On August 25, Transitional Justice Working Group of South Sudan, Human Rights Watch, and Institute for Security Studies held a webinar for the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) members and other officials to discuss the urgency for the establishment of the AU Hybrid Court for South Sudan, as a key factor to ensuring long term stability and accountability for serious crimes in South Sudan.
The initiative came on the heels of a joint letter, signed by 24 South Sudanese, regional and international civil society organizations calling upon the AU PSC to take concrete action to enable the immediate creation of the Hybrid Court on South Sudan (HCSS). In preparation for the webinar, Human Rights Watch published a question and answer document on the three accountability mechanisms provided for in South Sudan’s 2015 and 2018 peace agreements and the rationale for the AU’s unilateral establishment of the hybrid court, available here.
On the day of the webinar, the panelists – who represented perspectives from AU officials as well as South Sudanese and international lawyers and activists – presented on accountability mechanisms agreed to by the parties to the conflict and opportunities and challenges to achieving accountability to break the cycles of violence and impunity in South Sudan.
The panelists, whose biographies are provided in the annex, were: Commissioner Solomon Dersso, Chairperson, African Commission for Human and Peoples’ Rights; Nyagoah Tut Pur, South Sudan researcher, Human Rights Watch; John Ikubaje, Senior Political Officer, AU Department of Political Affairs, AU Commission; and David Deng, Transitional Justice Working Group on South Sudan. Boitshoko Mokgatlhe, Senior Political Officer, Peace and Security Department, AU Commission, and Don Deya, Executive Director, Pan African Lawyers Union, also provided comments as respondents. Carine Kaneza Nantulya, Africa Advocacy Director, Human Rights Watch, Allan Ngari, Senior Researcher, Institute for Security Studies, and Ibrahima Kane, Director, AU Advocacy Program, Open Society Initiative for West Africa moderated the discussion.
Attendees of the webinar included AU PSC member and other African government delegations, regional advisers, UN staff, Western diplomats, South Sudanese civil society members, and regional and international non-governmental organization representatives. Attendees were able to ask questions and offer views following the presentations.
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