South Sudan Needs Truth, Not Trials: Kiir & Machar, in a letter to NYTimes, don’t want justice!

By SALVA KIIR and RIEK MACHAR, JUNE 7, 2016, from NEW YORK TIMES;

JUBA, South Sudan — Building a nation is not an easy task. We know this because it is our life’s work.

We once fought together as brothers to win independence for South Sudan from the north. When our new country was born in 2011, we were full of hope. We believed we could move forward as one nation. Yet we then realized that what bonded our people in their quest for freedom was the struggle itself; what held us together in combat could not be so easily sustained in peace.

South Sudan descended into a conflict lasting over two years. By its end, tens of thousands of people had died and over a million and a half were displaced. We are committed to ensuring that our country never again goes through a civil war.

After a peace agreement signed in August 2015, we have come together as brothers once more in government, as president and first vice president. Even with our differences — in fact, because of them — we are determined to reconcile our communities and create unity.

But bringing South Sudan together can be truly guaranteed only through one route: an organized peace and reconciliation process with international backing. In such a process, everyone in South Sudan might engage in the act of remembering through dialogue, and by so doing affirm the truth of what happened during our bloody civil war.

We intend to create a national truth and reconciliation commission modeled on those of South Africa and Northern Ireland. This commission would have wide-ranging powers to investigate and interview the people of South Sudan — from the poorest farmer to the most powerful politician — to compile a true account of events during the war.

Those who tell the truth about what they saw or did would be granted amnesty from prosecution — even if they did not express remorse.

The purpose of such a process is not to seek forgiveness, but to prepare the people of South Sudan for the immense task ahead: building a nation alongside those who committed crimes against them, their families and communities.

We realize this path is not straightforward, but it will do more than any other to guarantee lasting peace. It would also lessen the risk that one side perceives itself compromised, or held more responsible than the other for the events that occurred.

In contrast to reconciliation, disciplinary justice — even if delivered under international law — would destabilize efforts to unite our nation by keeping alive anger and hatred among the people of South Sudan.

That is why we call on the international community, and the United States and Britain in particular, to reconsider one element of the peace agreement to which they are cosignatories: support for a planned international tribunal, the Hybrid Court for South Sudan. We call on them instead to commit to global backing for a mediated peace, truth and reconciliation process.

The international community must consider the current state of our country. Years of war have left South Sudan with one of the highest levels of military spending by gross domestic product in the world. The army and its former opponents now need to be integrated. Over time, tens of thousands of soldiers must be decommissioned and introduced into civilian life.

We fear that this task could be put in jeopardy if members of once opposing forces — from officers to privates — find themselves targeted with legal action. It is easy to see how some people, having known nothing but war, may prefer to return to the battlefield than stand trial in a foreign country.

By taking this path we understand the consequences. We know that it could mean that some South Sudanese guilty of crimes may be included in government, and that they may never face justice in a courtroom.

However, there are recent precedents that demonstrate that this route is the most certain guarantee of stability. In Northern Ireland, a peace process brought bitter enemies to the negotiating table under a pledge of legal amnesty, and then into high office. Now, the country has guaranteed peace. The same is possible in South Sudan.

We do not wish to forget what happened during our civil conflict. Indeed, the recollection of the catastrophe unleashed during those terrible months must remain in our memories as a warning.

Neither side won our war. But both sides, together, must now win the peace. That is all that matters. In that quest, it is why anything that might divide our nation is against our people’s best interests.

Salva Kiir and Riek Machar are the president and first vice president of the Republic of South Sudan, respectively.

35 Comments

  1. Ww says:

    This piece shows that the leaders now understand the priority and the needs of our people at this dangerous times. South Sudanese are ready for peace, truth and reconcilliation; trials will come later when the wounds have heals. it is imperative now to make permanent peace, improve security and revive our economy to elliviate the suffering of the citizens.

