South Sudan Peace Monitors Help Bring Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Perpetrators to Justice

After decades of civil war, South Sudan reached a fragile peace in 2018. In this volatile environment, sexual and gender-based violence is still prevalent. The multinational body that monitors the South Sudan peace agreement (CTSAMVM) has monitoring and verification teams (MVTs) located in nine of the most conflict affected areas of the country. The MVTs patrol their areas of responsibility and gather information on potential violations of the agreement which they immediately report to their headquarters in the capital Juba for further action.

CTSAMVM has been especially attentive to sexual and gender-based violence. On 13 February 2020 Sudanese army (SSPDF) soldiers, numbering approximately 30, entered the settlement of Rubeke, near Yei, in the province of Central Equatoria. In the village 3 women and a 14-year-old girl were raped/gangraped and severely physically abused by soldiers in uniform. According to the CTSAMVM report transcripts, one of the women was pregnant and about the 14-year old girl: “The severely traumatized girl is an orphan who lives with her grandparents and brother. She had gone to fetch water on the day of the attacks and when she returned to her home she found it surrounded by soldiers with weapons. Her grandfather and uncle were in the house. She was pulled into the house and sat next to her male cousin. The soldiers removed her clothes, her cousin asked them to stop but they fired a shot into the ground in front of him, her aunt came in to the house and asked them to stop but she was beaten. The girl was raped by one of the soldiers who then stole money from the house.”

 

MVT Yei attended a court-martial in Yei that sentenced 24 SSPDF soldiers to prison for committing various crimes including sexual violence on October 7th 2020.

 

The monitors collected detailed information about the incidents and interviewed victims of rape in the village. Upon corroboration of these allegations by other members of the community, the report was filed to the capital Juba. Following the report, the army conducted its own investigation that led to the court-martial of the soldiers involved.

CTSAMVM monitors were present at the trial in September to ensure that proper proceedings were followed and the perpetrators were sentenced. Thus,  CTSAMVM is taking an active role in monitoring and reporting sexual and gender-based violence so a lasting peace with gender safeguards can be achieved in South Sudan.

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