Some think transitional justice bodies exist to overthrow the government -Rev.Ninrew
AUTHOR: Daniel Garang Deng | PUBLISHED: September 22, 2022
Reverend James Ninrew, Chairperson of the Transitional Justice Working Group
A cleric in the Transitional Justice Working Group has decried what he describes as a shrinking civic space in seeking truth, reconciliation, and healing in South Sudan.
Reverend James Ninrew, who chairs the working group, said there is a misunderstanding of what transitional justice means.
“One of the challenges is the shrinking space that we are all experiencing in South Sudan especially the civil society because there is looming fear that all what is said is not sincere,” he stated.
Chapter 5 of the 2018 revitalized peace agreement calls for the initiation of legislation for the establishment of the transitional justice institutions.
The institutions include; the Commission for the Truth, Reconciliation and Healing, an independent hybrid judicial body – to be known as the Hybrid Court for South Sudan, and the Compensation and Reparation Commission.
The three transitional justice mechanisms shall independently promote the common objective of facilitating truth, reconciliation and healing, compensation and reparation in South Sudan.
Reverend James Ninrew, Chairperson of the Transitional Justice Working Group said some people believe the commission seeks to target some individuals.
“Transitional justice is a new concept to us…there is a lot of misunderstanding of what transitional justice mean. To some, it is a court which is designed to target particular people and take them for justice, which is not really the case,” he stated.
“To some, it is a voice for people who are victims who want their rights, and to some, it is just a group of opposition who are trying to overthrow the government.”
Rev. Ninrew said there work has been frustrated by a lack of cooperation from some institutions.
He believes the body would have been scrapped off where it not enshrined the revitalized peace agreement.
“It is there as a full chapter that needs to be implemented as part of the package of the peace agreement, [that is why] we are allowed [to have] some breathing space to talk.”
The Chairperson of the South Sudan Human Right Commission, Beny Gideon, cautioned those with intentions to derail efforts to reconcile and heal the nation through the work of the three mechanisms.
“If anybody is intercepting it, then you are liar and you must be told clear that you are an enemy of this country. So you are free to discuss,” he underscored.