    Those South Sudanese PhD holders and internet activists and politicians in the West need to understand that this is the absolute truth. The two leaders just need to be held accountable to the content of the letter by the citizens of the country. The so called human watch, amnesty international and money hunting Western organizations in the conflict zones don’t know the reality in South Sudan. We know ourselves better than they do.

    • info@southsudannation says:

      Ww,
      Really, do we know ourselves better than the West? I seriously doubt.
      Yes, we are ready for peace…but about the ‘truth or reconciliation,’ I doubt very much. Unfortunately, in a dictatorship like the SPLM/A tyranny in South Sudan, the lies of our leaders are the only truth that we get from them.
      It is the court of law that determines the truth and that’s why these leaders have to face true justice and punishment, like any citizen who steals a chicken or a father who kills his son.
      Editor

      • Ww says:

        Comrade Editor,

        South Sudanese sure do know themselves. We struggle together against the Turks, Egyptians, the English and the Arabs becuase we knew who were and were not. Remember our Chiefs petition the English to make South Sudan an independent State in 1947 and not remain under Sudan. Had the Englishman heard them, history would have been diffirent completely. Now maybe different but we as South Sudanese can honestly sit down and note that where have gone out of the route to our greatness. what we need is the truth and seek the truth in order to forgive, reconcilliation inorder to live in peace. A genuine understanding that priority goes to Peace, security, and economic development.
        Yes, our people need Justice, true justice not one that is predicated on unrealistice and baseless UN reports. I am quite sure if you go to UNMISS camps now and asked them about Riek Machar, they will tell you that he is an angel send from above. Ask the diehard supporters of president Kiir and they will tell you the same.
        I agree with you, most of our leaders are bad but our systems need to be in place to try them or we falling into the traps of the Western conspiracies. Those who see clearly the Western Agenda, like Dr. Garang, are the victims and the blind fools, like Riek Machar, are victors in the Western game.

    • For Ww: What leaders?!?!?! says:

      I hope you will be embarrassed even a little by the public relations high-jinks exhibited by your so-called leaders. Their mixed messages qualify as insanity and justification for their removal from the two positions. Why should the future of South Sudan and the lives of South Sudanese be entrusted to individuals who are unfit to lead? If I were you, I would be nice to the South Sudanese PhD holders and internet activists and politicians in the West because they have the power to shut down any purported aid from flowing into South Sudan from the West using sophisticated “Western Ways” until an effective Hybrid Court is established for holding all the murderers, rapists, robbers and the other criminals accountable. If you don’t believe me, ask yourself why there has been no money injected into South Sudan by the West you vilify while the sham so-called Transitional Government of National Unity is being “orchestrated?” Why did South Sudan TV go off the air? Leaders my foot!!
      South Sudan TV runs out funds, goes off-air
      https://radiotamazuj.org/en/article/south-sudan-tv-runs-out-funds-goes-air
      South Sudan rival leaders in difference over avoiding trials
      http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article59228
      Machar refutes alleged appeal with President Kiir to scrap justice mechanism
      http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article59230

  2. J A C Ramba says:

    Unfortunately this whole lot has been declared a scam by James Gadet, Dr Riek Machar’s spokesperson. Now we are left with a task to identifying who on earth is behind all this fabrications in spite of the New York Times’ worldwide reputation for credibility !

    • Nikalongo says:

      Do not be fooled. If anything, the presidency is in panic and “Spin Doctors” from the criminals’ dens are now in action. Reactions for the most have been negative, and the authors know that. What we are beginning to witness is call damage limitation.

  3. GatCharwearbol says:

    Interesting indeed. The truth has been known for long and nothing had taken this nation to peaceful stay. Corruption is a known truth and it has certainly not move our nation forward. Tribalism is a known truth and it has certainly not move this nation forward. Our leaders are looters and criminals, this is a known truth, and it has certainly not move us forward.

