Justice and Conflict in South Sudan: Observations From a Pilot Survey

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The preliminary findings presented in this paper are intended to stimulate research and debate on the needs and opportunities for justice and reconciliation in South Sudan.

The sample size of the pilot survey presented in this report is 163 respondents, and drawn from Kator, a payam (or administrative district) in Juba.  High incidence rates for violent crimes were evident in the sample population. 41% of the respondents said that they or a household member had experienced a violent crime in the last 5 years. These findings affirm anecdotal evidence of rising crime rates in Juba, particularly since the start of the conflict in December 2013.

In relation to the conflict that erupted in December 2013, the majority of respondents place the root of the problems in South Sudan at the leadership level (62%). However, one third of the respondents said grassroots dialogue and peace conferences are needed to resolve the current conflict. This finding nciliation, conforms witha narrative that sees the conflict as being triggered by a crisis at the national level but quickly becoming entangled with more local grievances. A reconciliation effort focusing solely at the leadership is therefore necessary but not sufficient to resolve the crisis and broader grassroots engagement will be needed.

A large majority of respondents believed that it is important to speak publicly about what happened during the conflict (69%) as opposed to avoid speaking about what happened.

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Rens Willems

Senior Researcher, Policy and Operations Evaluation Department at the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs
After having graduated from Utrecht University in 2008 with a MA degree in conflict studies and human rights, Mr. Willems worked with the Dutch Peace organization IKV Pax Christi. Subsequently he worked with the Centre for Conflict Studies of Utrecht University for a period of 3,5 years on a research project that he used to write his PhD. From 2013 until 2017 Mr. Willems worked as research fellow and programme leader for the University for Peace (UPEACE) Centre The Hague.

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