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

15 Comments

  1. Tyson says:

    Miamingi

    It was the Jieng idiots who authored the Op-Ed but had nothing to do with Machar.
    The Jieng are running around like headless chicken trying to look for avenues of survival. The Jieng thieves are not either able to pay salaries of civil servants or provide basic social services to its own kraal communities.
    How do you expect cattle rustlers to run a nation? The Jieng have reduced South Sudanese to miserable community leaving on perpetual hunger and enslaved to relief aid. This is the trademark of Jieng: criminals, murderers, rapists, liers, land grabbers, murders, thieves, etc.Time has come for them to face justice. They will run but justice will catch them. They will hide but justice will expose and strangle them. It is a question of time!
    Nice week end while wishing fellow South Sudanese good luck in the hands of tyrants.

    • Force_1 says:

      Tyson;
      If you’re the smart ones in South Sudan and the idiots and headless chickens are the ones in power and running the country; then I doubt anyone would believes your intelligences. If an idiot is running my country; I wouldn’t looked any good calling them idiots because I were the smart one; I would be the one running the country instead of idiots!

      You’re nothing more like a homeless beggar on the street calling a banker an idiot just because the banker didn’t have pocket changes for him! Can anyone take him seriously because he called a banker an idiot? Absolutely not; why; because if he were smarter than the Banker; he wouldn’t be on the street begging for pocket changes.
      You guys are not helping yourselves looking good when you know you aren’t smart enough to be on those guys chose.

  2. Ishakho says:

    Dr Remember Mia Mingi,

    Your names sound really funny, in Kiswahili ,Mia Mingi means “several hundreds”.

    You are actually among several hundreds with distorted and disoriented minds.

    For your information, President Salva Kiir is not against justice being served to the victims of the 2013 coup attempt gone wrong, he simply know that Nuer warlords will never accept trials, the war was fought by Nuer themselves both in the government and in the opposition.

    Dr Riek as always is undecided. what Gatdet Dak is doing is just a dying attempt for PR. Riek supports Kiir position secretly. he is a pig, a sheep and a warthog. he can not take decision. he want to be a victim always.

    So know it that when time comes for indictment, those Nuer generals will flee to Khartoum and Beshir will be at hand to welcome them, give guns and direct them to unleash terror again on their innocent Nuers tribesmen. is that the scenario you want?

    Truth, reconciliation and healing will bring sustainable peace 98% otherwise be prepared for another massacre!

    • info@southsudannation says:

      Ishakho,
      Ok, if it were only the Nuer generals who committed the ‘massacres’ as you are proudly stating, what about the blatant massacre of those citizens locked in the Police station in Hai Mia Saba or as the real owners of the land call that place as “Komiru?” Who massacred innocent and defenseless patients at Juba Teaching Hospital?
      Beware, my fellow countryman, all the evidence are in the Obasanjo Report, that is what the coming Hybrid Court of South Sudan (HCSS) is going to depend entirely upon to indict the REAL genocidaires.
      Editor

  3. Eastern says:

    Dr Remember Miamingi,

    I like your name and the meaning it carries thereto. The alleged “co-authored” New York Times Op-Ed has been unearthed and the actual authors have been exposed. I am wondering why an academic of your caliber still continue to link Kiir and Machar to that article. It’s Kiir’s handiwork!

    The title of your article should have read: “Salva Kiir and Riek Machar: You can’t grant amnesty to killers”.

    Your article should have send the message to all those out there hell bend on promoting impunity, forgetting that the New World Order is at play.

    • info@southsudannation says:

      Eastern,
      It’s a matter of semantics and interpretation. Your suggested title of “….you can’t grant amnesty to killers,” might legally mean that Kiir and Machar are legally excluded and thus, they have that right or legal prerogative to grant such amnesties to other alleged killers.
      In actuality, what Dr. Miamingi implied is that both Kiir and Machar must absolutely neither interfere with nor exert undue influence on the legal process to prosecute alleged killers, including of course, both Kiir and Machar as probable alleged ‘killers’ in the war of 2013.
      It’s time that we totally erase from our minds any misconstrued imagination that Kiir and to a lesser extent, Machar, have any legality to “grant amnesty” to anyone. As a fact, they both equally remain and stand as accused or alleged killers until they are legally exonerated by the court of law.
      Editor

      • Bentiu Ramaran says:

        Editor,

        You are matured and educated person. You need to correctly differentiate wrong from right. Stop making comments like someone who learn about South Sudan from a third party. You know exactly who instigated the conflict in Juba, you know beyond doubt who ran away from Juba to safe his dear life, and you know the author of “New Times Op-Ed” and you failed miserably to differentiate the facts from imaginaries. I wonder if your brain is still reasoning well.

        What EASTERN said was “The alleged “co-authored” New York Times Op-Ed has been unearthed and the actual authors have been exposed.” but you still don’t listen because your hatred to Dr. Machar make you accept anything being said against him without any authentic evidence.

  4. Beek says:

    Riek first including Mabior’s Mum because there is nothing call mama Garang’s wife. People should understand that how much money she and her husband spent in the Hotels in Est Africa.

  5. deng hanbol says:

    Dr. Miamingi,
    I don’t understanding why now the so called intellectuals from the passive society are barking loudly while they had kept quiet about Nuer mas scar in 2013, in Juba. Every body understand that the outside world knew about the killing of Naath civilians via Rebecca Nyandeng De Mabior and via the true hero who lost his leg for the liberation of our believe country, Dr. Peter A. Nyaba. What a wonderful world!!

