Eye Radio

Blocking hybrid court confirms atrocities were committed -FoDAG

Michael Edward Ranneberger is a former United States Ambassador to Kenya.

Hiring a lobbyist to have the establishment of hybrid court obstructed is a clear “confirmation” that the Juba administration has committed atrocities in the conflict, a civil society activist has said.

The revitalized peace agreement stipulates that there shall be a hybrid court in South Sudan – a key part of the peace deal, aimed at holding war criminals accountable in the conflict which has killed nearly 400,000 people and forced 4 million South Sudanese to flee their homes.

Recently, the government of South Sudan, according to multiple media reports, hired an American lobby group to improve its relations with the US government, delay and ultimately block the establishment of the hybrid court, among others.

When contacted by Eye Radio on Monday, the Press Secretary in the Office of the President, Ateny Wek Ateny, declined to comment on the matter.

However, this has been confirmed by the US ambassador to South Sudan – Thomas Hushek – who told the media on Monday that he indeed met Ambassador Michael Ranneberger when he was in Juba to seal the 3-million-dollar deal with the government of South Sudan.

“I spoke to Ambassador Michael Ranneberger when he was here in Juba concluding this agreement to take on the role, acting as lobbyist or an agent for the government of South Sudan in the US. This is a decision the (South Sudan) government took to hire the firm or an individual to act as lobbies”.

In an exclusive interview with Eye Radio Tuesday, Jame Kolok, the Executive Director of Foundation for Democracy and Accountable Governance or FoDAG, said the move is a violation of the new peace accord.

“By moving towards obstructing the establishment of a hybrid court, it tells us that in one way or the other, it’s actually a confirmation that atrocities have been committed,” said Kolok.

“To us a Transitional Justice Group, we have always say it’s high time that this country worked towards ending impunity.”

The government often dismisses reports of rights violations, saying they are “clearly orchestrated to tarnish the image of the government.”