“Do you think we will prosecute ourselves?” No prospects for accountability in South Sudan

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South Sudan: Crippled justice system and blanket amnesties fuelling impunity for war crimes

Two and a half years after South Sudan gained its independence, soldiers loyal to President Salva Kiir Mayardit andthen Vice President Riek Machar Teny Dhurgon clashed in the country’s capital, igniting an armed conflict between the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), the national army, and armed opposition groups including the SPLA-In Opposition (SPLA-IO). Both government and opposition forces have committed crimes under international law and other serious human rights violations and abuses during the conflict, which saw thousands of civilians killed, hundreds of thousands displaced and countless people raped, tortured, arbitrarily detained or forcibly disappeared. Yet, impunity is the norm both for crimes committed by armed groups and crimes committed by South Sudanese security forces.

This report documents the failure of the South Sudanese government to investigate and prosecute suspects of such crimes since the start of the conflictin December 2013. The report is based on 47 interviews conducted mainly in South Sudan in March and April 2019 with legal professionals, government officials, UN personnel, and civil society representatives working in or with the justice sector, alongside review of documentary evidence.

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