July 31, 2016 (JUBA) – The United States has warned those taking actions threatening the peace, security, or stability of South Sudan, and those responsible for attacks on civilians or United Nations premises, saying they may be subjected to sanctions under the UN Security Council Resolution (UNSC) 2206 (2015).
- US president Barack Obama meets with South Sudanese president Salva Kiir Mayardit in New York on 21 September 2011 (Photo: AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
The U.S., in a statement, condemned in the “strongest” terms the continued fighting in Equatoria region and other areas of South Sudan in recent days.
“We call for an immediate halt to combat operations and full compliance with the ceasefire declared on July 11 and in the peace agreement,” said Mark Toner, the deputy spokesperson of the Department of State said in a 30 July statement.
The Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD) and the African Union issued similar concerns over the fighting, which has continued, despite a declared ceasefire.
According to the U.S, the “short-sighted” actions of South Sudan’s leaders in recent weeks have exacerbated an already intolerable humanitarian crisis as large portions of the country are facing emergency levels of food insecurity.
“The people of South Sudan should have the opportunity to build their country and pursue their aspirations in peace,” said Toner, further adding, “Instead they are facing the further untold suffering of continued conflict”.
A recent report from the UN gave horrific accounts of civilian killings and a rise in the number of government soldiers in uniform raping and gang raping women and girls who have taken refuge in UN protection of civilian sites. The world body documented at least 120 cases of sexual violence in South Sudan in the last two weeks.
“Those responsible for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other violations of international humanitarian law - including those who order or incite violence, or encourage or contribute to the commission of crimes - will be held accountable,” stressed the US official.
The US reminded all parties that the peace agreement provides that the Hybrid Court for South Sudan will have jurisdiction over violations of international law committed during the transitional period, including those committed during the ongoing violence.
Last month, skirmishes between force loyal to President Salva Kiir and those allied to ex-rebel leader Riek Machar in the capital, Juba left over 270 soldiers dead. The recent outbreak of violence, the UN says, has displaced more than 40,000 civilians.