Sudan and South Sudan

Report Urges ‘Aggressive’ Strategy in Obama’s Plan B to End South Sudan War

Date: 
Aug 12, 2015

 

As August 17 Deadline Looms, Elites Stalling Peace Process Should Face Sanctions, Asset Seizures

August 12, 2015 – As the clock ticks down on South Sudan's peace talks, a new Enough Project report makes recommendations for a threatened “Plan B” to force the warring parties to end a conflict that has left tens of thousands dead and has featured widespread rape, child soldiers, and the burning of villages. President Obama has promised grave consequences if South Sudan President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar fail to sign a peace agreement by the internationally designated deadline of August 17.

Enough’s report, “Beyond Deadlock: Recommendations for Obama’s Plan B on South Sudan,” calls for the Plan B strategy to include high-level asset freezes and travel bans, a global arms embargo, and the prosecution of grand corruption and atrocity crimes, including natural resource pillage as a war crime.

John Prendergast, Founding Director of the Enough Project, said: "With each passing day it looks like a Plan B will be necessary in South Sudan. If August 17 passes by with no agreement, the U.S. government should launch an aggressive diplomatic strategy at the UN Security Council to secure a global arms embargo and impose a second round of high-level sanctions designations against South Sudan's leaders and their financial enablers.

South Sudan’s warring factions have one last chance to end their country’s 20-month civil war and sign a compromise agreement proposed by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) mediators, who are leading negotiations.

The U.S. government has promised serious consequences if the parties fail to meet the August 17 deadline set by the international community. During his recent visit to East Africa, President Obama, warned that the United States is prepared to move forward with additional available tools to apply greater pressure on the parties. He said that if the two sides miss the deadline, “the international community must raise the costs of intransigence.” On August 4, President Obama also warned, “If they miss [the August 17 deadline] then I think it’s our view that it’s going to be necessary for us to move forward with a different plan and recognize that those leaders are incapable of creating the peace that is required.”

"More sanctions are part of the story, but the real game changer in South Sudan will be a transnational commitment to trace, seize and ideally return the billions that have been stolen from the South Sudanese people by their own leaders,” said Akshaya Kumar, Sudan and South Sudan Policy Analyst at the Enough Project, adding, “That money, and continued access to patronage networks, lies at the heart of elite motivations driving the ongoing conflict."

Pressure from President Obama and other world leaders at such a pivotal moment in negotiations has already set in motion the most serious peace deliberations to date. The United States must be prepared to take swift action on the promised Plan B should the parties once again fail to agree to and implement peace. The United States must follow through on the president’s strong words with equally strong action, both unilaterally and at the U.N. Security Council, where so far only six ground commanders —who hold little in the way of personal wealth or assets outside of South Sudan—have been designated for sanctions.

Report excerpts:

  • “Even as South Sudan’s warring parties bitterly debate the proposed compromise agreement, the United States should prepare to take swift action on a Plan B that imposes a direct cost on South Sudan’s leaders who continue to put their own personal ambitions above their obligations toward the people of South Sudan.“
  • “The impact of this Plan B will largely depend on the ability of the U.S. government to garner regional support for targeted sanctions against high-level political and military elites that have significant wealth and assets in Kenya, Ethiopia, and Uganda. Travel bans, an arms embargo, the criminal prosecution of pillage, and efforts to recover the proceeds of grand corruption should also be a part of President Obama’s Plan B.“
  • “South Sudanese people are weary of corruption and conflict at the hands of their own leaders, and support to strengthen civil society in order to hold leaders accountable is necessary. The United States has the institutions, resources, and capabilities necessary to ensure there is a cost for continuing the conflict.”

The report offers 7 key recommendations for an effective Plan B:

  1. Implementation of high-level asset freezes, travel bans, and an arms embargo
    President Obama should request that the U.S. Department of the Treasury prepare dossiers to present to the U.N. Security Council on high-level targets and their financial backers and enablers. If the two parties fail to sign the proposed compromise agreement by the August 17 deadline, the Security Council should be prepared to impose additional designations immediately. Because many of the targets’ assets are in the region, the United States should urge Kenya and Ethiopia to ensure U.N. sanctions designations are enforced. The United States should also support a global arms embargo on South Sudan. Should these measures fail to gain the support of the Security Council, the United States should be prepared to build a coalition of countries that are willing to ratchet up the pressure on high-level officials from both sides, who undermine peace and are responsible for ongoing atrocities.
     