    Now, if the known truths have not move us forward in the past, why would it move us forward now. Let us try justice and see how it pans out. I am sure we will move forward speedily if justice is serve. The criminals responsible for murdering our people need to be prosecuted. This will deter future criminals.

  4. What’s the TRUTH?. It’s an admission of having killed 50000. So there has to be full accountability.

  5. Gatdarwich says:

    This is total concocted rubbish. There never would be any-ZERO everlasting PEACE and MEANINGFUL RECONCILIATION in South Sudan until the last perpetrators of the Nuer-Genocide in Juba(December 2013), is apprehended and faced the wrath of international laws which criminalized STATE organized Mass murder-Genocide period

    • info@southsudannation says:

      Gatdarwich, son of Ngundeng,
      Please, be kindly informed that the letter to NYTimes is a genuine letter written by the two criminals who are now jointly scared of the proposed Hybrid Court for the crimes that, again, the two have accepted their roles in the commission of these egregious crimes during their tenure of the leadership. It’s as clear as the sunlight over the Nile river.
      When your Machar and KillerKiir are sentenced to life in prison, then you and your jieng cousins will carry out the ‘meaningful reconciliation’ for all the crimes committed since 1983 till 2013. How about that, and hopefully you can move and settle peacefully in Mading Bor or Mayardiit village of Warrap and live there in peace forever. Just imagine that!!!!!
      Best hopes and dreams,
      Editor

      • Force_1 says:

        Editor;
        The likes of Gatdarwich can go and live peacefully in their Bentiu or one of their own 5 states out of 28 states created in South Sudan and not in “Madingbor” whatsoever; there is a reason why 28 states were created. Given what they did in Bor by killing and burning homes of innocent old men, women and children who had nothing to with what happened in Juba! They will never deserve to live with other people side by side; they should do that with their likes in all Nuer alone states! And we all wish them nothing but all the good luck for their people.

        • info@southsudannation says:

          Force_1,
          I only wanted to suggest that if the jieng men today are busy procreating in one direction from the Bari, the Kakwa, the Azande and the Madi, why not also encourage the Nuer to do the same with the Madingbor and Kuajok ladies! In 50 years time, there will be unimaginable genealogical complexities of great South Sudanese who dearly love their country like people in America today.
          There will be South Sudanese at that time who are, for example: 25% jieng, 15% Bari, 24% Nuer, 5% jellaba…oops!, 9% Muganda and the remaining 12% unknown (may be Fur, Nuba, Kikuyu….).
          The USA today is a strong great, nationalistic and patriotic nation because to this mixture of genes.
          Just a suggestion for the future nation 100 years from today!

          Editor

        • Gatdarwich says:

          Force-1,

          The letter being circulated in the news media was authored by Killer NYanKiir and the Jenges Council of Evils because they desperately wanted to evade being hold accountable and face criminal persecutions in the Internationally Approved Court for the massacred of innocent the Nuer women, children, elderly, and the sicks in Juba–December 2013-Nuer Genocide.
          Implicating Dr. Riek in it is a cleverly designed trickery strategy. Killer Nyankiir and the Jenges Council of Evils are globally known deceptive and manipulative demonic individuals.

        • GatCharwearbol says:

          Force_1,

          Be informed that the innocent children who got killed in Juba had nothing to do with political wrangling of Kiir Machar. They were just ordinary citizens minding their own business. Yet, for the fact that they are Nuer by tribe, this becomes their crime. Well, try to place yourself in their shoes and see how it feels. The blame should go directly to the causer of this chaos and it is none but your uncle, Kiir Mayar. Why is it so hard for you to comprehend that? Before he concocted the killing of Nuer, were anybody killed in Bor, Bentiu, Malakal, and anywhere else? Of course not! Defending the indefensible is what will finish us all. Put your thinking cap on.

          • Force_1 says:

            @ GatCharwearbol;

            First of all; you Nuer need to have brains for commonsense; those brains of yours are not just there for your bodies to carry them around for nothing.