    • Bentiu Ramaran says:

      deng hanbol,

      Dr. Remember Miamingi is a double blind writer who does not even understood what he has written on in his article. Let us leave him alone he is totally a foolish Dr. Because Miamingi know what he was talking about does not make any sense, he did not reveal his true names like many other article writers.

  6. Bol says:

    Hello Dr. Miamingi,
    I appreciate your writing style, as it is exceptional to regional rhetoric nowadays. Some of RSS nationals including me would like to see President Kiir and Dr. Reik facing some sort of justice one day for all kinds of things gone wrong under their watch, but the tricky question is: Can the pair and their entourage be put on trial without dragging the country into severe disintegration and chaos? The examples of Rwanda and Sierra Leone cited in this article doesn’t fit RSS context because one side to each of these conflicts, was completely defeated militarily while RSS case is a peace deal, driven by local and international political realities.
    In CPA, 2005, Justice for the victims of North and South Sudan long war was traded in for peace, with the blessing of international community. Why that can’t be done again here for the same good reason of saving the lives of the livings at the expenses of the dead?
    Laws never change Policies. It is the policy that changes laws when they become absurd or impractical. In RSS case, return to war is real and clear. Avoiding war should become the priority unless we want to experiment how it feel to be in Somalia’s moccasins

  7. Raan Naath says:

    Dr Miamingi,

    Your argument against impunity for crimes committed during the war is correct, but you sound like if you are behind the news when you lump Kiir and Riek together as co-authors of that infamous OP-ed published by New York Times. Riek has since distanced himself from that article. He clearly said it in the media that he did not draft it nor signed it. So why do you want to implicate him in this? It was Kiir who wrote it through a hired American public relations firm who was contacted by his press secretary Ateny Wek Ateny to draft the Op-ed for them and sell it to New York Times for publication. Even New York Times has admitted not confirming the authenticity of the claim that Riek was also involved. So be fair and blame only Kiir. Riek didn’t write it or sign it.

  8. Force_1 says:

    Salva Kiir and Riek Machar are not the same person! Unless you think that the armed militants of Riek Machar who were about to overthrow the government were defenseless militants which isn’t the case in any way shape or form. If you want to tell me President Kiir and Riek Machar are the same sinners; the why do we have all the civilians of all ethnics group in the country on the government side and none were on Riek Machar camp?
    The Nuer civilians alone didn’t trust Riek Machar and his militants to stay in any Riek Machar control areas; why because Nuer civilians themselves witness what Riek militants did in Bor, Bentiu and Malakal and that made them faithless to be with Riek Machar but to be on the government side.
    For your information: president Kiir and Riek Machar are not the same person; one is absolutely a killer of civilians and the other one was defending his government from the mindless killer of civilians!

    • Bentiu Ramaran says:

      Force_1,

      I would first like to quote your lies since all Dinka are natural born liars “If you want to tell me President Kiir and Riek Machar are the same sinners; the why do we have all the civilians of all ethnics group in the country on the government side and none were on Riek Machar camp?” This is a daily pure white lies of typical Dinka. The civilians that you see in Juba and in other towns are there because they are their native towns but not because they support tribalist, war criminals and most foolish president in the whole world called Kiir.

      If all tribes in South Sudan sided with Kiir as you alleged , then white there is 81, 000 civilians in UN protection camp in Juba, over 30,000 civilians in UN protection camp in Yambio, an additional 30,000 civilians in UN compound in Wau, 58,000 civilians in UN protection camp in Rubkona town, 37, 000 civilians in UN protection camp in Koch town and hundreds of thousands are in protection camps in Leer, Bor, Malakal, Maban and Pibor. Is it not your tribal government which kill, burn, and rape civilians? UN is protecting these civilians from being killed by the government of Kiir that is led by Dinka Council of Evils.

      Spreading lies from time to time will not help your tribal regime change. When the government of Dinka that we thought was belong to all South Sudanese declared war on Nuer civilians in Juba, the White Army left Akobo, Woror, Wat, and Ayod with great speed to help Nuer who were in death row in Juba. On their way to Mading Bor, they did not kill anyone in Ayod, Duke, Panyigoor, Kongoor, Baidit even in Bor town, but they fought with government soldiers in Bor and did not kill any fellow Dinka civilians in Bor. After capturing Bor town, tWhite Army proceed to Mangala in an attempt to go to Juba because their aim was to go to Juba and fight with killers of Nuer civilians in Juba.

      To make the long story short, when the White Army retreated by Ugandan Army from Mangala all the way to Bor, the Dinka that they left behind began to kill them, but they did not response. The White Army captured Bor town the second times and did not kill civilians. However, while the White Army carrying their wounded fellow home, the greater Bor people made several ambushes to the White Army and killed all the wounded friends and those carried them. When the White Army came back the third times, yes they burned Bor town including John Garang institute, but there were no civilians in Bor by the time the White Army burned Bortown. All the Dinka bor have left the town beforehand for Lakes State.

      Nuer have been trying to straight things and make South Sudan a better place to live since before the beginning of the SPLA, but Dinka destroy things and make South Sudan a worse place to live. However, this time around Nuer and other South Sudanese will not accept colonization and re-colonization.

  9. Masterlee says:

    We shouldn’t dance to the rhythm of these two folks, they have caused enough havoc to the nation most especially the long beard man who sent his men to murder innocent men, women and children in cold blood. Justice must prevail and if they fear the wrath of the people they sent to kill the innocent, then its their own problem what we need to see is justice. They are still causing troubles in some parts in the country as I speak. They said if the people they sent to kill are asked to present themselves in the court they will rebel! mind you, the arms of the law is long enough, they will be flush out of the bushes unless you send them to hide and report that they have rebelled.

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