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military atrocities

Date Snippet Page
2014/05/30 Riek Machar, leader of the rebel SPLM-IO, says he is not in full control of his troops. ‘I can’t say I control them, but we are hoping we can control them because we are training them and we are disciplining them,’ he says, in an interview in Nairobi with AFP. Snippet: Riek Machar, leader of the rebel SPLM-IO, says he is not in full contr....
2014/05/08 UNMISS releases a landmark report on atrocities during the 2013/4 rebellion, which contends not only that war crimes have taken place but that these are systematic enough to indicate crimes against humanity. It recommends that if GRSS continues not to provide an adequate system of legal accountability then the international community should set up a hybrid or special tribunal. Snippet: UNMISS releases a landmark report on atrocities du....
2014/05/03 Salva Kiir and Riek Machar both showed lack of concern about the risk of famine, while prioritizing their personal power struggles, says the UN Human Rights Commissioner, reporting to a meeting of the Security Council after visiting both leaders in South Sudan. She warned the leaders that investigations will examine how far they and their colleagues 'either knew, should have known, or failed to take all necessary and reasonable measures to prevent war crimes and crimes against humanity'. She points out that UNMISS still lacks agreed funds and personnel which are 'desperately needed'. Snippet: Salva Kiir and Riek Machar both showed lack of con....
2014/05/01 US State Secretary Kerry says he sees risks of both genocide and famine in South Sudan, and was 'frankly disappointed' by the responses of Salva Kiir and Riek Machar when he discussed these matters with them. Snippet: US State Secretary Kerry says he sees risks of bot....
2014/04/30 Ann Itto, acting Secretary-General of the SPLM, apparently takes a position contrary to President Kiir, in welcoming possible US sanctions targeted against individual wrongdoers, and not seeing this as sanctions against South Sudan. Snippet: Ann Itto, acting Secretary-General of the SPLM, ap....
2014/04/29 The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Special Envoy for the Prevention of Genocide meet rebel leader Riek Machar and receive assurances that he is investigating human rights violations among his forces, and is concerned about protection of civilians. But they seem to hint that the pressure of accountability for human rights violations will be reduced if peace is achieved. Snippet
2014/04/26 President Kenyatta of Kenya makes a strong statement on the need of regional nations to put a stop to atrocities and the possibility of genocide in South Sudan. Snippet
2015/04/25 A press release from SPLM-in-Opposition denies its forces carried out targeted killings of civilians in Bentiu. It accuses GRSS and its allies in JEM of killing civilians before they left the town in order to frame the rebels. It also denies any official broadcasting of hate speech, while conceding that individuals might have expressed anger during talk shows. It accuses UNMISS of getting the story from GRSS and not investigating independently. Snippet 1870
2014/04/26 The CPJ (Citizens for Peace and Justice) calls on both GRSS and rebels to publicly denounce the crimes committed by their own forces, and hold the perpetrators accountable. It also calls for adherence to January's Cessation of Hostilities agreement, admission of civil society representatives to the IGAD-facilitated negotiations, and free secure access for the AU Commission of Inquiry. Snippet
2014/04/22 The UK Foreign Office Minister for Africa states that 'those in positions of influence in South Sudan' will be held accountable for atrocities if they incite them. Snippet
2014/04/19 Over 100 people were killed in a cattle raid in a remote area of Warrap State, according to a local information minister. 85 of the dead were alleged attackers being pursued by police and soldiers. Snippet
2014/04 Following the rebel capture of Bentiu town in mid-April, some SPLM-in-Opposition commanders broadcast ethnic hate-speech, and call for vengeful sexual violence against women based on their ethnicity. (Others call for reconciliation.) Snippet 1840
2014/04/15 to 2014/04/16 Over 200 civilians were murdered in Kali-Ballee Mosque and other places when rebels linked to SPLM-in-Opposition captured Bentiu, according to UNMISS investigations. The murder involved separation of different categories of people, largely on ethnic lines, but also targeting people who failed to show allegiance to the rebels. The UN vows that the killings will further investigate the atrocities and that 'perpetrators and their commanders shall be held accountable'. UNMISS managed to extract some other hundreds of people from the situation. Snippet 1839
2014/03/30 Adak Costa Mapuor, the Lakes State advisor on gender and human rights, is beaten by soldiers looking for weapons in her home when she questions the disarming of her bodyguard. Snippet 1736
2014/03/19 The chair of the South Sudan Human Rights Commission says it has presented a report on abuses during the recent rebellion to the National Legislative Assembly for action. Snippet
2014/03/18 The focus of UNMISS is being changed, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations tells the Security Council. Until the crisis of rebellion is resolved, UNMISS will no longer seek to help extend the authority of the state, but take five other priorities: 'protecting civilians; facilitating humanitarian assistance; monitoring and reporting on human rights; preventing further inter-communal violence; and supporting the IGAD process as and when requested, and within available capabilities'. He requests the Council to raise the number of UNMISS soldiers to 12,500. Snippet