            Second of all; why would the government killed elderly Nuer men, women and children who were in no position to overthrow the government like riek armed militia? Where they out there in Juba to overthrow the government? Absolutely not; unless people like you who doesn’t have the brain for reasoning would think that way! You see; that’s the different between lies and truths that you and your people Nuer doesn’t see the distinction!

            Here is the second of part of truths; the government truly killed Nuer who were heavily armed and who were about to overthrow the government. For that reason the government killed majority of them and the rest ran and then go and killed innocent men women and children in Bor for the mindless revenge that had nothing to do with your armed Nuer who were truly killed in Juba.

            Third; if you Nuer were people truly with brains; you would have known that president Kiir is not from Bor and your revenge to killed unarmed civilians in Bor is absolutely doesn’t make sense.

            And for that reason; you people are going to have hard time being accepted by other people to live side by side. This is one of the reasons why 28 states were created for you to be isolated and live alone like animals in the zoo and good luck to you people!

          • GatCharwearbol says:

            Force_1:

            Please do not deflect your traits on Nuer. Own it squarely. I only have great respect for Bol who truthful acknowledged the killing of innocent Nuer in Juba. The shooting start within Presidential Guards of which there were only 200 members of Nuer tribe. My logic and yours are opposite. I know there wasn’t 2 years old child of Nuer who was member of Presidential and got killed. So live happily with your denial.

      • Bentiu Ramaran says:

        Editor,

        The Letter was not genuine letter written by the two criminals. Therefore, the two criminal did not write the article together, so one of the criminals wrote the article on behave of both criminals, but the other criminal is innocent about the article as he was innocent for the genocide that took place in Juba on December 15, 2013. Ateny Wek Ateny wrote the article to the New York Times with consent of Kiir but in absence of Dr. Machar. So stop believing in fabricated lies otherwise you will be termed a liar.

      • Deng Monymor says:

        Editor,

        All wish for such a day and time: “When your Machar and KillerKiir are sentenced to life in prison, then you and your jieng cousins will carry out the ‘meaningful reconciliation’ for all the crimes committed since 1983 till 2013.” In addition, the then reconciliation would be more meaningful if Nyagatization spirit enmeshes in certain section of our nation is also taken to Court to face Justice, otherwise other Hybrid Court is needed after Kiir and Machar. Furthermore, hunters of MTNs could be seated at the table of mixed Justice and peace and reconciliation, let’s end the habit of picking one while leaving the other. We need lasting Peace.

        You see, peace started working already if you pay close attention to Gatdarwich’s double stand. He (Gatdarwich) now accepts to live in one of his “own 5 states out of 28 states created,” what a miracle?

    • Ishakho says:

      Gatdarwich,

      Please don’t be such a hard head. The two men have the bravest and honest decision since our independent.
      We Nilotic people believe a lot in forgiveness and reconciliation as a way bringing a meaningful peace. Yes people have died but do you need more to more die? do you want more money to be wasted on this meaningless hybrid court? do you think you can apprehend the so-called culprits without a fight?
      i mean the likes of Gatdet will destabilize Nuerland if they are indicted.

      • Ishakho,
        So you think fear of rebellions by those indicted should make South Sudanese forget Justice? No, It is better they are indicted and rebel, be perused, arrested and be damped to ICC to stop the culture of rebellion in this Country.
        Once we solve our problems through negotiations even development and unity comes to live with us.

