The 2015 Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (ARCSS) identifies security sector reform (SSR) as one of the most crucial issues that need to be addressed if South Sudan is to attain peace. The prioritization given to SSR in the ARCSS is illustrated by the fact that it... Continue Reading
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South Sudan is arguably the most fragile state in the world. Lacking an institutional legacy at its creation in 2011, political, security, economic, and social indicators have all deteriorated with the ongoing civil conflict.[I] As state legitimacy has eroded, the number of armed factions and tribal militias has increased rapidly, now exceeding 40 such groups.... Continue Reading
Stunted Political Development Like many post-independence African countries in the early stages of state formation, South Sudan’s military, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), plays a larger than normal role in the polity. Indeed, even though militaries have tended to recede into the background as democratic evolution gathered pace, there are countries where “military aristocracies”... Continue Reading
Introduction Decades of conflicts in South Sudan have eroded the separation of roles and mandates between the political class and security actors, leading to a deliberate and disastrous convergence. One of the results of this entanglement is that security agencies have become central to politics, as have politicians in military and security matters. As a... Continue Reading
Despite the continued conflict in South Sudan, accountability for human rights violations can be initiated drawing on the recent UN Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan investigative report.
Now in its fifth year, South Sudan’s current conflict has displaced 4.5 million people—the same number of southern Sudanese displaced during the entire three-decade Sudan civil war.
As the four-year conflict in South Sudan continues unabated, the country’s humanitarian situation has reached emergency levels and continues to worsen. Those who have fled their homes relay stories of atrocities, including unlawful killings, mass rapes, torture, arbitrary detentions, and looting and burning of property. A population movement of this magnitude, with majorities of some ethnic groups displaced, has the potential to cause massive and lasting damage to the country’s social fabric, as well as its viability as a sovereign state.
The humanitarian situation in South Sudan continues to deteriorate as the conflict persists unabated. Four years of widespread violence have left 6 million people—half the population—acutely food insecure.
Proposed justice measures in South Sudan—including the Hybrid Court—can be pursued despite disruptions in the implementation of the peace agreement.
The absence of state administration, both during the colonial period and since independence, defines this region. But when limited administration has existed, whether from the formal state or from various armed groups that operate there, it has been marked by continued competition over natural resources and land use between traditional chiefs, cross border traders, and rebel leaders. Inhabitants themselves have also played various roles in civil and proxy wars here. While a large economic development project failed to bring much needed assistance to the region, the recent discovery of gold has led both to conflicts and to newfound wealth.
South Sudanese renditions fall afoul of international law and pose legal risks for security sector professionals implicated.
South Sudan’s police force, the South Sudan National Police Service (SSNPS) faces numerous challenges as it seeks to provide internal security across the counties. The SSNPS’ size, force structure, command and control, and current deployment is difficult to ascertain since the ongoing conflict has led both to the integration of previous militia members and to widespread defections. Training for the SSNPS has been marred by abuse and sexual violence scandals. Finally, the force suffers from cronyism in promotions, reportedly widespread substance abuse, and a culture of impunity. A clearer delineation of the police and the army’s roles is required. Donor efforts to address similar problems in the Army have relegated the police to a secondary priority.