Washington, D.C. – Inquiries by The Sentry have just revealed that General Gabriel Jok Riak, South Sudan’s top military commander, likely traveled in violation of his UN travel ban. The Sentry has now been able to confirm that General Jok Riak did not receive an official waiver from the UN when he visited China last month for the first China-Africa Defense & Security Forum.
Jok Riak was sanctioned by the UN in 2015 for perpetuating violence and breaching ceasefire agreements, sanctions that prohibit travel without a waiver issued by the UN. Despite being under UN sanctions, Gen. Jok Riak was promoted to the military’s top position in May.
Brian Adeba, Deputy Director of Policy at the Enough Project, said: “It’s now clear that Gabriel Jok Riak was able to travel to China last month likely in violation of his UN travel ban. South Sudan’s new power-sharing deal will be destined for failure if it is implemented with the same neglect as sanctions enforcement. The short-sighted, status quo draft of the recent Khartoum Peace Agreement is incomplete and does not address the structural issues that led to the conflict in the first place. The international community must strongly enforce sanctions and escalate financial pressures on South Sudan’s corrupt officials and their networks to support a sustainable peace.”
Joshua White, Director of Policy and Analysis at The Sentry, said: “The extensive diplomatic legwork needed to pass sanctions in the UN Security Council must be followed upwith strong enforcement. Gen. Jok Riak’s travel exposes a gap in sanctions enforcement. Not only was Jok Riak able to travel to China—which voted to sanction him in 2015—for a military conference but he still maintains a home in Kampala that Ugandan authorities should have long ago seized. Sanctions must be more than symbolic messages, and we call on the governments of these countries to respect their UN obligations with respect to South Sudan.”
Jok Riak has been the subject of investigative reports by The Sentry on corruption linked to mass atrocities and violence in South Sudan.
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About THE SENTRY
The Sentry is composed of financial forensic investigators, policy analysts, and regional experts who follow the dirty money and build investigative cases focusing on the corrupt transnational networks most responsible for Africa’s deadliest conflicts. By creating a significant financial cost to these kleptocrats through network sanctions, anti-money laundering measures, prosecutions, and other tools, The Sentry aims to disrupt the profit incentives for mass atrocities and oppression, and creates new leverage in support of peace efforts and African frontline human rights defenders. The Sentry’s partner, the Enough Project, undertakes high-level advocacy with policy-makers around the world as well as wide-reaching education campaigns by mobilizing students, faith-based groups, celebrities, and others. Co-founded by George Clooney and John Prendergast, The Sentry is an initiative of Not On Our Watch (NOOW) and the Enough Project. The Sentry currently focuses its work in South Sudan, Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, and the Central African Republic.
In less than two years, The Sentry has created hard-hitting reports and converted extensive research into a large volume of dossiers on individuals and entities connected to grand corruption, violence, or serious human rights abuses. The investigative team has turned those dossiers over to government regulatory and law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and around the world, as well as to compliance officers at the world’s largest banks.
Learn more at www.TheSentry.org.