South Sudan hires US lobbyists to block war crimes court

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South Sudan’s government has hired US lobbyists to help it reverse sanctions imposed by the US and prevent the establishment of a court that would prosecute those guilty of committing war crimes in the country.

According to a contract published on the US Justice Department website, South Sudan’s government agreed to pay Gainful Solutions – a Califronia-based lobbyist firm – $3.7 million over the course of two years. In return, the contract stipulates the company will lobby for US sanctions placed against South Sudan to be dropped and prevent the creation of a war crimes court.

South Sudan hires US lobbyists

Based on the bullet points listed in the contract signed by South Sudan’s government and Gainful Solutions, the US lobbyists will “open a channel of communication between (South Sudan’s) President Kiir and President Trump” and provide consultant services to “delay and ultimately block establishment of the hybrid court” that would seek to prosecute those guilty of committing war crimes and other atrocities in South Sudan.

Neither the government nor Gainful Solutions has commented on the contents of the contract but rights groups have condemned the agreement, saying it could compromise the efforts of those seeking justice for atrocities committed since South Sudan gained independence in 2011.

“The hybrid court would try those most responsible for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and other serious crimes,” said Sarah Jackson, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

Featured image: By Al Jazeera English – Kiir awaits, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17499385

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.