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UN to investigate recent violence in Juba against civilians

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August 23, 2016 (NEW YORK) – United Nations Security Council (UNSC) will conduct an independent investigation into the recent violence in the South Sudanese capital, Juba, which also targeted civilians and the response of the United Nations peace keeping forces in the capital, reveals a statement released by the world body in New York on Tuesday.

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A woman prepares food as displaced women, men and children gather, in Juba, South Sudan at the UN compound in Tomping area, Tuesday, July 12, 2016 (AP Photo)

The UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki Moon, on Tuesday announced the appointment of Major General (retired) Patrick Cammaert of The Netherlands to lead an independent Special Investigation into the violence in Juba, which occurred in July 2016.

The statement said the investigation will review reports of incidents of attacks on civilians and cases of sexual violence that occurred within or in the vicinity of the UN House Protection of Civilians (POC) sites in Juba.

Dozens of South Sudanese women were raped outside the UNMISS compounds and American female relief workers were also raped by soldiers loyal to President Salva Kiir in Terrain Hotel near the UNMISS compound as well. The Mission failed to respond to their pleas despite reported contacts to alert the peacekeepers.

Also a young man working and staying with the American relief workers in the Terrain Hotel was shot dead after being identified to be from the Nuer ethnic group.

The investigation will include the level of response by UNMISS forces in Juba, which have been criticized for non-response during the targeting of civilians despite the Chapter Seven of the UN mandate that authorized them to respond.

“It will also determine the actions of UNMISS and whether the Mission responded appropriately to prevent these incidents and protect civilians within its resources and capabilities at the time. In addition, the investigation will review the circumstances surrounding the attack on the Terrain Hotel and assess the Mission’s response,” it said.

It added that the Special Investigation team will undertake a field visit to Juba to interview the relevant interlocutors.

A final report will be presented to the Secretary-General within one month, the findings of which will be made public.

The appointed head of the investigation team, Major General (retired) Cammaert recently led a board of inquiry on the circumstances of the clashes that occurred in the UNMISS Protection of Civilians site in Malakal on 17-18 February 2016.

Cammaert previously had a distinguished military career in both The Netherlands with the Royal Netherlands Marine Corps and the United Nations, including as Force Commander in United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE).

He also served as Military Advisor to the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO), and as General Officer Commanding the Eastern Division in the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC).

(ST)

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