President Yoweri Museveni has met with the African Union Commission of Inquiry investigating war crimes in the South Sudan conflict.
The session at the President’s country home on Friday in Kiruhura District was attended by the commission chairperson, Mr Olusegun Obasanjo, the former president of Nigeria.
Other members of the commission included the executive secretary, Mr Olabisi Dare, Gender Specialist Simone Yankey Quattara and Political Affairs Officer John Ikubaje.
Others are Legal Counsel Lulit Getacher, Special Assistant to Obasanjo, Oyabami Akande and Mr Ahmed Kamal from the Communication Department of the African Union.
A statement from State House only mentioned that Mr Obasanjo was on a working visit and had discussed the Sudan war with President Museveni. It was dry on what transpired at the closed door meeting but listed the participants.
However, information available from the Africa Union Secretariat indicates that the Obasanjo Commission is mandated to investigate war crimes and establish ways to promote accountability, reconciliation, healing and institutional reforms in South Sudan that is bleeding due to a war blamed on ethnic differences.
According to the AU statement, “first level perpetrators” of war crimes will be identified through ongoing investigations. The rebels and the South Sudan government have accused each other of massacres, which each side denies.
A UN report has accused Ugandan soldiers of using the outlawed ‘cluster bombs’. But the UPDF hasdismissed the claim.
In the circumstances, the Commission on the South Sudan war is leaning towards the creation of a hybrid court along the lines of the Extraordinary African Chambers, in Senegal (the HissèneHabré Tribunal).
It will be established jointly by the African Union and United Nations. The UN Secretary-General, Mr Ban Ki Moon proposed the establishment of the tribunal “to try crimes that may arise from the current crisis in South Sudan.”
Chronology of events
July 24, 2013. President Salva Kiir fires entire cabinet as struggle emerges
December 15, 2013. Fighting breaks out after disagreements in SPLA Army Council.
December 16, 2013. President Kiir declares 6pm to 6am curfew in Juba after failed coup.
December 16, 2013. Fighting breaks out and spreads beyond Juba
December 18, 2013. Suspected coup plotters arrested, detained in Juba, war intensifies.
December 20, 2013. UPDF is deployed to evacuate Ugandans, stop genocide.
January 23, 2014. Representatives of the govt, rebels sign truce in Addis
March 7, 2014. Chairman of AU Commission Dr Dlamini Zuma appoints probe team.
March 12, 2014. Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan sworn in.
May 10, 2014. Kiir and Machar sign another ceasefire pact in Addis Ababa.