Launch of Technical Committee to Conduct Consultative Process on the Commission on Truth, Reconciliation, and Healing

Dec 15, 2016

On Thursday, December 15, the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs officially launched the technical committee established to conduct a national consultative process on the establishment of the Commission on Truth, Reconciliation and Healing, during a meeting of high-level officials at Juba Landmark Hotel.

The national consultative process was formally launched by the First Vice President Hon. Taban Deng Gai. In addition to the Minister, Deputy Minister and Undersecretary of the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, the Chief Justice of South Sudan, the Governor of Jubek State, several cabinet ministers and representatives of UN agencies, JMEC and diplomatic missions were present during the launch.

In his opening remarks, the Undersecretary of the Ministry Hon. Jeremiah Swaka Moses Wani, who chairs the Technical Committee, noted that committee membership consists not only of government representatives, but also of members of civil society. On the same note of inclusiveness, he stated that the committee will conduct both horizontal and vertical consultations among mid-level and grassroots South Sudanese, respectively.

Officially launching the consultative process, the First Vice President Hon. Taban Deng Gai, noted that the event highlights the government’s commitment to implementing the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (ARCSS). He noted that “the peace train will reach its destination” and highlighted the fact that the government is scoring success in convincing people to give peace a chance. He also noted that the government is investigating atrocities and will not condone any violations caused by its troops.

“Through the establishment of the Commission on Truth, Reconciliation, and Healing, we will encourage our [people] to talk about issues that affect the social and political fabric of our community,” said the First Vice President. “We thank our international partners who have supported us. Among our peace partners are UNDP, who supported us in organising the third annual forum for traditional leaders to discuss peace and have also contributed to promoting rule of law.”

Deng Gai also noted President Salva Kiir’s statement yesterday on a national dialogue, noting that there is no competition between the national dialogue, which is a vehicle to serve as a broader process for peace and reconciliation, and the Commission on Truth, Reconciliation, and Healing.

The representative of the South Sudan Human Rights Commission (SSHRC) noted that truth-telling is a primary step for reconciliation. She reiterated that the SSHRC recommends and fully supports the establishment of a Commission on Truth, Reconciliation, and Healing.

In his address, the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Hon. Paulino Wanawila also used the occasion to connect the meeting on the Commission on Truth, Reconciliation, and Healing to the national dialogue inaugurated by President Kiir on 14 December.

 

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“Yesterday’s event was an issue of general political dialogue where people from general political backgrounds will be consulting. Today’s event results from a provision of the ARCSS to get the opinion of how they think a Commission on Truth, Reconciliation, and Healing should be established, what kind of process they expect from it, and the result,” said Wanawila.

The Minister highlighted the mandate for the Commission on Truth, Reconciliation, and Healing is to enquire into all violations of human rights committed by State and non-State actors and to make a historical record of such events.

He further emphasized that the Technical Committee was established to ensure a transparent consultative process that represents the views of the people of South Sudan. According to him, the Technical Committee is representative of a wide section of South Sudanese society, including civil society. The Minister noted that a terms of reference has been established for the Committee and called upon its members to review it and further advise the Minister, concluding on the seriousness in which the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs takes the process.