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UN-backed panel charges South Sudan officials with 'serious' human rights violations

A United Nations-backed panel of investigators alleges in a new report that several officials in South Sudan have perpetrated serious human rights violations and should be held accountable for their crimes.

The governor of South Sudan’s Unity State, Joseph Monytuil, is cited for being responsible for gross violations of human rights as well as other senior government and military officials, in the report released Monday by the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan.

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Lt. Gen. Thoi Chany Reat of the South Sudan People’s Defence Forces is among individuals warranting criminal investigation over state-sanctioned extrajudicial killings carried out in Mayom County in August 2022, the report says.

Several South Sudanese officials, including Deputy Chief of Defense Forces Lt. Gen. Thoi Chany Reat (right), have been accused of grave human rights violations by a United Nations-backed panel.

Several South Sudanese officials, including Deputy Chief of Defense Forces Lt. Gen. Thoi Chany Reat (right), have been accused of grave human rights violations by a United Nations-backed panel. (AP Photo/Samir Bol)

Koch County Commissioner Gordon Koang is also mentioned in the report which accused him of playing a role in attacks against civilians in the town of Leer in February and April 2022.

The officials were not immediately available for comment.

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The U.N. experts’ report says South Sudan, the world’s youngest nation, must tackle “impunity” to stem persistent violence and rights abuses. Perpetrators of the most serious crimes, including widespread attacks against civilians and extrajudicial killings, remain unpunished, according to the report.

“Over several years, our findings have consistently shown that impunity for serious crimes is a central driver of violence and misery faced by civilians in South Sudan,” said Yasmin Sooka, head of the investigating commissions. “So we have taken the step of naming more of the individuals who warrant criminal investigation and prosecution for their role in gross human rights violations.”

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The report is based on the commission’s investigations over the last 12 months.

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