African Union: War crimes committed by both sides in South Sudan conflict News
African Union: War crimes committed by both sides in South Sudan conflict

The African Union Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan (AUCISS) released its report [text, PDF] on the South Sudan conflict Tuesday concluding that both sides committed war crimes. The commission found [press release] that the South Sudan government and rebels committed war crimes and crimes against humanity including killings, rape and sexual violence, and targeting of humanitarian workers. Genocide was excluded because the commission did not find reasonable grounds [VOA report] to believe the crime was committed. The report assures that the commission has a “highly confidential list” of alleged perpetrators [Guardian report] and recommends that an “Africa-led, Africa-owned, Africa-resourced legal mechanism under [the] African Union supported by [the United Nations]” be created to hold top political and military leaders to account. The report also recommends [Reuters report] that a “structured national process” be created in order to create a common narrative around a new South Sudan by facilitating “dialogue, inquiry [and] often competing narratives about South Sudan’s history and conflicts.”

Earlier this month the UN Security Council extended [JURIST report] the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) to December 15, 2015. The UN emphasized that individuals that threaten the peace, security or stability in South Sudan could be designated for sanctions, pursuant to resolution 2206 [text]. Although the AUCISS has found no reasonable grounds that genocide was committed, the UNMISS reported [JURIST report] last year that hundreds of civilians were targeted and massacred based on their ethnicity and political beliefs in two separate events. A UN peacekeeping site came under fire [Reuters report] in May of this year. Armed groups in South Sudan have also abducted young boys to use as child soldiers [JURIST report]. Civil war ensued after President Salva Kiir accused [JURIST report] his ex-vice-president, Riek Machar, of attempting a coup d’etat in 2013.