S. Sudan’s Kiir and Machar Should Be Jailed: US Senator
A US lawmaker has told South Sudanese diplomats they should be “totally embarrassed” to represent their country and insisted their president, Salva Kiir, and rebel leader Riek Machar should be jailed for war crimes.
The attack came from the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Bob Corker, speaking at a hearing entitled Independent South Sudan: A failure of leadership. The title largely sums up the consensus on South Sudan’s government and the violence that has been allowed to escalate since the country gained independence in 2011.
Atrocities by both parties
The South Sudanese government are accused of a string of atrocities that have instigated and prolonged ongoing violence in the country. Investigations have revealed grave human rights violations in the country and suggest an ethnic conflict could be on the cards.
A peace deal was finally signed in August this year, after mounting pressure from international bodies. However, the agreement has failed to have any impact on the spate of attacks on opposition forces, innocent civilians and aid workers in the country.
“I don’t know how representatives of South Sudan can show up at these types of meetings without being totally embarrassed by the actions of the government,” said Corker.
Targeting aid workers
Aside from the atrocities committed by warring sides in the conflict, South Sudan’s government and opposition forces were both accused of targeting UN aid workers at the hearing.
US Special Envoy Donald Booth testified that forces in the country feel they can attack aid workers without fear of repercussions.
“The negative rhetoric about the UN mission has contributed toward a sense that you can attack these people with impunity,” he said. “And we have urged that the rhetoric be changed, that the UN and those providing assistance be recognized as people helping the people of South Sudan.”
Booth and Corker later both confirmed that President Kiir and opposition leader Machar could be jailed for war crimes under a legitimate peace process in the country.