GENEVA / SOUTH SUDAN HUMAN RIGHTS

23-Feb-2018 00:03:40
In a report released today in Geneva, the UN Human Rights Commission on South Sudan identified more than 40 senior military officials that may bear individual responsibly for war crimes and crimes against humanity in the country. UNTV CH
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STORY: GENEVA / SOUTH SUDAN HUMAN RIGHTS
TRT: 3:40
SOURCE: UNTV CH
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 23 FEBRUARY 2018 GENEVA, SWITZERLAND
SHOTLIST
1. Exterior, Palais des Nations
2. Wide shot, press briefing room
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Professor Andrew Clapham, Member of the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan:
“There are victims we have spoken to and who have given testimonies to us, who have been mutilated, gang raped, often by up to a dozen men if not more, and sometimes relatives were forced to watch, sometimes children were forced to watch, sometimes children were forced to engage in the rape themselves and even killed. There have been massive violations across the country, of the right to food, the right to education, there are millions driven from their homes.”
4. Close up, journalist
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Professor Andrew Clapham, Member of the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan:
“They started beating my husband, his brother and my father in law. They were beating them with the buts of their guns, they all had guns. This happened along the path through the bushes we were fleeing from village to village through the bush parts. As they were beating him, they were shouting ‘Where did you come from? Where are you going?’ They were shouting we should go back, they tied my husband, his brother and my father in law down, they also tied me to a tree. They said here we are going to sleep with you in front of your husband. My two children were near me when I was tied up, and while all this was taking place. The youngest one was crying, I would say they were about 15 Mathiang Anyoor soldiers in total. Out of this number, five of them raped me, my husband, his brother and father were all there while they were raping me. My children also sat on the ground nearby while it was going on’. The witness, then according to our report, lost consciousness during the rape and when she came through, her children were beside her crying, but her husband, his brother and father were gone and have not been seen since.”
6. Close up, journalist
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Professor Andrew Clapham, Member of the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan:
“We visited not just people across South Sudan but also refugee camps where one will hear the stories of the horrific journey that people had to make and fleeing their towns and villages but also children, many of them unaccompanied, unable to really find their partners or have much hope of an education.”
8. Med shot, journalist
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Professor Andrew Clapham, Member of the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan:
“The sort of fundamental recommendation in our report is that the Hybrid Court which the government of South Sudan and the AU have agreed to in the 2015 Peace Agreement should be immediately set up and the prosecutor should start working to build a case against not only those who are directly responsible but those who were in positions of command and who knew what was going on and have failed to prevent or punish it.”
10. Close up, camera woman
11. SOUNDBITE (English) Professor Andrew Clapham, Member of the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan:
“We will be handing over not just the report to the Human Rights Council but a confidential dossier with the names of those that we think should be investigated by the future prosecutor of this Hybrid Court. And indeed, the crimes that have been committed, crimes under international law, and could be prosecuted even in other countries outside of South Sudan, if the perpetrators were found there.”
12. Close up, photographer
13. SOUNDBITE (English) Professor Andrew Clapham, Member of the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan:
“In terms of the violations that we have researched during the last three months, one of the other factors which I would mention here is that the prevalence of sexual violence against men is higher than what we realised when we started our work. But this is ongoing work and I think it would be important that it continues to be done in South Sudan. It is a particularly, it is obviously delicate for women to talk about sexual violence, but it is also very delicate for men to talk about it. So it is under-reported and under-researched”.
14. Med shot, journalists
15. Close up, hands
16. Wide shot, journalists
STORYLINE
In a report released today (23 Feb) in Geneva, the UN Human Rights Commission on South Sudan identified more than 40 senior military officials that may bear individual responsibly for war crimes and crimes against humanity in the country.

Speaking to media in the Swiss city today, Professor Andrew Clapham, Member of the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan said “there are victims we have spoken to and who have given testimonies to us, who have been mutilated, gang raped, often by up to a dozen men if not more, and sometimes relatives were forced to watch, sometimes children were forced to watch, sometimes children were forced to engage in the rape themselves and even killed.”

He added “there have been massive violations across the country, of the right to food, the right to education, there are millions driven from their homes.”

The Commission’s report chronicles appalling instances of cruelty against civilians who have had their eyes gouged out, their throats slit and been castrated. Children have been recruited by all sided in the conflict and forced to kill civilians. In many cases they have watched loved ones raped or killed.

Quoting one of the many testimonies from survivors that he gathered during his recent mission in South Sudan, Clapham said “they started beating my husband, his brother and my father in law. They were beating them with the buts of their guns, they all had guns. This happened along the path through the bushes we were fleeing from village to village through the bush parts. As they were beating him, they were shouting ‘Where did you come from? Where are you going?’ They were shouting we should go back, they tied my husband, his brother and my father in law down, they also tied me to a tree. They said here we are going to sleep with you in front of your husband. My two children were near me when I was tied up, and while all this was taking place. The youngest one was crying.”

It is the Commission’s first report since it was mandated by the Human Rights Council to collect and preserve evidence for use in the Hybrid Court, an accountability mechanism agreed under the 2015 peace agreement.

Clapham noted “the sort of fundamental recommendation in our report is that the Hybrid Court which the government of South Sudan and the AU (African Union) have agreed to in the 2015 Peace Agreement should be immediately set up and the prosecutor should start working to build a case against not only those who are directly responsible but those who were in positions of command and who knew what was going on and have failed to prevent or punish it.”

South Sudan is the world’s fastest growing refugee crisis but one that’s an entirely man-made disaster. Four million people have fled their homes since 2013 – that’s the size of the population of the entire country of Liberia.

The Human Rights Commission on South Sudan is mandated to determine and report the facts and circumstances of, collect and preserve evidence of responsibility for alleged gross violations and abuses of human rights and related crimes, including sexual and gender-based violence and ethnic violence, with a view to ending impunity and providing accountability.

Clapham said “in terms of the violations that we have researched during the last three months, one of the other factors which I would mention here is that the prevalence of sexual violence against men is higher than what we realised when we started our work.”

He added “but this is ongoing work and I think it would be important that it continues to be done in South Sudan. It is a particularly, it is obviously delicate for women to talk about sexual violence, but it is also very delicate for men to talk about it. So it is under-reported and under-researched.”

Only a portion of the information in the 58,000 documents and 230 witness statements collected is reflected in the public report but the Commission has already identified eight Lieutenant Generals, seventeen Major Generals, eight Brigadier Generals, five Colonels and three State Governors who may bear individual responsibility for serious violations of human rights and international crimes.

Following the release of this report, the commission will take part in an interactive dialogue on South Sudan in the Human Rights Council on 13th March in Geneva.
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