  2. Measures to end impunity for economic and atrocity crimes
    The United States should fully support IGAD’s proposed Hybrid Court for South Sudan (HCSS), including its mandate to investigate and prosecute pillage as a war crime and other serious crimes, including grand corruption.  The United States should offer technical and legal assistance to the court and South Sudan’s existing Anti-Corruption Commission, including specific expertise on asset tracing and financial crimes investigations. The United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and others should also take steps to prosecute pillage cases involving South Sudan within their own legal jurisdictions to ensure that corporations do not benefit from the pillage of South Sudan’s natural resource wealth.
     
  3. Strengthened regional capacity to enforce U.N. sanctions  
    Building on efforts to tackle corruption and money laundering in the region, the United States should offer additional legal and technical support to improve regional sanctions enforcement. The U.S. should prioritize programs that enhance the operational capacity of regional financial intelligence units to identify and freeze the assets of designated individuals. The United States should also urge Kenya, Ethiopia, and Uganda to submit reports on their efforts to enforce U.N. sanctions as required by U.N. Security Council Resolution 2206. 
     
  4. A connection of regional infrastructure projects to peace  
    The U.S. and Chinese governments should jointly review bilateral and multilateral funds earmarked for regional infrastructure projects in East Africa to assess the feasibility of additional investments given the risks presented by ongoing conflict in South Sudan. This review should make clear that active regional sanctions enforcement will be considered a key risk mitigation factor.
     
  5. Measures to return the proceeds of corruption back to South Sudan  
    President Obama should direct the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and the FBI to provide inter-agency support to the U.S. Department of Justice’s Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative and focus on investigating instances of grand corruption in South Sudan. The U.S. should also encourage Kenya, Ethiopia, and Uganda to actively contribute to global efforts to trace, seize, freeze, and return the proceeds of corruption to the people of South Sudan by sharing intelligence through the Asset Recovery Inter-Agency Network for Eastern Africa.
     
  6. Amplification of civil society advocacy to increase beneficial ownership transparency 
    Donors should support efforts by South Sudanese civil society groups to advocate for the full implementation of existing beneficial ownership transparency rules and other public disclosure provisions laid out in the 2012 Petroleum Act and the Transitional Constitution of 2011.  Donors should also support civil society efforts in Kenya, Ethiopia, and Uganda to demand increased transparency about the real owners of corporate assets and trusts, as well as information about payments made to governments for mining and oil concessions. At the same time, the U.S. Treasury should revise its own proposed rule on beneficial ownership to include a look-back provision before the final rule’s publication later in August 2015.
     
  7. Greater resources for civil society groups to fight corruption 
    Donors should use South Sudan’s ratification of the U.N. Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) as an entry point for supporting efforts by grassroots organizations to hold their own leaders to account for the misuse and misappropriation of government funds. Ensuring the provision of space for civil society participation during the transition, including protections for local journalists and news outlets, should be made a precondition for the resumption of donor assistance to the government of South Sudan.

Link to the full Report: http://eno.ug/1TtgaLd

For media inquiries or interview requests, please contact:
Greg Hittelman, Director of Communications, +1 310 717 0606, gh@enoughproject.org

About THE ENOUGH PROJECT
The Enough Project seeks to build leverage for peace and justice in Africa by helping to create real consequences for the perpetrators and facilitators of genocide and other mass atrocities. Enough aims to counter rights-abusing armed groups and violent kleptocratic regimes that are fueled by grand corruption, transnational crime and terror, and the pillaging and trafficking of minerals, ivory, diamonds, and other natural resources. Enough conducts field research in conflict zones, develops and advocates for policy recommendations, supports social movements in affected countries, and mobilizes public campaigns. Learn more – and join us – at www.EnoughProject.org

7 Things That Need To Be In An Effective Plan B for South Sudan

August 17 is the deadline set for South Sudan's warring parties to reach a final political settlement to end their country's twenty-month civil war. Today, 5 days until the deadline, the Enough Project released a new brief outlining the 7 key elements for an effective Plan B.  Read More »

