Global Witness reaction to signing of peace agreement:

Emma Vickers, campaigner for Global Witness, said:

“The signing of a peace agreement in South Sudan today marks the first step in what must be a long process of comprehensive reform in the country if it is to achieve lasting peace and stability. We welcome the acknowledgement that mismanagement of the country’s oil wealth has long been at the heart of instability in the world’s newest state, and that the agreement seeks to address deep rooted corruption through reform of the oil sector and the management of public funds. If this is fully implemented, it could ensure that South Sudan’s oil money no longer funds abusive actors and instead provides much needed development for its people.”

“However successive rounds of talks have already weakened the deal and unless its international guarantors keep up the pressure on the South Sudanese leadership in the months and years after it is signed, the necessary reforms may never materialise, and the country risks sliding back into a new cycle of corruption and violence.”

“That pressure means international donors such as the US, EU, UK and Norway working with MPs, civil society and the media to ensure that South Sudan’s people are able to hold their leaders to account. It means the IGAD Head of State choosing an experienced, well respected and honest chair of the committee overseeing the peace deal. It means that the AU hybrid court for South Sudan tries crimes of pillage and state looting to ensure that corruption is not met with impunity. Only then will reform have a chance of becoming reality.”

Global Witness is calling for:

  • the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Committee charged with overseeing the peace deal to have a strong Chairperson. The IGAD Heads of State must choose someone who is an experienced leader with a strong track record in combatting corruption, who commands respect in the region and internationally, and who is prepared to act quickly to apply corrective measures should deadlines slip. If this choice becomes politicised, there is a risk that the one of the last strong oversight mechanisms left in the deal will be jeopardised;
  • South Sudan’s international donors- the US, EU, UK, and Norway- to ensure that South Sudanese are able to oversee the implementation of the deal themselves. This means working with MPs, civil society and media to ensure they understand what they should expect from the government, and can call them to account without fear of reprisals. Donors should directly tackle the pervading atmosphere of fear in Juba by holding the government accountable for attacks on these groups, and insisting on a full police investigation;
  • the AU to ensure that the Hybrid Court for South Sudan tackles financial crimes, corruption, and the looting of state assets committed during the war under its mandate to oversee effective transitional justice. It must be make clear from the outset that economic facilitators of war and those profiting from the conflict will not escape justice.

For more information please contact Emma Vickers (South Sudan campaigner) on +44 7715 076548 or, or Michael Gibb (Conflict resources team leader) on +44 7808 776340

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