Investigation Committee on Human Rights Abuses in the Attempted Coup of December 2013: Where is its report’s Findings and Recommendations?

By Tong Kot Kuocnin, KENYA, FEB/02/2016, SSN;

On the night of December 15 2013, a fierce, unexpected, senseless and needless war broke out at the headquarters of the presidential guards and subsequently spread to many other garrisons in Juba and unexpectedly engulfed the whole of Upper Nile region. The war cost untold suffering and loss of human lives and destruction of properties on unprecedented scale which this author correctly called a well planned scorched earth policy.

However, on January 24th 2014, Salva Kiir Mayardit, the president of the Republic issued a Republican Order No. 06/2014 for the formation of an investigation committee to investigate human rights abuses committed during and in the attempted coup of 15th December 2013 as it was popularly known.

The president invoked the provisions of Article 101(j) of the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan, 2011 read together with section 5(1) of the Investigation Committees Act, 2006. The committee was composed of most imminent lawyers and prominent politicians and was headed by the former Chief Justice and President of Supreme Court, Justice John Wol Makec.

The terms of reference for the committee were to investigate human rights abuses allegedly committed by the government security agents and by the rebels of Riek Machar Teny, that occurred following the December 15th 2013, attempted coup as it was called, throughout the period of the conflict in Juba, Jonglei (Bor) Unity (Bentiu) and Upper Nile (Malakal) States.

It was tasked to talk to the survivors, families of the victims, eye-witnesses and relevant institutions with a view of obtaining credible and dependable information and evidences that would help the committee document and produce a credible report and recommendations on its findings in the Republic of South Sudan.

The committee was to cooperate with the African Union (AU) Commission of Inquiry and other human rights bodies on rights abuses throughout the period of conflict in the country.

After completion of the investigation, the committee has to render its report and recommendations to the President on the Committee’s findings within a period of forty-five (45) days from the date of the issuance of the Order.

The committee under the able and wise leadership of Justice Wol carried out its investigative work within forty-five days as per the presidential order and rendered its report, findings and recommendations to the president.

Now, the question which begs itself is where are the report’s findings and recommendations rendered to the president by these abled and committed members of the committee?

If the findings and recommendations of the committee’s report were not to be made public, then what was the importance of forming this committee? If its findings and recommendations were of no importance, why was it constituted?

I believed that the main aim with which this committee was formed was to thoroughly investigate who were exactly involved in the killings, torture, kidnapping, raping and extortion and recommend to the president the personalities behind these human rights abuses who plans and executes their plans without any directive from the higher authority of the land.

It is obvious that there are indeed people behind the killings, torture, kidnappings and looting of properties whether in Juba, Bor, Bentiu and Malakal who are named in the report’s findings and recommendations forwarded to the president.

However, the motive with which the president issued the order forming the committee to investigate was nothing but to hold those responsible for human rights abuses accountable and be brought to court of justice.

The president must not sleep on this good motive or else we may construe that the whole scenario began with him down to the junior officers who un-regrettably and without any remorse killed, tortured, kidnapped, raped and looted all properties of the victims.

The president should shield the people who have committed these horrible human rights violations because they have committed such horrible and heinous crimes against a humane person which contravenes humane values encouraged by societies to act in a kind and sympathetic way towards others even towards the people who do not agree with you.

Justice must be done to the victims by not shielding the perpetrators of these heinous crimes but by bringing them to books of justices to pay the prices of what they have done. The president must cleanse his hands off these heartless people who committed these inhumane acts against their fellow human beings.

Make the findings and recommendations of the investigation committee public and forward the names and files to the concerned authorities to act immediately by arresting and hold in custody those responsible for all these human rights violations.

Award justice to the people who deserved it the very people who have shamelessly been dehumanized.

The survivors, families of victims, eye-witnesses and other concerned citizens are still waiting to hear and see who exactly masterminded and executed these horrible human rights abuses against their own fellow human beings.

We are ready to forgive them but we must know who are these heartless people who killed, tortured, maimed, raped and kidnapped their fellow brothers and sisters without any remorse or regret.

Are they really human beings or animals in human skins?

Tong Kot is a Master of Laws (LLM) Candidate at the School of Law, University of Nairobi. He specializes in Law, Governance and Democracy. He is reachable at:

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