New Report Details How Repeated Failure by Regional Bodies to Follow Words with Action Fuels War in South Sudan
Spoilers of the peace process in South Sudan have been emboldened by repeated lack of action by key regional bodies, contributing to an escalation of armed conflict and imperiling the prospects of peace, warns a report published today by the Enough Project.
The report, “Spoiler Alert: The African Union’s and IGAD’s Contribution to South Sudan’s War,” comes on the eve of the African Union Heads of State Summit. The report details how spoilers in South Sudan’s conflict are actively undermining the peace process, and doing so with impunity as the African Union and Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) have failed to hold them accountable for significant cease-fire violations.
John Prendergast, report co-author and Founding Director at the Enough Project, said: “The African Union and IGAD have separately issued a total of twenty statements that threaten action against violators of the various truces in effect the last four years of the civil war. However, neither organization has imposed one solitary consequence on any spoiler, which has dramatically diminished the leverage wielded by the African-led peace process. The spoilers will remain in charge of this conflict until the AU and IGAD begin backing up their threats with action.”
Brian Adeba, report co-author and Deputy Director of Policy at the Enough Project, said: “As the human cost of the war in South Sudan continues to increase and the prospects of peace diminish by the day, the lack of any meaningful and escalating consequences for cease-fire violations and obstructions is emboldening the spoilers on all sides. For the next round of peace talks to succeed, the African Union and IGAD must take concrete actions against the spoilers by sanctioning those with command and control responsibilities on all sides in the war.”
The report urges the African Union to immediately impose consequences on South Sudan’s spoilers in the form of asset freezes, travel bans, anti-money laundering investigations, an arms embargo, and other measures that demonstrate Africa’s seriousness about peace in the continent’s newest nation. The report argues that such a move would provide essential leverage to IGAD’s High Level Revitalization Forum and give it a chance to press the warring parties for compromises at the negotiating table and a reduction—if not an end—to the frequent violations of the Cessation of Hostilities (CoH) agreement.
Click here for the full report.
The report recommends the following actions to move the peace process forward:
1. Impose Consequences on Senior Military and Political Figures in the Government and Rebellion
The Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring Mechanism (CTTSAMM), a body authorized to monitor compliance with the CoH, has recorded CoH violations by troops from the government led by President Salva Kiir and the armed opposition under the leadership of Riek Machar, in multiple locations across South Sudan. In these violations, women, children, and the elderly have been killed. Both the government and the armed opposition deny their role in these violations and have accused each other of violating the CoH.
To end this charade, the African Union should levy sanctions against leaders with command and control responsibilities on both sides. In this regard, the chief of defense staff for the South Sudan army, Lt. Gen. James Ajongo, should be held responsible for the actions of his troops. Similarly, the SPLM-IO’s chief of defense staff, Lt. Gen. Simon Gatwech Dual, should face further sanctions, in addition to sanctions imposed on him by the U.N. Security Council in 2015. Beyond these two figures, other military and political officials who share decision-making responsibilities with Ajongo and Gatwech should also be subject to targeted sanctions, visa bans, and investigations into money laundering through regional banking institutions.
And to be clear, sanctioning one or two people every six months will have no impact on the warring parties’ calculations. For leverage to be built and pressure to be meaningful, entire networks around these key officials need to be sanctioned, and a number of them at once to demonstrate seriousness of purpose. “Network sanctions” are utilized in other higher-priority global crises, but rarely in Africa and almost never in support of peace. The African Union would make a bold statement in support of peace should it impose network sanctions on key leaders and their commercial facilitators inside and outside South Sudan, as these leaders who are destroying the country through war are the same leaders who are bankrupting it through their looting of state assets and natural resources. In support, IGAD should continue to encourage the African Union’s Peace and Security Council to levy sanctions.
2. Urgently Review the Peace Process
The current process is fraught with many obstacles, not least among them the competing geopolitical interests of the IGAD countries themselves. Regional contests over a variety of factors ranging from border issues, sharing of water resources, and support for opposition groups threaten to impede progress at the talks, as member countries play out their differences to secure leverage and influence.
There is no easy answer. Removing IGAD from the negotiations would simply enhance the spoiler status of its member states. Therefore, the African Union should establish a process to urgently review the existing negotiations at the scheduled February 2018 IGAD-led HLRF talks. The African Union and United Nations should consider how their dual roles can be enhanced in the process to help lend gravitas to the negotiations and counter in part the competition among IGAD states that is so damaging to the peace efforts.
3. Strengthen CoH Monitoring Processes
CTSAMM’s ability to monitor and verify compliance should be strengthened to include the use of surveillance technology. Monitoring and verification responsibilities should be expanded to include civil society partners to augment and amplify oversight on multiple fronts. The African Union should consider availing resources for civil society efforts to engage and sensitize the warring factions on compliance responsibilities including consequences for non-compliance.
Finally, an enhanced monitoring capacity should be directly linked to an African Union committee tasked with working to impose immediate consequences for further observed violations by any warring party.
Click here for the full report.
About THE ENOUGH PROJECT – an anti-atrocity policy group
The Enough Project supports peace and an end to mass atrocities in Africa’s deadliest conflict zones. Together with its investigative initiative The Sentry, Enough counters armed groups, violent kleptocratic regimes, and their commercial partners that are sustained and enriched by corruption, criminal activity, and the trafficking of natural resources. By helping to create consequences for the major perpetrators and facilitators of atrocities and corruption, Enough seeks to build leverage in support of peace and good governance. Enough conducts research in conflict zones, engages governments and the private sector on potential policy solutions, and mobilizes public campaigns focused on peace, human rights, and breaking the links between war and illicit profit. Learn more – and join us – at www.EnoughProject.org.