  6. Deng Deng says:

    Dear Readers,
    Before signing of CPA, I proposed similar proposal and among others are the following for South Sudanese leadership and people.
    1) There must be truth and reconciliation among all the southerners. During the liberation struggle, one way or the other, knowingly or unknowingly we hurt others. We need genuine truth and forgiveness to open new chapter. This went into cracks until it exploded in 2013 and if this time not tackled possibility for recur will be imminent.
    2) Corruption & Nepotism: corruption must be fought at all levels by creating proper governance and proper accountability mechanisms. Any misuse of public resources should be punished by long imprisonment if found and proved guilty and squandered resources recovered back. All the south Sudanese citizens should teat each other as brother/sister and father/mother and uncle/niece. Employment should be on merit and right person in the right place.
    3) development of infrastructure. SS is blessed with abundance resources. We should use this resources effectively and efficiently to build our infrastructures to match the rest of the developed world before the resources dwindle. Modern dual high ways, bridges, schools, hospitals, modern government offices, railways, modern steamers and communications, clean drinking water. Sadly none has happened to date. We consume contaminated and un treated waters from our rivers/streams and water catchment.
    4) Civil Servants: Recruit technically and professionally competent South Sudanese, develop their human capacity to become the best civil servants so that they serve the country with dedication and zeal. They should be servants to serve rather to be served.
    5) professionalize, train and equip the SPLA soldiers to become discipline and engage them in productive sectors such as road building, agriculture, mining etc.
    Others..
    My advises were trashed and at down the line, SS is back to square one.

    • info@southsudannation says:

      Deng Deng,
      All you narrated above are very sound ideas but our problem now is what to do with both Kiir and Machar.
      If these two devils are not dealt with now, all that you pointed out above will never be effected or implemented.

      Seriously, let’s have the Hybrid Court established in the Seychelles, off the coast of Kenya in the Indian Ocean, and Kiir and Machar immediately sent over there for trial and of course, when they are found GUILTY FOR ALL THE CRIMES, THEY SHOULD BE BANISHED IN THAT ISLAND NATION FOR THE REST OF THEIR EVIL AND SATANIC LIVES. OF COURSE, ALL THEIR BOGUS GENERALS WILL ALSO BE TRIED AND EXILED FOREVER TO THAT ISLAND.
      Without these serious measures, South Sudan will for ever remain in zero-progress.
      Editor

      • Kokora II says:

        info@SSN
        I AGREE 100 PERCENT WITH YOUR SUGGESTION. I WOULD LIKE TO SUGGEST, WE SHOULD START A PETITION ASAP ON SSN, I WILL BE THE FIRST TO SIGN.

  7. False Millionaire says:

    It’s good to live up to the truth.That’s liberting according to Elhag Paul.RSS is an american piece of land in Africa.They have forced the north to sign the CPA and backed the independence.They kilt John Garang hoping to clear the way for a light headed person to formally parachutte them.Kiir with his mental sense of handicap didn’t understand the scenario.So he went sleeping,drinking,womanizing,fooling around and courting the chines as first business parteners therefore slaping a blow in the face of the yankees.
    Dr Riak on the other is a universally recognized intellectual who moves faster than the wind with eyes colsed.
    He seemed to have jumped into an american vanwagon without knowing how and why.So he ended up provoking a most savage communal strife between jieng and nuer.
    If misgoverning a country and setting the masses into butchering each other are crimes,what’s the contradiction in facing international criminal justice in the court in the Haag?That’s the heart of accountability.No one will swallow them alive if they proved themselves innocent.
    I am surprised by the absurdity of their argument particularly being ones who have spent most of their days of life commanding forces and presiding over decisions pertaining to human lives and death.That’s shameful.
    But one think is very clear.The yankees will pick up RSS from a silver plate.That scenario may never reach the end of the year to materialize!!!

  8. Building a nation is not an easy task. So, let it go to nation builders .

  9. A letter to N Y Times,but not to the people of south Sudan is an insult. New York Times was never a victim of the civil war. The people of this nation were victimized. Therefore, an apology has to be addressed to them. Thereafter, the Hybrid Court should be set up to begin the trials of those who have committed crimes against humanity. Time is ticking or else the culprits and evidence leading to these crimes is watered down. Remember, Kenya victims of political turmoil of 2008, lost their case. Collection of data leading to attrocities, and individuals behind them identified.

