Rape as a War Crime in South Sudan: Update
The African Union’s Commission of Inquiry has spent over a year investigating the human rights violations in South Sudan, calling for witness testimony and establishing a report to be presented to the Peace and Security Council. However, as recently as January 30th, the report was shelved and remains unpublished. Zainab Bangura, the UN’s envoy for sexual violence in conflict, stated that she’s “not witnessed a situation worse than South Sudan in her 30 years’ experience”.
It is probable that the African Union is facing pressure from the leaders in South Sudan and therefore minimizing the issue in favor of other conflicts. For example, the AU has been praised from their attention to Boko Haram, which highlights the ultimate problem with the media surrounding this issue. Several hopeful articles were published before the supposed unveiling of the report, detailing the various ways in which the Commission might go about advocating for prosecution.
Now, multiple organizations are condemning the shelving of the report as a failure to demand accountability on behalf of the survivors, not to mention the betrayal of those who provided testimonials. With enough international pressure and press coverage, that the AU might reopen the report and make meaningful progress towards ending impunity.