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Human rights body wants ICC to pursue South Sudan war crimes

Juba- The Human Rights Watch (HRW) wants the International Criminal Court (ICC) to pursue war crimes committed in South Sudan by the various warring factions.

HRW, in a Tuesday statement, expressed pessimism about a hybrid court trying the suspects successfully.

The lobby group said it had documented persistent human rights abuses despite the signing of the peace agreement last September.

The abuses, according to HRW, were committed mainly in parts of Western Bahr al-Ghazal, former Unity State and Central Equatorial.

“If no progress is made to establish the hybrid court, the ICC remains the global court of last resort and should be pursued,” the statement reads in part.

It also urged the Human Rights Council to renew and strengthen the mandate of the UN Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan and ensure it has enough resources to collect and preserve evidence of serious human rights violations and identify those responsible.

“This mandate is all the more important given continued abuses and the disappointing lack of progress in the establishment of the AU-South Sudanese hybrid court to investigate and try the most serious crimes,” HRW said.

Throughout the South Sudan civil war, now in its sixth year, the government and rebel forces have reportedly committed grave crimes against civilians, including killings, destruction of property, unlawful detentions, torture, forced disappearances, rape and sexual violence, according to the latest findings from HRW.

Over 4 million people have had to flee their homes, half of who are now internally displaced and the rest are in neighbouring countries as refugees.

The UN Human Rights Commission on South Sudan, in its latest report, also documents emblematic incidents of violence against civilians in these locations, findings that could constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The commission’s report identified the commanders who may bear responsibility for the crimes in a confidential dossier.

Activities of the national security and military intelligence, which have arbitrarily detained, tortured and

perpetuated disappearances, were also highlighted in the report.

By Daily Monitor

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