By: Mabor Maker Dhelbeny, APR/26/2016, SSN;
Following the JMEC (Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission)’s announcement that Dr Machar, the FVP designate will arrive on the 12th April, 2016. But the SPLM/A-IO (Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/ Army-In Opposition) leader decided to postpone it indefinitely, even his own date set as 18th April, due to the intention of bringing more troops and additional weapons that will accompany his Chief of Gen. Staff to Juba.
Therefore, the IGAD-plus partners intervene to reduce tension and the peace from possible collapse by proposing a number of soldiers and weapons that will come to Juba on April 25 instant. This happens thereafter the concession of the GRSS (Government of the Republic of South Sudan) in which the team of CTSAMM (Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring Mechanism) has been sent to verify weapons in Pagak or Gambella before their arrival to Juba International Airport.
Juba, as the seat of national government has panicked as to why the SPLM/A-IO is bringing more weapons if at all they are for peace. It seems that the GRSS is motivated by a need to achieve an implementation of peace agreement while the SPLM/A-IO has a motive for bringing in more weapons and troops to fight. Such ill-motives which may cause insecurity by either Party would be the assignment to be carried out by the CTSAMM and JMCC (Joint Military Ceasefire Commission) as stipulated in the Agreement.
Under the provisions of the Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (ARCISS) and on the basis of Cessation of Hostilities (COH) Agreement, signed on the 23rd January, 2014, the GRSS and the SPLM/A-IO must ensure the following:
(a) For the peace to be sustained, all forces or militias allied to either Party are disengaged in the operation of war theatre, withdrew and cantoned in their areas agreed by the parties during the PCTSA (Permanent Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements) workshop.
(b) For the peace to be sustained, all non-state actors are disarmed, demobilized and repatriated by the state-actors with whom they have been supporting during the conflict.
(c) For the peace to be sustained, all forces must refrain from prohibited actions such as redeployment and movement of forces, dissemination of hostile propaganda, sexual exploitation and harassment, attacks against civilians, unauthorized recruitment, restriction of people’s movement and access to humanitarian agencies.
(d) For the peace to be sustained, all Prisoners of War (POW) and child soldiers including any other detainees in connection with the related conflict, are unconditionally released forthwith.
(e) For the peace to be sustained, the GRSS should have redeployed all SPLA forces within Juba outside the radius of 25km from the centre of National City to the demarcated areas, agreed by the PCTSA Workshop.
(f) For the peace to be sustained, the CTSAMM should ensure that the deployment of forces such as 2,910 military armed forces and 3,000 Joint Integrated Police allowed to remain in Juba are in compliance with the modalities agreed during the PCTSA workshop.
(g) For the peace to be sustained, the CTSAMM should also ensure that all activities due to be conducted at JOC (Joint Operation Centre) by the security forces in Juba are safe and free from conflict, especially in suburb areas of Juba.
(h) For the peace to be sustained, the CTSAMM should verify whether all forces of the SPLM/A-IO that are previously in combat in Juba and in the former Upper Nile, Unity and Jonglei States including other forces to the conflict in other areas declared by the warring parties during the PCTSA workshop are separated, assembled and cantoned (See Articles 1, 2, 4, 5, & 6 of the ARCISS, 2015).
The parties therefore need to revisit the Agreement in order to resolve the problem of forces that assembled themselves in the former Western Equatoria and Western Bahr el-Ghazal States as claimed by the SPLM/A-IO Advance Team to be their forces.
The interpretation of “all forces that are previously in combat” should not confuse the parties with rules of IHL (International Humanitarian Law) and Geneva Conventions in their minds, nor should it be used as a political leverage to derail the implementation. This brings me to the point that the party who alleged the presence of its forces in the said areas for cantonment, must prove it by giving the date before the signing of the compromise peace agreement on the 17th and 26th August, 2015 respectively.
Therefore the question that begs itself is that: “When did the forces, claimed by the SPLM/A-IO leadership wage their rebellion in both former Western of Equatoria and Bahr el-Ghazal States?” If these forces waged their rebellion after the ARCISS has been signed, subsequently followed by the declaration of PCTSA workshop, then they will not be granted the benefit of cantonment.
However, the CTSAMM which has succeeded the existing IGAD – MVM (Intergovernmental Authority and Development Monitoring and Verification Mechanism) should strictly observe and monitor the security arrangement in Juba ahead of the formation of Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU).
The verification of permitted forces with their weapons in Juba that are tasked with security activities should have to be observed and monitored by the CTSAMM. Indeed if IGAD believes that the security of South Sudan can only be guaranteed by the policy cooperation as the country has already seek integration of regional bloc, then what is the justification.
The justification is to support peace by controlling the proliferation of weapons that may act as threat to peace in other neighbouring countries such as Sudan, Ethiopia and Kenya. This has been entrenched when Gambari (2010) argues that “… in Africa, lack of sustainable development has been linked directly to proliferation and intensity of conflict situations and war which in turn have hampered development efforts…threat to peace in a neighboring country, if not carefully managed and resolved could lead to massive exodus of refugees, weapons proliferation and trans-border crimes and general insecurity that could threaten other stable polities and compromise national economies”.
In furtherance of its transitional security management, South Sudan’s ARCISS has finally provided a board, known as Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) which will be considered as a comprehensive national defence policy during the TGoNU.
The SDSR Board is tasked with the transformation of security sector during the reform process, unification of the army and security forces including the disarmament, demobilization and Re-integration (DDR).
The process of SDSR shall be comprehensive, inclusive and transparent as underpinned by principles and strategies of national interests, conducted in number of stages so as to ensure the sovereignty, dignity of the country and its people (Art. 6 of ARCISS).
The Writer is an Advocate & Legal Consultant in Juba, the Republic of South Sudan. He can be reached via his email address: email@example.com