The three-member UN Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan called Friday for the establishment of an independent system [press release] to investigate violations in South Sudan. The establishment of the system would help with the integration of the hybrid court, according to UN Commission, which was mandated by the Peace Agreement of 2015 [text, PDF]. According to chairperson of the Commission Yasmin Sooka, the independent system should be set up immediately to collect evidence for violations before it is lost. In December the Commission stated that sexual violence had reached “epic proportions,” requiring urgent attention. The Commission is presenting its report on the human rights situation in South Sudan, along with its recommendation, to the Human Rights Council [background] in Geneva in March.
South Sudan has spent much of its brief history as a nation in civil war. In January the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) [official website] reported [JURIST report] that a violent period in July 2016 left hundreds of civilians dead. In December the UN Security Council failed [JURIST report] to pass an arms embargo against South Sudan. Two weeks earlier a UN spokesperson warned [JURIST report] that South Sudan “teeters on the brink of disaster.” The UN also said [JURIST report] in December that ethnic cleansing was occurring in South Sudan. In September the UN announced, and South Sudan accepted, an increase in UN peacekeeping forces in the nation from 14,000 to 18,000 in an attempt to stop civilian killings, sexual assaults, and destruction of both public and private property [JURIST reports]. South Sudan was officially recognized [JURIST report] as an independent nation in July 2011. Conflicts over natural resources, ethnic tensions, and political power have plagued the nation since its inception.