The Chair of the UN Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan [official website] said [text] Tuesday that there is a need to establish courts and bring prosecutions against those who have committed rights abuses. Yasmin Sooka stated [press release] that action must be taken or the international community would be “complicit in the bloodshed that is happening.” The panel commissioned by the UN reported that the situation in South Sudan has deteriorated to the point where “unlawful arrests and detentions, torture, rape, and killing ‘have become the norm.'” Yasmin Sooka outlined the commission’s findings of sexual assault, murder, ethnic cleansing and population engineering. This comes after the commission called for the establishment of an independent system to investigate violations [JURIST report] in South Sudan last month. A Commission on Truth, Reconciliation and Healing as well as a Hybrid Court for South Sudan should be operational by the end of the year.
South Sudan has spent much of its brief history as a nation in civil war. In January the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) 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.