South Sudan has faced immense suffering from the civil war that erupted as the result of a power struggle between President Salva Kiir Mayardit and former Vice President Riek Machar as well as the recent violence that erupted in Juba in July 2016. The war has led to grave human rights violations committed by both sides. In August 2015, the parties signed a peace agreement, taking a measurable step towards building peace. Specifically, the agreement contains provisions for transitional justice mechanisms and for the formation of Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU) whose mandate includes the enactment of legislation and establishment of Transitional Justice Mechanisms specifically the Commission for Truth, Healing and Reconciliation and the Compensation and Reconciliation Authority. Transitional justice institutions and mechanisms play an important role in post-conflict situations because they are designed to facilitate reconciliation, accountability, and national healing within a country whose population has faced gross human rights abuses. Although the TGoNU was finally formed as per the provisions of the ACRSS, fighting broke out in the national capital Juba between the opposition IO and the government leading to massive displacement and loss of lives. At this juncture, South Sudan desperately needs to end impunity and perpetual violence, stabilize the country, ensure a return to normalcy and start the transitional justice process.
The TJWG was established as a platform to support the implementation of Chapter V of the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (ARCSS) and to provide an interface between national and international transitional justice stakeholders in the official transitional justice processes. Chapter V in the peace agreement sets out steps that the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU) should take to help the country come to terms with the violence of the past.
The TJWG is a coalition of civil society organizations, transitional justice experts, and representatives of women’s groups and faith-based organizations that strive to support this process. Our formation represents a significant step in coordinating civil society’s contribution to the transitional justice process. We envision a transitional justice process that is inclusive and victim-centered.
The TJWG is managed by a core team of seven founding organizations, but membership is free and open to any civil society organization whose interests and activities intersect with transitional justice issues. Civil society has a vital role to play in ensuring a meaningful process of peace, justice and reconciliation, and we at the TJWG can help you get involved in creating the future of South Sudan.
Together we can build a peaceful, just and united South Sudan!
Amanya Joseph Peter
Coordinator, Transitional Justice Working Group