By Roger Alfred Yoron Modi
OPINION – Last year, I wrote an article that asked the question: The Sentry Report, War Crimes: Isn’t it time for immunities and restarting South Sudan afresh?
In another article, I exposed that the 2018 Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan made changes to the original 2015 R-ARCSS by introducing the terms “where necessary” in the original 2015 Peace Agreement (ARCSS) which its implementation failed through resumption of war in 2016.
I argued that in the agreement, it is not mentioned who or which body shall determine that “necessity” to prosecute. And for that reason, later, I argued that if the parties to the Revitalized Peace Agreement find it appropriate, they can collectively agree that it is no longer necessary to prosecute “individuals bearing responsibility for violations of international law and/or applicable South Sudanese law, committed from 15th December 2013 through the end of the Transitional Period.”
Further, I added that isn’t that how best South Sudan could be healed and reconciled? I went further to add that it’s the same with corruption allegations like those included in The Sentry Report. My reasoning is that will selective or partial prosecution of corrupt individuals and corporations lead to justice and peace?
And then, if it can be done at the external levels, outside South Sudan, I said, well and good. Because, I added, in South Sudan, there are no strong institutions to deliver justice and that the anti-corruption commission and the Judiciary are still under the direct influence and control of the executive and the president. That did not mean a disrespect to President Salva Kiir but rather, my belief in how the three arms of government (Executive, Judiciary and Legislature) operate as in democratic societies.
I went further to add that that is why the R-ARCSS provides for reform and making those institutions independent and powerful as in democratic societies, to avoid conflict of interests.
One of the worries of some South Sudanese including those who are still hesitant about joining the peace agreement arise from an article I wrote in 2017 in support of establishing a Hybrid Court through the 2015 Peace Agreement (R-ARCSS). And also from an a the attached video I recorded in last year when I was harmed by some malicious people. Some leaders said the language used in the video was very technical and appeared like we I and others were looking for ways to prosecute them, hence they became hesitant.
I made another argument, not in a bad faith, that we (many countries around the world) at the time of our independence inherited a legal order that that provided that “law does not apply retroactively.” And as a result, grave injustices, tensions, war crimes, wars, massive corruption, and many more, continue to build on one another and threaten regional and World Peace.
So in that article, I asked, wouldn’t a start with immunities for all the crimes (current and historical) be the best option for peace and reconciliation and establishing a new South Sudan?
A new world order (arrangement) that gives several or even all Countries including North Korea a way-out from tensions and the current highly polarized world situation to allow for a peaceful world should be encouraged, developed and made possible.
In the case of South Sudan, one important step to ensure that such new South Sudan is possible is to incorporate the R-ARCSS into the transitional Constitution so that we enact and reform our laws to apply forward.
In that article, I made reference to an article I wrote in February 2017 where I argued that the National Dialogue initiated by President Kiir was not consistent with the then peace agreement (ARCSS) due to technicalities of the articles he cited while forming the responsible committee and the non-inclusion of many opposition groups in the process.
Further, I argued that even now, it is not anymore the ARCSS but the R-ARCSS and more or less with different circumstances.
And I added that given the general momentum for peace, if all or most of the parties, including the opposition, could agree to join the National Dialogue and use it to complement, not undo, the R-ARCSS, well and good, especially in the area of reconciling and healing the Country. This however, I believe, should be done by all the parties to the Agreement through restructuring the committees and including the National Dialogue into the Amendment Bill that will (or would) incorporate the R-ARCSS into the Transitional Constitution.
I wrote that the options for true peace, reconciliation, healing and starting a new, reformed and federal republic in South Sudan was still on the table hence should not be let to go away.
When I talk about Federalism, people fear that perhaps I have a very rigid positon on the topic. No.
Just to give a brief background, when the armed conflict erupted in South Sudan, the Peace and Security Council of the African Union AU, at its 411th meeting held at the level of Heads of State and Government, in Banjul, The Gambia, on 30 December 2013 responded by mandating the establishment of the Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan also known as the AUCISS.
On Federalism, in fact, I agree with the view of the AUCISS that “whether a system is denominated ‘federalism’ or ‘decentralization’ or ‘devolution’, it is the ‘content’ of the system (in relation to adequate devolution of resources, decision-making power and guarantees against undue interference in devolved units by the center) as well as commitment to the implementation of the constitutional text that matters.”
And I belief we can go for 10 Federal States in South Sudan or any other number but three regions, as I justified in an article before titled Solutions to South Sudan Deadlock on State Number and Federalism (though I did not mention all the ideological reasons for the states number). I have several other justifications for that. Will come later.
I believe in the possibility of building confidence, moving on with the implementation of the R-ARCSS, while expanding it to include those parties that are outside (e.g NAS, SSUF/A, R-SPLM, etc) like the Rome Resolution has provided for.
However, like I said, peace is voluntary. And those who are just pushing for war without any reason should be assured that I know a lot about what they are doing to push the war going forward under the pretext that the “root causes” of the conflict have not been addressed. If I produce an investigative article about their activities it’ll spoil every peace effort. They better embrace peace, though with the help of the region and other friends and partners the world over.
But some people with limited and short-sighted interest over South Sudan and Sudan do not want that. They keep saying the “root causes” of the conflict in South Sudan have not been addressed. I’m confident that as a journalist with all the huge information at my disposal, I’ll keep my impartiality, to achieve peace at home (South Sudan) and beyond, since without peace, there can’t be journalism.
Right now, however I’m being held at a house in Rongai, Nairobi, Kenya, for days now since I had a brief anxiety… the people holding me are people I’ve been living with for several months…they include Grace Nyoka, Ihure, Ayom, an elderly woman called Elizabeth Iba, there’s Kitoi, Kenneth Ogina, Francis, Emanuel, Jimo, they are from the family of Jimmy Jimo (Ibrahim Lako)… They are the “in-laws” I referred to earlier in my Facebook post….
Earlier when I stated living with them, I came to them through my sister whom I considered fake and malicious….this family told me they were not only in-laws but also the elderly woman said she comes my grandfather’s home area…and I trusted her…but then slowly I started to see different things…
Also, noze that I have no girlfriend or wife in Kenya.
Though I practice my journalism and write impartially, these people continue to harm me and do a lot of other things which I cannot mention here…I’m still impartial and not involved in any collusion, however,… I’m calling for urgent evacuation to safety…
I may be harmed at anytime from now… And I continuously fall unconscious. And controlled in several ways.
I believe in promoting peace and cooperation based on the above principles though
I’m not focused at the moment to put them in a better way.
I support Pope Francis Peace efforts in South Sudan
I have suffered so much human rights abuses in Kenya for years, from many people we know, they are well documented…but I forgive and extend a hand of peace to all…
The World will be fine.
Peace in the world.
God bless all.
The author, Roger Alfred Yoron Modi, a South Sudanese journalist is the Producer and Host of The Weekly Review: Making Sense of the News: He is the former Editor-in-Chief of Radio Bakhita and former Managing Editor of Juba Monitor Newspaper living in exile in Kenya. He can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org
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