Transitional Justice Working Group conducts dialogue to advance accountability

Hundreds of Civil society, faith-based groups, and community leaders gathered in Juba for a one-day dialogue on advancing accountability, reconciliation, and healing for South Sudanese.

The Forum was organized by the Transitional Justice Working Group (TJWG), formed in 2015 under Chapter five of the peace agreement on Resolution of Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan. Its mandate is to advocate for justice, accountability, and reparation for the victim of the 2013 conflict.

The Executive Director of Dialogue and Research Institute (DRI), Gordon Lam, who organized the Forum, said there is a need for South Sudanese to participate in the justice and accountability mechanism actively.

He says the Forum discusses national issues in chapter five of the peace agreement. We narrow it down to the reparation and healing for the victim and survivors of forced disappearance,” he said.

Mr. Lam said the Transitional justice has three mechanisms in the revitalized agreement that need to be implemented: the formation of the Commission for Truth, Reconciliation, and Healing, the Hybrid Court for South Sudan, and the Compensation and Reparation Authority.

Rev. James Ninrew, Chair of TJWG and Executive Director of Assistance Mission for African, says the initiative to find justice for victims of war is a milestone that South Sudan has tried to avoid many times.

“This milestone of accountability has not been in the book of South Sudan. That’s from the government to us individuals. If you talk to someone about accountability, it will end up fighting, but it’s time now to implement the accountability so that we will be a responsible nation,” he said.

Ninrew says accountability will make the people of South Sudan correct their mistakes and move the nation forward with forgiveness and Unity.

“We should take a bold move of saying I have done this and say sorry. Once you acknowledge the wrong you have done to the other person, you disarm them from the violence and are ready to talk.”

Rev. Ninrew encourages the participants to deliberate openly, find the truth and discuss the grievances for South Sudan to prosper.

The Secretary of the South Sudan Law Society, Ms. Justice Ajonye Perpetua, commended the parties for the steps taken to establish justice bodies.

She says progress has been made by the technical committee formed last year to consult with the public on creating the Commission for Truth, Reconciliation, and Healing (CTRH). The committee collects people’s views in the urban and remote areas, the refugee camps, and those in the diaspora.

Ajonye stated that the launch of public consultation by the parties this month gives hope to South Sudan people to see justice.

She called the civil society organization to create awareness and sensitize the communities to speak their mind so that justice prevails for the victim of the conflict.

The activist further urges the government to fulfill its international obligation to prevent forced disappearance, provide justice to those affected during the conflict.

The TJWG is a civil society platform to promote transitional justice in South Sudan to support the implementation of Chapter V of the ARCSS and provide an interface between national and international transitional justice stakeholders and the official transitional justice processes.