyesi Ta
    Jubaone,
    The Jenge play the blame game against Equatorians for having brought Kokora, but l would like to mention here that the urge for Kokora didn’t come out of the blue, and it is once again manifested from 2005 thru now that the Jenge behave like monkeys in a corn field and worse they r savagerious in behavior and would do anything a modern human wouldn’t do. It really a shame to RSS.
    repondre message
    24 June 10:22,
    by Kerem
    I have for the first time seen the realistic comments today and this is what our disintegrated country needs. Both Riek and Kiir are the cause of all these problems and none of them could sacrificed his quest for money and other wealth)”

    • Dr Lako Jada Kwajok says:

      Toria,

      Presently, events are occurring at a much faster pace in our country. The economy has tanked and armed robberies are now happening in broad daylight in Juba. The regime is bankrupt; cannot afford to celebrate Independence Day, yet thinks it has the funds to run 28 new states. We are certainly being led by lunatics. The following is an excerpt from my article on 10/01/2016 under the title – The winds of change are blowing over Equatoria: [ Equatoria should have a plan B in store, where it could take control of its own destiny or forge unity with others in what I would call ” Unity of the willing.”]
      The time for plan B might have arrived.

    • Toria says:

      It should have read Dr. Lako not Laku my bad.

  6. Bentiu Ramaran says:

    Toria and Dr. Kwajok,

    I would strongly support Equatorians’ independence if they decided to fight for separation. The problem of our country is bigger than Kiir and Riek problem and it is larger than Dinka and Nuer problem because its involves superpower nations that support only one tribe that bullies other tribes. Please if you have the courage, capabilities and commitment just go for plan B if it is for the independence of Equatoria. The Dinka brought total shame to South Sudan with the help of Uganda and bias UN Security.

    • Toria says:

      Bentiu Ramaran
      Thank you for seconding the motion. The call here is not only for Equatoria along but for the three original regions of Equatoria, Upper Nile and Bahr Ghaza. It’s either total independence or autonomy whereby each region is administered as separate entity and still share our national interests. But the call for plan B is becoming loud and clear, yes we can go back into battle fields for the next decades of bloodshed or opt to an alternative measures.
      Also there is something called “BLOODLESS REVOLUTION” the kinds we just witnessed from the UK BriExit referendum to divorce from the European Union. As far as I am concerned time is ripped for disintegrations of our Three Regions, time for the sisterly neighbors to call it enough. Something is NOT working and we need to part ways, after all the Jenges are good in power hunger, so let them go and be their own “Born to rule” bosses in their own Country whereby it will always be a Jenge in power forever.

  7. Kokora II says:

    Bentiu
    We Equatorians have the courage, capabilities and commitment to go for plan B or (independence of Equator). I don’t know if you recall, most of the wars of liberations since 1955 to date have being fought in Equatoria. Equatorians are both resilient and yet compassionate despite all the beating we got. Then came Lucifer’s agent John Garang whose main aim was to punish Equatorians to retaliate Kokora I, he destroyed every progress plus Equatorian leaderships from 1983 up until the time of his death, he never wanted to promote the ranks of Equatorian soldiers who fought against the enemy on his side. Thank God he is paying for his evils in Hell now. Had Garang being alive we wouldn’t even have these new breeds of Equatorians rising up as we speak myself included. Equatorians are just starting to regain back our stolen dignities. We handed all our guns back thinking we got our independence and no need to fight amongst ourselves, that is when our nationalism was betrayed and taken advantage of as being naive. Now we are well aware and will not allow to go back to status quo again. However we are giving Dr Riek a chance to prove himself, because we still believe in second chances but until that time comes our patience is running out. The jenges not too long ago was insulting us for being cowards but today they are crying that MTNs are being hunted and killed everywhere in Equatoria. What hypocrites they are? That’s just the beginning Bentiu. One other enemy we both share with you Nuers is M7, as long as he is in the seat our struggle will be prolonged. But there will come a time in history if need be even the Devil will become our advocate.

  8. Eli says:

    Dear Toria and Dr. Kwajok,
    Great comments compatriots.
    The regime is already feeling the pinches.
    No independence celebrations? No salaries for civil servants? Soldiers stealing daylight in Konyo Konyo? University Professors, Doctors, Teaches and Judges on strikes? Only one month worth of hard currency left to sustain the whole nation? And they are whining of regime change? ETC
    If that alone is not a revolution then what else is left?

  9. False Millionaire says:

    Bantiu,
    How has the,”UN Security”,become bias and it’s an american tool when in reality it’s the CIA which wanted Dr Riak to be the one on the helm of RSS’s presidency to parachutte them in?
    If u couldn’t bear the pain from failure over the events of 2013,prepare yourself to move to the sky as a resolution becouse even in an eventuality of collapse,there will be still a need to punish u most severely.U are the reason for the failure.The events of 1991 delayed the liberation for 14 years.If the SPLM/A scored a military final victory as it was inevitable before those of Riek Machar spoiled it,South Sudan would have been under John Garang and under him for 14 years,a proper national foundation would have been laid and we wouldn’t have suffered the problems we are facing today.
    Permit equatorians to break away.After all,they will shoot themselves in the foot and see the sky collapsing on them only if they failed to do differently than continuing with MTN huntings.

