South Sudan Peace AgreementAugust 26, 2015 in South Sudan
On Wednesday (26 August) South Sudanese President Salva Kiir is expected to sign a peace agreement, which is aimed at ending a 20-months civil war in the world’s newest country, which broke away from Sudan in 2011.
President Kiir met with regional leaders on Wednesday ahead of an expected signing of a peace agreement with rebels. While at least seven ceasefire deals have been agreed, they have all been shattered within either hours or days. Furthermore, concerns over the past couple of days have emerged after the South Sudanese government announced that while its president would sign the agreement, “reservations” about the deal remained, and it currently remains unclear if President Kiir will sign all its clauses.
The latest proposed agreement, which was signed on 17 August by rebel chief and former vice president Riek Machar, sets out clear steps towards power sharing, with fixed timeframes for its implementation. The agreement has been backed by the regional eight-nation bloc, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), as well as the United Nations, African Union, Britain, China, Norway and the United States.
Here are the key points of the 72-page agreement.
- Fighting must end immediately with a “permanent ceasefire” beginning 72 hours after the deal is singed.
- Troops on either side have 30 days to gather for “separation, assembly and cantonment,” or confinement to barracks, with their weapons kept in storage, with a security review required before an eventual merger of the two forces.
- All foreign forces embroiled in the war, most of which are from Uganda who back Kiir, must leave within 45 days while foreign militias, including rebels from neighbouring Sudan’s Darfur and Nuba mountain regions, must also be disarmed and sent home.
- No troops are allowed within a 25-kilometre (15-mile) radius of the capital Juba, with only presidential guard members, police and guards protecting infrastructure being allowed to remain in the city.
- Child soldiers and prisoners of war must be released and free access given to aid workers.
- The agreement gives rebels the post of “first vice president,” alongside the current vice president. This effectively means that Riek March would likely regain the post which he occupied before he was dismissed by President Kiir in July 2013, just six months before the war began.
- Signatories also take responsibility for the war, “apologising unconditionally” for the tens of thousands killed in a conflict marked by widespread atrocities on both sides.
- Under the agreement, a “transitional government of national unity” will take office 90 days after the signing of the deal and will govern for a period of 30 months.
- Elections must be held 60 days before the end of the transitional government’s mandate. This effectively means that if President signs the agreement now, elections will be due to take place in early 2018.
- At a national level, the government will have 53 percent of ministerial posts, with the rebels attaining 33 percent. The remaining seats will be for other parties.
- In seven of the 10 states, the government will get 85 percent of ministerial posts, however in the battleground states of Jonglei, Unity and Upper Nile, the government will get 46 percent will the rebels will have 40 percent of posts.
- In the states of Unity and Upper Nile, the main oil regions, which have been amongst the hardest hit areas by the war, the rebels will get to select the powerful post of governor.
War Crime Court
- In order to investigate “all aspects of human rights violations,” a Commission of Truth, Reconciliation and Healing will be set up while a “hybrid court, set up in collaboration with the African Union, will try crimes, including possible genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.
- Those indicted cannot be part of the transitional government, with the deal stating, “no one shall be exempted from criminal responsibility on account of their official capacity as a government official, an elected official or claiming the defense of superior orders.”