2014/03/14 The SPLA spokesman reveals that 120 suspected SPLA criminals (detained after mid-December killings) escaped from detention during fighting at HQ barracks on 5th March. Snippet
2014/03 Much of the recent killing is driven by motives of ethnic-based revenge rather than political struggle, according to an UNMISS commander and a recent HRW report. Snippet
2014/02 to 2014/03 Traditional chiefs are among victims of targeted killings in March by SPLA in Gou Payam (Leer County, Upper Nile), according to an SPLM-in-Opposition spokesman. In February, two famous chiefs were killed by SPLA in Panyijiar County (Unity State), he said. Snippet
2014/03/07 Four soldiers and four Ugandan brick-makers are killed by shooting in or near the army HQ barracks in Juba. Apparently a drunken soldier first killed three of a different ethnicity, then tried to shelter in a container where the Ugandans were hiding, which was fired on by pursuing soldiers. Snippet 1585
2014/02/22 SPLA says: 'More than 20 SPLA officers are [under arrest and] being investigated for killing innocent civilians'. Snippet
2014/03 Caretaker governor of Unity State, Joseph Nguen Monytuil, challenges President Kiir over the 5th March shootings of Nuer soldiers in HQ barracks, according to Upper Nile Times. Monytuil reportedly says the soldiers had been ordered out of the UNMISS compound by President Kiir and were unarmed and requesting their pay when shot. Kiir reportedly does not comment on this but suggests all SPLA other than presidential guards be disarmed while in Juba, a suggestion Monytuil rejects. Snippet
2014/03/04 There are deaths and injuries when refugees at Yosif Batil camp, Maban County (Upper Nile) are reportedly attacked by armed and uniformed members of the local community. The attack is thought to be prompted partly by competition for land and natural resources, and also by effects of the current rebellion in South Sudan. Snippet
2014/03/07 The AU announces the formation of the previously-promised commission of inquiry into human rights violations committed in the armed conflict since mid-December 2013. It is composed of high-profile members led by former Nigeria president Olesugun Obasanjo. Snippet 1565
2014/03/05 Local residents report at least six killings outside Giyada (HQ) barracks, where the army says five soldiers were killed in an internal pay dispute. One reported incident was of a targeted killing of two Nuer soldiers hiding in a private compound, and an Ethiopian who tried to protect them. Another reported incident involved the deaths of two Ugandans and a South Sudanese person in the Jabarona market area. Snippet 1538
2014/03/02 Taban Deng, chief negotiator for rebels in Addis Ababa talks, claims Salva Kiir publicly ordered the killing of Nuer in a national TV address (wearing military uniform) on 16th December. Deng also admits that some rebels have killed civilians and must face the law for it. Snippet
2014/02/27 WFP estimates that 4,600 tonnes of relief food has been looted. Snippet
2014/02/28 to 2014/03/01 The paramount chief in Duk County (Jonglei) is captured by rebel forces and then rescued by local youth, according to the local MP. There is dispute over whether destruction to villages and the county's only health clinic was done by government or rebel forces. Snippet 1506
2014/02/26 MSF bears witness to killings, looting and destruction in hospitals in Malakal, Leer and Bor, and also its own compounds in Malakal and Bentiu in the previous two months Snippet 1476
2014/02/22 A press release from Citizens for Peace and Justice (CPJ) notes delays and lack of transparency in human rights investigations launched by the AU and GRSS since the outbreak of rebellion in December 2013. It calls on GRSS to facilitate rather than obstruct human rights investigations by South Sudanese human rights organizations. Snippet 1446
2014/02/21 UNMISS report to UN Security Council says 'gross violations of human rights were committed' by people linked to both GOSS and rebels since 15 December 2013. Snippet 1442
2014/02/19 Ugandan army says it will not participate in investigation into the use of cluster bombs in recent fighting in South Sudan. Snippet
2014/02 Foreign affairs minister Barnaba Marial says 100 soldiers have been detained on suspicion of engaging in ethnically-motivated killing after the alleged coup. 'The perpetrators must be...genuinely brought to justice,' he adds. Snippet
2014/02/19 GOSS still has not produced a list of the dead from fighting in Juba 15-19 December 2013. At the same time, it hampers research by HRW. Snippet
2013/12/15 to 2013/12/19 Members of South Sudan armed forces kill many Nuer men in Juba, including 200-300 in a massacre at Gudele on 16 December. Snippet
2014/02/18 ' I believe war crimes appear to have been committed by both sides in this conflict' says prominent US activist John Prendergast. Snippet
2014/01/15 Human Rights Watch says there is 'serious and credible evidence' that cluster bombs have been used in fighting between GOSS and rebels in South Sudan, a claim which South Sudan's defence minister says is 'total lies'. Snippet 1397
2014/01 SPLM-DC alleges atrocities committed in Malakal town by rebels - for instance, house-to-house killings, and killings in hospitals - with prominent Shilluk people apparently a particular target. Snippet 1393
Reference Mini-review
UNMISS, 2014/05/08. Bibliography item: UNMISS (2014/05/08) "Conflict in South Sudan: A Human Rights Report". (Report). United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan. [Report] United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan. Accessed online.