Beyond Deadlock: Recommendations for Obama’s Plan B on South Sudan

South Sudan’s warring factions have one last chance to end their country’s 20-month civil war and sign a compromise agreement proposed by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) mediators, who are leading negotiations. The U.S. government has promised serious consequences if the parties fail to meet the August 17 deadline set by the international community. During his recent visit to East Africa, President Obama convened a roundtable on South Sudan with the presidents of Kenya and Uganda, Ethiopia’s prime minister, Sudan’s foreign minister, and the African Union Commission’s chairperson to build consensus on the need to collectively pressure South Sudan’s warring parties toward peace. In no uncertain terms, President Obama warned that the United States is prepared to move forward with additional available tools to apply greater pressure on the parties. When speaking to the African Union, he said that if the two sides miss the deadline, “the international community must raise the costs of intransigence.” At a press conference in the region with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, President Obama explained, “we also think that [the United States] can be a mechanism for additional leverage on the parties, who, up until this point, have proven very stubborn and have not yet risen to the point where they are looking out for the interests of their nation as opposed to their particular self-interests. And that transition has to take place, and it has to take place now.”

Beyond Deadlock

South Sudan: Protracted War in the World's Youngest Nation

Enough Project's Akshaya Kumar joins a Google Hangout hosted by the Montreal Institute of Genocide Studies on the situation in South Sudan.

Courtesy: Montreal Institute of Genocide Studies. Streamed live on Aug 3, 2015.
 
In July 2011, with a 99.83% pro-vote, South Sudan became an independent state. After years of civil war and violence, many believed that the schisms that one divided “larger” Sudan might dissipate, allowing for the development of good governance, judicial accountability, and at least a modicum of prosperity. In 2013, however, as divisions emerged in the governing structure of the young country, the population seemed to become split on the basis of their loyalty to either the president, or his newly fired ex-deputy, and violence emerged once more. The subsequent conflict between South Sudan’s government forces—the SPLA—and the rebel SPLA-In Opposition (IO), has seen some of the most atrocious violations of human rights, especially in oil producing Unity State. A recent Human Rights Watch report documents several cases of rape, extra-judicial killings, torture, civilians-targeted attacks, and countless other war crimes and crimes against humanity. 143,000 students are currently enrolled in UNICEF emergency education programs. 2 millions individuals have been displaced. 4 millions are living in a state of food insecurity. The humanitarian crisis alone merits the attention of the international community, yet continues to fall in deaf ears. 

Panel:

  • Skye Wheeler is a researcher in Human Rights Watch’s Africa Division working on South Sudan and Sudan. 
  • Akshaya Kumar is the Sudan and South Sudan Policy Analyst for the Enough Project. 

 

 

Washington Post Editorial: South Sudan Destroyed from within by “Kleptocratic Regime”

The spectacle of failure in South Sudan is saddening. A nation that was brought to independence with the enthusiastic support of the United States, ending a long civil war, is now being torn apart by its own leaders. Millions in South Sudan are enduring hunger and disease. In the annals of nation-building experiments, this one may be remembered as ill-fated and short-lived. President Obama is now threatening further punishment of warring parties in a nation he once helped to its feet...  Read More »

Enough Project’s Akshaya Kumar Testifies on “The Current Human Rights Situation in South Sudan”

On July 10, the Enough Project’s Akshaya Kumar testified on The Current Human Rights Situation in South Sudan before the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, stressing that U.S. government must be willing to impose punishing consequences on those most responsible for obstructing the peace, stealing from their own people, and committing atrocity crimes, even if that means targeting those it considered friends in the past.  Read More »

First Sentry Report: The Nexus of Corruption and Conflict in South Sudan

The Sentry released its first report, The Nexus of Corruption and Conflict in South Sudan, which maps out the corruption and the conflict-financing system in South Sudan and describes the likely channeling of illicit money flows.  Read More »

​Enough Project Urges Obama to Create Cost for Greed Fueling War in South Sudan

Date: 
Jul 23, 2015

 

As the US President Lauds African Progress, Peace Efforts in Newest Nation
Undermined by Grand Corruption; Brief Offers 7 Steps to Bolster Peace Efforts

July 23, 2015 -- In advance of President Obama’s arrival this Friday in Nairobi and the start of an historic set of diplomatic meetings and events in East Africa, the Enough Project today published a policy brief addressing one of the region’s most urgent crises, the civil war in South Sudan. "Creating a Cost for Those Destroying South Sudan" by the Enough Project’s Founding Director John Prendergast and Policy Analyst Akshaya Kumar, offers analysis and recommendations to tackle the connection between grand corruption and the financing of an escalating armed conflict.