  10. gatdarwich says:

    Editor and other commentators,

    Dr Riek never co-authored with Killer Nyankiir the letter being circulated in the news media. Dr Riek can not and shall never under any circumstances compromised TRUE JUSTICE for the 20,0000 Nuer women, children, elderly, and the sicks massacred in Juba in December 2013 by Killer Nyankiir and his co-conspirators, plus the 227 Nuer massacred in Bor UNMISS camp in 2014 by Kuol Manyany’s, Makuei Lair’s, and Philip Aguer’s Bor militants.
    This letter was evidently authored by Killer Nyankiir and the Jenges council of Evils. These murderers and thieves are natural born fabricators and liars, and can do anything-including implicating Dr. Riek in their desperate attempts to evades standing trial in impartial–internationally approved-supervise Criminal Court period

  11. Dr Lako Jada Kwajok says:

    Dear all,

    This is a big deal. It’s not enough that the Press Secretary, James Gadet has refuted it. Dr. Riek Machar needs to distance himself from the alleged joint letter publicly.

  12. Hoiloom says:

    Dear all,

    It seems we are in agreement. The letter was not written by Dr. Riek but fabricated by JCE, therefore was rightly refuted by Gatdet Dak. Having said that our country cannot move forward without justice for the victims of all sides. Whoever committed a crime during this conflict need to face the Hybrid Court, period. South Sudan is bigger than these two leaders.

    Hoiloom

  13. Dear Editor Dr.Peter Wankomo

    Trying a defendants in meele,or riots,whenever they are brothers and sisters at home.their case will be resolve inside at home by a family both parents dad and mom. No father and mother from outside,can trying a different children!

    What took place before,on December 15,2013 episode,is done in the peace agreement being signed on August 17,2015 among the warring parties. It is enough.It does need anymore any trial! I do not want humaliation to our leaders president Kirr and Riak to suffer at the hands of the WEST! They are now planning to arrest in unknown ways when using South Sudan Mission as ploy! They already sent the British soldiers as peace keeping forces in the South Sudan. The South Sudan government should not have allowed them.The government in the South Sudan is going feeding them from a tax payers money! Thank you! I need peace among South Sudanese people.They suppose to forgive themselves! They should forget the so called HYBRID COURT MATTER Totally! It will bring lots of chaoesto people in the South Sudan in the country at first place!

    MO.USA!

    • johnjerry says:

      Abiko Akuranyang where are your eyes located that you can not see what others are seeing. Many innocent people died,displaced within and without and you want to deny them their right to seek justice.The British Government is one of the donor nation to South Sudan and it feeds its soldiers not from tax payers money as seen by you and you alone. The law must take its course. You live in west and blame the west for the onus.Do not vomit on the plate from which you are eating or simply do not cut the hand that feeds you.

    • Kokora II says:

      Abiko Akurnyang
      I want to make it simple for you. Just shut your mouth and let JUSTICE PREVAIL. You are an old bag with no wisdom. We welcome the UN, the British, the Hybrid Court, the TROIKA, let them take over the administration until we learn to live like people not animals.

  14. False Millionaire says:

    Mr Gatcharwearbol,
    Please encourage Dr Riek to go to a hybride court of justice with Kiir to prove his innocence for the killing of jieng innocent masses by nuer forces under his command in Bor,Malakal,Bentiu and every where in nuer homelands and save us time and effort.

  15. Southdan says:

    Let me say goodnight to whom he/she wishes Dr.Machar and Salva Kiir go to court. First of as I understand the esseessence this article the winter is calling US and the Troika countries to let no hybrid Court taking its course in South Sudan I agreed with writer because it’s necessary South Sudan need a permanent peace, reconciliation and coexistence. questions people how were calling for the national transitional government without Dr Reik and present Kiir won? History repeats,therefore he or she wishing absence during the coming election I say good night

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