SPLM-IO Protests the Conditional Release of Dr. Riek Machar from House Confinement

Posted: March 30, 2018 by PaanLuel Wël in December 2013 Crisis, HLRF, Junub Sudan

SPLM/A (IO) Deputy Chairman Open Letter

To: H.E. Dr. Abiy Ahmed Ali Prime Minister,

The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Subject: PROTEST ON THE CONDITIONS IMPOSED ON TRE RELEASE OF DR. RfEK MACHAR AS STATED IN THE COMMUNIQUE OF THE 61st EXTRA-ORDINARY SESSION OF IGAD COUNCIL OF MINISTERS ON THE SITUATION IN SOUTH SUDAN – ADDIS ABABA, March 26, 2018

riek wife

Riek Machar and his wife, Angelina Teny

 

Your Excellency,

March 30, 2018 (SSB) — On behalf of the SPLM/SPLA (IO) and on my behalf, I would like to express my profound appreciation for the tireless efforts the leadership of your country has exerted in leading IGAD and its Assembly of Heads of State and Government in the search for a lasting peace in South Sudan. Complementary to the above have been the IGAD Council of Ministers’ efforts to remain seized in bringing peace to South Sudan. I also take this opportunity to applaud H.E. Ambassador Dr. Ismail Wars, IGAD Special Envoy for South Sudan and his team, for the magnificent work done in facilitating and guiding the HLRF peace talks.

Your Excellency, I however would like to express serious concerns regarding decisions in the IGAD Council of Ministers’ Communique issued on March 26, 2018 in Addis Ababa, that we believe could prove detrimental to HRLF process. First of which is, and I quote: “Decides the house arest of SPLM/ IO leader Dr. Riek Machar be lifted as soon as possible, on conditions that ensure he will renounce violence and not obstruct the peace process and he be allowed to

relocate to any country outside the region and are not neighboring !South Sudan; designated IGAD Ministers will propose and decide a possible location.”

First, we are shocked and disappointed to learn that IGAD is responsible for the house arrest of our Chairman Dr. Riek Machar but more significant, besides the admission for having subjected Dr. Riek Machar to house arrest for nearly two years, are the conditions attached to his supposed release. All this time we took IGAD in good faith as a mediator in the conflict, this revelation is most unfortunate. However, as of now, I shall not discuss the merits (or lack thereofl of the arrest but leave it to any legal process that might arise. In any case, we welcome the decision to lift the house arrest of Dr. Riek Machar.

The lifting of the house arrest is conditional on that Dr. Riek Machar will renounce violence and not obstruct the peace process. Since IGAD has decided to be the prosecutor, the jury and the judge, we have the following to state on the two conditions before consideration of a possible relocation of SPLM/SPLA (IO) Chairman to another country.

On the condition to renounce violence, the SPLM/SPLA (IO) signed the CoHA in December 22, 2017 which we continue to observe to date. This is a demonstration of the SPLWSPLA (IO) coriimitment to peace and peaceful resolution to the conflict in South Sudan, a commitment we continue to uphold since the breakout of crisis in 2013. The SPLM/SPLA (IO) willingly signed the ARCISS on August 17, 2015.

President Salva on the other hand signed only after serious international pressure and attached reservations which he implemented and that resulted in the final abrogation of ARCISS in July 2016. It is to be recalled that we went to Juba despite the non completion of the agreed transitional security arrangements. The violence of July 2016 that took the country back to war was initiated by President Salva and his government. The UN panel of investigated the incident and concluded that President Salva was responsible for the incident. The wonder here, your Excellency, is why the Chairman of SPLM/SPLA (IO) is required to renounce violence when the Organization he leads is a signatory to the CoHA? And, he also instructed the SPLM/SPLA (IO) forces in writing to respect and comply with the CoHA.

On the condition “not to obstruct peace”, after renewed violence by the government of President Salva Kiir in July 2016, SPLM/SPLA (IO) strived relentlessly for over a year advocating for initiation of a political process to end the conflict. You are aware that it took IGAD a year and six months to accept convening such a process, finally announcing the High Level Revitalization Forum which SPLM/SPLA (IO) welcomed. The Chairman of the SPLM/SPLA (IO) constituted a delegation to the HRLF without any preconditions.

I, as the Deputy Chairman of the SPLM/SPLA (IO), lead the delegation to the HLRF. It is widely known that we have engaged constructively and signed two agreements, namely the CoHA or December 22, 2017 during phase I and the Declaration of Principles during phase II in February 2018. We did all these despite the fact that our Chairman was under house arrest of which no one was ready to take responsibility. These actions by the SPLM/SPLA (IO) and its leader Dr. Riek Machar have been positive and enhanced the prospect for peace. We are disappointed by the decision of IGAD Council of Ministers of singling out the Chairman of the SPLM/SPLA (IO) and asking him not to obstruct peace when his delegation is engaging in peace talks which reflects his DOllilnitment and blessing.