The newest country in the world, one ushered in with strong US support, South Sudan is embroiled in a war pitting those loyal to South Sudan President Salva Kiir and a rebellion led by his former Vice President Riek Machar. Regional peace talks based in Addis Ababa, a scheduled destination on Obama’s current trip, have floundered, leaving millions caught in a conflict that has featured mass killings, child soldiers, rape, and the burning of villages.

Akshaya Kumar, Sudan and South Sudan Policy Analyst at the Enough Project, said: “South Sudan is now under the grip of two competing groups of kleptocrats who have shown a repugnant disregard for human suffering in their quest to enrich themselves, but it does not need to stay that way. Decisive sanctions enforcement by the international community, asset recovery efforts, and a hybrid court with purview over economic crimes can break these illicit networks and make way for peace.”     

John Prendergast, Founding Director of the Enough Project, said: "To support mediation efforts, much more work is needed to alter the calculations of the warring parties from pursuing armed violence to pursuing peace. The leaders of the two sides fight on in the belief that there will be no personal consequence, and outside actors collaborate in the destruction of this embryonic state through their military support and collusion in vast corruption, both past and present. Without a wider strategy of financial pressures and a push to secure regional and broader international cooperation for that approach, it will be difficult to address the deep political divisions fueled by a violent struggle for the spoils of a corrupt state. President Obama’s trip offers an opportunity to reorient U.S. government policies to move beyond threats and focus on a much more robust strategy of disrupting and ultimately dismantling the network that is funding, fueling, and profiting from the conflict in South Sudan.”

Justine Fleischner, Sudan and South Sudan Policy Analyst at the Enough Project, said: “One of the most important steps President Obama can take while he is here in the region is to secure a commitment from President Kenyatta and Prime Minister Hailemariam that they are willing to enforce high-level targeted sanctions against those most responsible for attacks against civilians. He should also secure their commitment to cooperate with any subsequent investigations to return the proceeds of corruption back to the people of South Sudan.”

Enough’s South Sudan Brief urges that while in Kenya and Ethiopia, President Obama should focus support for seven critical steps to bolster peace efforts:

