UN panel says S Sudan warring parties should be sanctioned

UN panel says that warring parties in South Sudan should face sanctions for series of serious human rights abuses

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

South Sudan's rebel leader Riek Machar (C) greets people as he arrives to hold a press conference in Kampala on January 26, 2016.

A UN panel experts recommended sanctions on South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir, rebel chief Riek Machar, Army Chief of Staff Paul Malong and Internal Security Chief Akol Koor for a series of human rights abuses, diplomats said on Tuesday.

The names were submitted to the UN Security Council by the panel.

Recently, UN sanctions monitors stated in their annual report that UNSC should impose an arms embargo on South Sudan because civil war between President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar has targeted civilians and ignored international law.

It is now up to the UN sanctions committee to decide whether to follow the panel's recommendation and slap a global travel ban and assets freeze on the four men.

The council in July imposed sanctions on six commanders -three from each side- but the punitive measures appeared to have little impact on the ground.

"There is clear and convincing evidence that most of the acts of violence committed during the war, including the targeting of civilians and violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law, have been directed by or undertaken with the knowledge of senior individuals at the highest levels of government and within the opposition," the report said.

Kiir and Machar "maintain command responsibility for their respective forces" and both sides have "consistently engaged in actions and policies" that are "grounds for the imposition of targeted sanctions," said the report.

The world's youngest nation, South Sudan has been torn by fighting between forces loyal to Kiir and rebels allied with Machar since December 2013 and the violence has exploded along ethnic lines.

An asylum seeker and her baby from Sudan who recently arrived in South Sudan, stands beside a truck holding some of her belongings before she is transfered to the refugee camp in Ajuong Thok, near Yida, northern South Sudan, on Jan 26, 2016 / Photo by AFP

The warring parties signed a peace deal in August, but have constantly broken the ceasefire, as human rights violations have "continued unabated and with full impunity," the panel stated.

The panel says both sides are seeking to buy arms from other countries and private companies.

Last month, Kiir's forces were awaiting delivery of the fourth Mi-24 attack helicopter from a private Ukrainian company, Motor Sich, as part of a $43-million deal, said the report.

It was also seeking to buy four more attack helicopters from an Uganda-based company for $35.7 million.

The civil war in South Sudan began in December 2013 after Kiir accused his former deputy Riek Machar of attempting a failed coup.

Although more than 12,000 UN peacekeepers have been deployed in the country, at least 10,000 people have been killed so far while more than 2.3 million others have been forced to flee their homes while nearly 3.9 million face severe food shortages.

TRTWorld and agencies