Mr. Prime Minister, in no circumstance has Dr. Riek Machar initiated violence or obstruction of peace in South Sudan. The records are there to verify that. He also provided the necessary leadership toward peace in the year 2015. He remained committed, despite the last attempt on his own life on July 8, 2016, to seek peace and has written several letters to world leaders to resuscitate ARCIS culminating to the HRF.

Your Excellency, based on the facts as mentioned above, it is clear that Dr. Riek Machar is a subject of personal targeting in these IGAD decisions. We cannot help but wonder as to what are the motives that inform IGAD’s decisions because it is obvious that they have nothing to do with the peace process.

Second, over violations of CoHA, the government of President Salva Kiir after it signed CoHA has refused to implement the CoHA. To date the government has continuously attacked our areas causing unnecessary death and untold suffering to innocent civilians when guns are supposed to be silent. It is indeed a cause for serious alarm when the Council of Ministers of IGAD only expressed “extreme concern on the report submitted by CTSAMM on flagrant violations of the CoHA by the SPLA-IG troops in the Nassir area, on l2th of February 2018.” This violation warrants punitive action especially in the light of the recommendation by the IGAD special envoy urging the IGAD Council of Ministers to take decisive measures on violations of CoHA verified and submitted by CTSAMM.

We are aware that the CTSAMM report on the Nasir attack has been before the Council for the last month. We are particularly disturbed by the fact that the Communique urges TGoNU and SPLM/SPLA (IO) to investigate, hold criminally accountable the violators and submit reports to the Chair of the Council. On our part we are committed to bringing violators to account. IGAD is, however, aware that the regime has simply refused to implement the CoHA and to release the Political Detainees/Abductees and Prisoners of War (POWs).

IGAD should first ensure the implementation of CoHA, the release of Political Detainees/Abductees, POWs and signing of Declaration of Principles (DoP) by the regime. This will assure SPLM/SPLA (IO) that IGAD is able and willing to ensure implementation of signed agreements and build mist and confidence in HRLF and its role as a guarantor for peace.

Third, over the signing of the DoP during Phase II of the HLRF peace talks, SPLM/SPLA (IO) and other opposition groups signed the DoP which the government of Salva Kiir adamantly declined to sign. By not signing the DoP, the government has shown audacity of disregarding CoHA and therefore its pursuit of violence and obstruction of peace. The IGAD Council of Ministers Communique has not taken measures to compel SPLM-IG to sign the DoP. Again IGAD needs to demonstrate that it can prevail and rein on the government, since the government lacks political will to implement any agreement.

Your Excellency, I would like to submit to you that the conditions set that Dr. Riek Machar should renounce violence and not obstruct the peace process are obstacles and are intentionally placed to frustrate the process and his participation. We are aware that the SPLM-IG representative patticipated in the closed doors session where decisions were made by IGAD Council of Ministers. I am once again humbly requesting the unconditional release of the SPLM/SPLA (IO) Chairman and Commander in Chief, Dr. Riek Machar and his participation in the HRLF.

Your Excellency, for the peace process to be credible, I am again, as in my previous letter to your predecessor, requesting the release of all Political Detainees/Abductees and POWs. For our part, we have already released the POWs. We did not have Political Detainees/Abductees. I also take this opportunity to urge IGAD that measures be put in place to hold the government accountable for February attack in Nasir and to sign DoP, and finally we request that Juba must not participate in future IGAD Council of Ministers meeting when deliberating on South Sudan crisis because the government cannot mediate a conflict that it has started and is a party to.

Accept, Mr. Prime Minister, the assurance of my highest consideration.

Henry D. Odwar

Deputy Chairman, SPLM/A (IO) dhodwar@hotmai1.com

Cc:

1. IGAD Heads of State and Government

2. Chairperson, AU Commission

3. AU Peace and Security Council

4. President, UN Security Council

5. UN Secretary-General

6. Troika (Norway, UK and USA)

7. European Union Envoy

8. China

9. IGAD Envoy

The opinion expressed here is solely the view of the writer. The veracity of any claim made is the responsibility of the author, not PaanLuel Wël: South Sudanese Bloggers (SSB) website. If you want to submit an opinion article, commentary or news analysis, please email it to paanluel2011@gmail.com. PaanLuel Wël website (SSB) do reserve the right to edit or reject material before publication. Please include your full name, a short biography, email address, city and the country you are writing from.

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