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New Report: “Breaking Out of the Spiral in South Sudan”

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New Report: “Breaking Out of the Spiral in South Sudan”

Posted by Enough Team on September 28, 2017

With “metastasizing crisis,” and conditions unbearable for large swathes of South Sudan’s population, experts urge anti-money laundering measures, network sanctions, and a new approach to peacemaking

A report published today by the Enough Project presents a comprehensive new approach to ending the destructive and deadly war in South Sudan. The recommendations target those leaders and their networks who benefit from grand corruption and the subversion of the rule of law within a chaotic and escalating crisis. Currently, millions of South Sudanese suffer from war, a severe food crisis, and widespread atrocities including rape as a weapon of war, the recruitment of child soldiers, and ethnically targeted killings.

The report, Breaking Out of the Spiral in South Sudan: Anti-Money Laundering, Network Sanctions, and a New Peacemaking Architecture,” co-authored by the Enough Project’s Brian Adeba, Brad Brooks-Rubin, John Prendergast, and Jon Temin, calls for an international effort to help shift the greed-fueled calculations of those in power.

John Prendergast, report co-author and Founding Director at the Enough Project, said: “Absent any new variables, the parties to South Sudan’s war, particularly the government, lack sufficient incentives to make the necessary compromises for peace. Since an outright victory by any party does not seem realistic in the short run, the variable that actually could alter the parties’ incentive structure is much more effective, focused, and meaningful international pressure.”

Brian Adeba, report co-author and Deputy Director of Policy at the Enough Project, said: “For too long, the peace process in South Sudan has been gripped by a debilitating inertia with a deadly cost in human lives. To overcome this immobility, the international community should embrace new and robust approaches that have the greatest possibility of cementing peace. Utilizing financial tools to build leverage and rethinking the current peace strategy are means that have the potential to ensure a durable peace in South Sudan.”

Click here for the full report.


The report recommends a new peace strategy for South Sudan built around two pillars:

Pillar 1: The Continued and Expanded Use of Financial Tools to Build Leverage:

Financial tools—including network sanctions, sectoral sanctions, and anti-money laundering measures—should continue to be used and expanded to build greater leverage over the South Sudanese government, armed opposition actors, and commercial partners who drive mass violence and hijack state institutions. Such financial measures can ensure that South Sudanese leaders and their networks pay a far greater price for state capture, which in turn can compel them to change their behavior.

  • Escalate financial pressure: The international community, including influential African states, the African Union, the United Nations, the European Union, and interested governments—like the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia—can do much more, including:
    • Imposing network sanctions focused on key leaders, their business associates and facilitators, and the companies they own or control.
    • Implementing sectoral sanctions directed at economic sectors hijacked by elites.
    • Increasing banks’ reporting requirements and collecting financial intelligence on money laundering risks.
  • Increase regional enforcement of financial pressure: For these pressures to have real impact, regional enforcement is key. Neighboring countries in which South Sudanese leaders invest many of their assets—notably Kenya and Uganda—have been reluctant to enforce and escalate international political and financial pressures. The international community as a whole, with U.S. and European engagement, can respond to this challenge in several ways:
    • American and European leaders can directly underscore the financial risks the Kenyan and Ugandan governments incur in allowing illicit activity within their banking systems.
    • The U.S. government and international partners can urge the international anti-money laundering body to investigate money laundering from South Sudan when the body visits Uganda and Kenya in late 2017 and early 2018.
    • The U.S. government and international partners can issue public statements and press releases that raise concerns about money laundering and corruption related to South Sudan.
    • The U.S. government and like-minded countries can convene global and regional banks, review specific money laundering concerns related to South Sudan, remind banks of the risks these threats pose to their institutions, and commit to specific steps to counter these threats.
    • The U.S. government and other countries can convene global and regional actors that are active in the construction and extractives industries sectors to highlight the risks to these sectors in South Sudan.

Pillar 2: A Revised Peacemaking Architecture and Peace Approach:

The peace process should be reinvigorated, as the current Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (ARCSS), negotiated by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and signed in August 2015, is clearly not working. The architecture of peacemaking should be revised, with the African Union and United Nations taking a more direct, hands-on role in a process that includes a broad range of South Sudanese constituents.

  • Reorganize international peace process architecture: IGAD should no longer lead mediation on its own, as that approach has proven to be ineffective. The competing interests among IGAD members that cause the group to work at cross purposes are not going away. The African Union and United Nations should therefore take on much greater responsibility for peacemaking in South Sudan, and they should operate alongside IGAD as part of a peacemaking team if IGAD insists on a continuing role.
  • Ensure inclusivity in peacemaking: The peace process should include and directly address the grievances and demands of a broad array of South Sudanese people, rather than the narrow interests of the leaders of the government and one rebel group. More inclusive peacemaking should:
    • Include unarmed groups and the issues they promote: Inclusivity should not be reduced solely to inviting unarmed groups to attend negotiations. Both inclusivity of people and inclusivity of issues are important to a more effective peace process. Including unarmed groups—representatives of women’s and youth groups, civil society organizations, traditional authorities, religious leaders, and political parties —is essential.
    • Include armed groups: An emphasis on inclusivity also means that all rebel groups, including Riek Machar’s faction of the SPLM-IO, should have the opportunity to participate in a peace process.
    • Inclusivity and accountability: Advancing accountability can be another form of inclusivity. Creating opportunities for people to share their experiences during war, as part of evidence collection and building cases against those most responsible for violence, allows them to be part of a broader healing process in response to war and help hold accountable the senior figures who are responsible for their suffering.
  • Simultaneously, engage outside Juba and take a longer view: There should be a parallel, intensified track of international engagement in parts of South Sudan beyond the capital. To start, the international community should increase support to local peace agreements between communities.

Click here for the full report.

For media inquiries or interview requests, please contact: Greg Hittelman, Director of Communications, +1 310 717 0606[email protected].

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