  1. Asset Freezes, Travel Bans, and an Arms Embargo: Urge President Uhuru Kenyatta and Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn to work with the United States in support of a multilateral arms embargo and the imposition of an escalating set of high-level sanctions designations against politically influential individuals and their enablers. Also, encourage the Kenyan and Ethiopian leaders to enforce the existing sanctions designations by freezing the assets and restricting the travel of the six military commanders who are already designated by the U.N. Security Council.  Make it clear that if the presence of any of the designated individuals is required for the peace process, the government of Ethiopia can request a case-by-case exemption from the U.N. Sanctions Committee as provided under U.N. Security Council Resolution 2206.  This push in the region should be coupled with a directive to the Departments of State and Treasury as well as to other relevant agencies to intensify their efforts to collect information and develop dossiers on potential additional targets for sanctions. These targets may include South Sudan’s high-level political leaders and their financial backers, in the region and beyond. This strategy could lay the foundation for a rapidly escalating targeted sanctions regime that begins to finally create a cost for those making the decisions to continue the war or fund and profit from it.
  2. Kleptocracy Asset Recovery and Return: Urge Kenya and Ethiopia to contribute actively to a transnational effort to trace, seize, freeze, and return the proceeds of corruption to the people of South Sudan by sharing intelligence through the Asset Recovery Inter-Agency Network of Eastern Africa. At the same time, prioritize U.S. inter-agency support to the Department of Justice’s Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative as it seeks to identify actionable cases of grand corruption with a strong connection to the United States. Work with the U.K.’s Proceeds of International Corruption Unit and with Europol, Canada, and Australia to pursue this agenda internationally.
  3. Capacity Building for U.N. Sanctions Enforcement: Offer to expand the U.S. government’s existing effort to build the technical capacity of East African financial institutions beyond the Treasury Department’s current emphasis on anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing support to also include capacity-building assistance for more effective U.N. sanctions enforcement. Prioritize the programs that enhance the operational capacity of regional financial intelligence units in Uganda, Kenya, and Ethiopia to coordinate asset freezes. Urge President Kenyatta and Prime Minister Hailemariam to submit member state reports on Kenyan and Ethiopian efforts to enforce U.N. Security Council Resolution 2206.  These reports should include a discussion of Kenyan and Ethiopian domestic sanctions implementation frameworks.
  4. Beneficial Ownership Transparency: Ask Kenya, Ethiopia, and other African states to adopt regulatory reforms to increase transparency about the beneficial owners of corporate assets and trusts. Connect the proliferation of shell companies and secrecy jurisdictions in Africa with the broad problem the continent faces with illicit financial flows  and the recent U.N. decision to redouble efforts to combat these practices  At the same time, urge the U.S. Department of Treasury to incorporate expanded control requirements and a look-back provision into the U.S. government’s proposed beneficial ownership rule,  set to be released in August.
  5. Connecting Regional Infrastructure Projects to Peace: Make clear that the U.S. government is ready to work with Chinese President Xi Jinping to lead a comprehensive review of bilateral and multilateral funds earmarked for regional infrastructure projects in East Africa to assess the viability of such investments given the conflict in South Sudan. Regional sanctions enforcement should be made a criteria in an overall risk mitigation strategy governing the disbursement of donor funds, foreign investment, and technical assistance to implement these important infrastructure development projects.
  6. Accountability for Pillage and Grand Corruption: Build on the U.S. government’s May 2015 pledge of $5 million for justice and accountability in South Sudan and on both warring parties’ February 2015 commitment to a hybrid court by urging the immediate creation of a hybrid court for South Sudan with an investigative wing to begin work even before the conflict ends. The court should have jurisdiction over crimes against humanity, human rights abuses, economic crimes—including pillage, as a war crime—and grand corruption. While in the region, also amplify the U.S. government’s push for the African Union Peace and Security Council to consider and release the AU Commission of Inquiry’s report on South Sudan.
  7. Empowering Anti-Corruption Civil Society Actors: Meet with civil society, especially anti-corruption campaigners from Kenya, Ethiopia, and South Sudan. In the longer term, the United States should prioritize funding to civil society groups in South Sudan that are actively engaged in anti-corruption campaigns to improve transparency and accountability in government spending. In South Sudan, which recently ratified the U.N. Convention Against Corruption, laws already criminalize corruption and require elected officials to disclose their assets and corporate interest.  South Sudanese civil society groups can advocate that these provisions be enforced.

Link to the full Policy Brief: http://eno.ug/1eer9Kv

For media inquiries or interview requests, please contact:
Greg Hittelman, Director of Communications, +1 310 717 0606 gh@enoughproject.org

About THE ENOUGH PROJECT
The Enough Project seeks to build leverage for peace and justice in Africa by helping to create real consequences for the perpetrators and facilitators of genocide and other mass atrocities. Enough aims to counter rights-abusing armed groups and violent kleptocratic regimes that are fueled by grand corruption, transnational crime and terror, and the pillaging and trafficking of minerals, ivory, diamonds, and other natural resources. Enough conducts field research in conflict zones, develops and advocates for policy recommendations, supports social movements in affected countries, and mobilizes public campaigns. Learn more – and join us – at www.EnoughProject.org

Daily Beast Op-Ed: How Obama Can Stop South Sudan’s War

In this Daily Beast Op-Ed written by John Prendergast and Akshaya Kumar, sheds light on the opportunities presented during the President’s trip to Africa and immediately thereafter to press strongly for real consequences on financiers and architects of violence to support an end to the culture of impunity in South Sudan  Read More »

New Brief: Creating a Cost for Those Destroying South Sudan

As President Obama leaves for Africa today, the Enough Project is releasing its latest policy brief, Creating a Cost for Those Destroying South Sudan, which makes specific recommendations for tackling corruption and conflict financing in South Sudan.  Read More »

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