Africa

Africa

Letter to the Editor: New ideas for South Sudan

South Africa’s quest for reconciliation through a truth commission is the right model for finding peace and stability in South Sudan, writes ATENY WEK ATENY, Press Secretary at the Office of the President of the Republic of South Sudan.

Former Canadian diplomat John Harker’s article (South Sudan needs new ideas and can learn from South Africa, Daily Maverick, 15 August 2016) confirms what South Sudan’s Transitional Government of National Unity and many of our nation’s civil society groups believe: that reconciliation and justice through national dialogue are the best way to heal divisions and fully guarantee peace.

Yet currently many in the international community instead propose that this must be addressed through a new, ad hoc international court, to be called the Hybrid Court for South Sudan.

While the justice of courts can and must be an element of any national restitution, building a local justice system must take priority and would have longer term benefits than supporting an international body that leaves no legacy.

We seek to build such structures, while at the same time looking to South Africa’s reconciliation through a truth commission – and your determination, despite pressure, not to agree to an international tribunal – as the ideal model to follow to guarantee South Sudan’s stability and peace. DM

Photo: South Sudan President Salva Kiir (R) and former rebel leader and First Vice-President Riek Machar (L) attend a ceremony after a new unity government was sworn-in, Juba, South Sudan, 29 April 2016. EPA/PHILLIP DHIL

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