This report is an important landmark in the progress of investigation and accountability for atrocities during the 2013/14 rebellion. It provides the most detailed and comprehensive view so far of these. While acknowledging that it does not yet meet the level required for prosecutions, it strongly makes the case not only that war crimes have taken place, but that these are systematic enough to indicate crimes against humanity. The RSS law system should be strengthened to deal with these cases and if GRSS does not provide this then a special or hybrid international tribunal should be formed.

Radio Tamazuj, 2014/05/01. Bibliography item: Radio Tamazuj (2014/05/01) "Understanding the Bentiu massacres in South Sudan". (Article). Radio Tamazuj. [Article] Radio Tamazuj. Accessed online.

Careful account of what is publicly known about the Bentiu massacres of 15-16 April, ahead of further investigations and reports from UNMISS and others.

David K. Deng, 2014/05. Bibliography item: David K. Deng (2014/05) "Special Court for Serious Crimes (SCSC): A Proposal for Justice and Accountability in South Sudan". (Report). South Sudan Law Society. [Report] South Sudan Law Society. Accessed online.

This 12-page working paper is an important step in developing the idea of using a hybrid court to try people responsible for gross atrocities in the recent violent conflict. It considers many practical implications of the idea and creates a solid framework for further discussion and action. Its key recommendations are: (1)  Include language in a peace agreement providing for justice and accountability; (2) Prohibit amnesties for international crimes; (3) Educate people about the court; (4) Assess national capacity to administer a hybrid court; (5) Adopt regional and international treaties.

Amnesty International, 2014/05. Bibliography item: Amnesty International (2014/05) "Nowhere Safe: Civilians Under Attack in South Sudan". (Report). Amnesty International. [Report] Amnesty International. Accessed online.

This 68-page report covers events of the December 2013 rebellion and subsequent fighting up to around March, from a human rights point of view. It is based partly on an investigative mission which took place in March. Without being a final definitive account, it adds weight and illustrative vividness to previous accounts of atrocities by forces of GRSS and rebels, and also a useful narrative of the flow of events. It also demonstrates a pattern of impunity for atrocities under GRSS going back to 2005, in which governmental institutions prove unwilling or unable to yield results.

Tongun Lo Loyuong, 2014/03/20. Making sense of the surge in anti-western sentiments in South Sudan [Article] Radio Tamazuj. Accessed online.

This article, by a US-based South Sudanese policy analyst, argues that recent public criticisms and demonstrations against UNMISS and Western actors in South Sudan are orchestrated by GRSS as 'a defensive political ploy meant to discredit these actors and their subsequent indictments as a “colonial agenda,” “politically motivated” and so on....The fear and paranoia from the impending international justice and accountability for the tens of thousands of lives lost in this violent conflict can...be negotiated and a compromise win-win solution for all can be reached in the roundtable'.

UNMISS Human Rights Division, 2014/02/21. Interim report on human rights: Crisis in South Sudan: Report coverage 15 December 2013 - 31 January 2014 [Report] United Nations. Accessed online.

Lays out a general narrative of the first month and a half of the rebellion, with a focus on major areas of reported human rights violation. While confidently stating that atrocities were committed by people linked to both GRSS and the rebels, it acknowledges that the details of most incidents still need further investigation, and lays out a roadmap for this.

John Prendergast, 2014/02/19. “Peace Must Come Soon”: A Field Dispatch from South Sudan [Report] Enough Project. Accessed online.

Outlines major allegations of atrocities and other damage done since the rebellion of 15 December 2013. Argues that a broad-based inclusive peace process is essential and that, although difficult this could give South Sudan 'a second chance to re-boot' (p. 6), i.e. address its underlying problems. Processes of investigation, punishment and compensations are also needed. Proposes an infusion of international legal staff to bolster South Sudanese court capacity. Advocates international targeted sanctions against individuals who undermine peace, and the withdrawal of most Ugandan troops.

David Deng and Elizabeth Deng, 2014/01/08. Bibliography item: David Deng (2014/01/08) "South Sudan talks must make provision for Justice and Reconciliation". (Article). African Arguments. [Article] African Arguments. Accessed online.

This 1,500-word article was probably the first to set the agenda of establishing a hybrid (international and South Sudanese) court to try people responsible for gross atrocities in the violent conflict beginning on 15 December 2013. The authors argue that a process leading towards this should be mandated as part of a negotiated end to the conflict. If it is not then the matter of accountability should be referred by the UN Security Council to the International Criminal Court.

US Department of State, 2014. Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2013: South Sudan [Report] US Department of State. Accessed online.

Lengthy, careful and systematic (though inevitably not comprehensive) account of human rights practices, cagegorized by: (1) respect for the integrity of the person; (2) respect for civil liberties; (3) respect for political rights; (4) corruption and lack of transparency in government; (5) governmental attitude to human rights investigations; (6) discrimination, societal abuses and trafficking in persons; and (7) worker rights.

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