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President Salva Kiir (Right) and First Vice President, Riek Machar (Left) attend consultations on transitional justice in Juba on Monday.

President Kiir calls on victims, perpetrators of violence to reconcile

South Sudan’s leaders on Monday started consultations with experts on transitional justice mechanisms to help the country implement chapter 5 of the 2018 revitalized peace agreement.

President Salva Kiir, said chapter 5 which calls for establishment of the critical commission on truth, reconciliation and healing is very important for post-conflict recovery.

He admitted that the two internal conflicts that erupted in December 2013 and July 2016, caused the deaths of thousands of people, and displaced millions both internally and externally.

Kiir said chapter 5 provides victims and perpetrators of human rights violations, opportunity to reconcile and heal.

“Those who are found guilty will have the opportunity to apologize and ask for forgiveness. The victims will also find the heart to forgive and qualify for compensation and reparation,” Kiir said in Juba.

South Sudan is seeking views to enrich two bills already by it’s ministry of justice and constitutional affairs to establish commission on truth, reconciliation and healing, and the compensation and reparation authority.

Kiir said that the establishment of these transitional justice mechanisms is critical for the country to hold credible, free and fair elections planned for December 2024.

He also disclosed that they are much-willing to finalize the process of establishing the African Union (AU)-led hybrid court to try war crimes committed during years of conflict.

“When the time comes, for the enactment of the bill for hybrid court for South Sudan, the ministry of justice and constitutional affairs, which is charged with the responsibility to trigger the implementation of these mechanisms in collaboration with the African Union as stipulated in the agreement will update us accordingly,” Kiir said.

Riek Machar, First Vice President said they were supposed to have tackled chapter 5 in the first three months after the transitional government was established in February 2020.

“We were supposed to have tackled this chapter in the first three months after the transitional government was established, but because of many difficulties it took a long time,” Machar said.

“We are happy that the technical committee has carried out consultations, and this conference is going to be the final consultation for those who are experts so that we can have legislations to effect the implementation of this chapter,” he added.

Reuben Madol  Arol, the minister of justice and constitutional affairs, said that in November and December 2022, they travelled to The Gambia and South Africa to familiarize themselves of the truth and reconciliation processes in these countries.

“I received two draft bills from the task force of the ministry of justice and constitutional affairs for the establishment of the two main transitional justice institutions, which will be shared with experts gathered here to provide their guidance before the bills are sent to the national council of ministers and transitional national legislative assembly for their enactment into laws,” he said.

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