  10. Kokora II says:

    False Millionaire or whatever you are
    We don’t need permit from anyone to break away, and not especially from you lost people. And I think it is you MTNs who shot yourselves in the foot, because we really don’t need you and we made that very clear from Kokora I declaration, but you just don’t get it do you? So, mind your own affairs sir and try and give advise to your disturbed barbarians. The truth is whether you like it or not Kokora II is cooking in the pot just waiting to boil over. Now we too have enough guns so let the games begin.

  11. Toria says:

    Mr False M.
    The following are your quotes:
    You said; “Permit equatorians to break away. After all, they will shoot themselves in the foot and see the sky collapsing on them only if they failed to do differently than continuing with MTN huntings.”
    Wake up false, the sky has already collapsed on us and South Sudan has been officially declared a failed state, what the heck are you thinking? Read Eli’s comments above here if you missed it.
    Somewhere you also said; “But my homeland isn’t Juba since time immemorable.There I will rear cattle,farm,fish,hunt crocos,hippos and fight……..”
    Since your homeland isn’t Juba nor Equatoria so what are you and the rest cattle campers waiting for? Take your fear mongering rubbish and shaft them in-between your rear pockets and go home False.

  12. False Millionaire says:

    Toria,
    So some body who isn’t from Juba or equatoria is an MTN to hunt,isn’t it?
    If that’s so,why are u being so touchy?
    Hunting some body at the risk of being hunted are two faces of the same coin sir.So be happy and stick to your cross.The collapsing RSS is a news that will give a generalized green light to your game.
    But as for me personally,I am a cosmopolitan survival.U will have to eat your liver one day becouse it will never be impossible to see equatorians electing some one like me as mayor of a town in the heart of equatoria.
    London being presided over by a mayor issue of a last hour immigration makes no sense to u,does it?But sorry for u if u didn’t know!!!

  13. Gatdarwich says:

    Dr. Lako,

    The perpetrators, planners, and executors of the December 2013 Nuer Genocide in Juba MUST BE AND SHALL BE held accountable for their crimes if there shall ever BE everlasting peace and stability in South Sudan.
    Killer Nyankiir, Malong Awan, Kuol Manyany, Garang Mabir, Marial Chinuong, Salva Mathok, Bol Akot, Mulual Ayom, and the entire Jenges Council of Evil members Must all face criminal persecutions Period.

  14. Toria says:

    False M
    Not everybody is MTN only jenges are.
    Well at last now we know you are hiding so shut your mouth and wait for extradition coming your way. You will be tried for war crimes, you have incited genocides against Fertit people of Wau. You have being killing Fertits and stole their lands but you jenge devils will never succeed just be reminded.
    http://abudeng.blogspot.ca/2016/06/is-president-kiir-preparing-for-war.html?m=1

    • Force_1 says:

      Toria;

      I hope your people are too dumb enough to keep ambushing Dinka civilian on the roads in Equatoria; segregate Dinka civilians killed them and then called them MTN whatever those letters stand for. If your people couldn’t learn any lesson from Wau incident today; then they will learn through the experience. Do you think the Balanda and the Fertists people would killed any Dinka again in Wau? Absolutely not; they will never dare to do so again. And that’s so sad that our people want to learn the hard way!

  15. Gatdarwich says:

    Toria,

    Please leave the lost traitorous Jenge, False Millionaire alone. He is a natural born traitorous blood who unashamedly condone the destructions and deaths which killer Nyankiir and the Jenges Council of Evils are unremorsefully delivering to the South Sudanese–the 63 patriot tribes!

  16. False Millionaire says:

    Toria,
    If u don’t smoke dope and pretend to be a mad man in a broad day light,how on earth could u burry your head in the sand,leave your buttocks expose to dry in the sun and still expect success in your MTN hunting drive?
    Please run to Congo.There u will have so much time to formulate a universal idea of a revolution that may convince many jieng to join u and that’s when u can dream of success!!!

  17. Toria says:

    False M
    Hahahaha your jenge cow temper is flowing like a magma just like I thought. The truth hurts and if you can’t handle it go and screw urself you dopehead lost boy.

  18. Toria says:

    False M.
    You will be tried for war crimes, you have incited genocides against Fertit people of Wau. You have being killing Fertits and stole their lands but you jenge devils will never succeed just be reminded.

    • Toria says:

      Force 1
      Equatoria is not Wau you fool, think really deep before you make a stupid move or you idiots will soon regret. Jenges are easy target for us anywhere and from now on one Equatorian live lost will cause 80 or more Jenge lives !!!!!!!
      F.E.A.R

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