PRIO Global Fellow, Luka Biong Deng: ‘The AU Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan: justice first or peace? ‘

With the eruption of conflict in December 2013 and the subsequent serious human rights violations committed, the AU Peace and Security Council in its meeting on 30th December 203 at the level of heads of state and government held in Banjul, the Gambia, resolved to establish a Commission to investigate these violated human rights and to make recommendations about the best ways to ensure accountability, reconciliation and healing. The Chairperson of the AU Commission and in consultation with other AU’s organs and structures established the Commission of Inquiry in April 2014. The establishment of the Commission was the first attempt by the AU to investigate by itself violations of its members to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights. This came at the time when the AU becoming increasingly uncomfortable with ICC; particularly on cases related to the indictment of the sitting heads of state such as President Bashir of Sudan and lately President Uhuru of Kenya.

Although the Report was to be submitted to the Council in July 2014, it became ready only in October 2014. However, it was not presented to the Council partially because of delay in its translation but importantly because of the demand by IGAD to delay its release until the warring parties concluded the peace agreement. As the release of the Report was not conditional to the conclusion of peace agreement, the fear of IGAD was that the release of the Report will put justice ahead of peace and that might jeopardize the peace process.

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This article was first published in Sudan Tribune on Monday 22 June, 2015. 

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