African Union welcomes South Sudan approval for AU hybrid court

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ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA - MAY 31: The African Union (AU) Commissioner for Peace and Security Smail Chergui makes a speech as he and other senior diplomats of Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) attend the Council of Ministers Extraordinary Meeting to discuss South Sudan peace agreement in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on May 31, 2018. (Photo by Minasse Wondimu Hailu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

The African Union welcomed an approval by South Sudan establishing the long-awaited African Union Hybrid Court enshrined in the 2018 revitalized peace deal to try war crimes committed during the more than six years of conflict.

FILE PHOTO: The African Union (AU) Commissioner for Peace and Security Smail Chergui. (Photo by Minasse Wondimu Hailu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

AU Commissioner for Peace and Security Smail Chergui hailed the development as another major step towards the restoration of peace and stability in the country.

“I welcome yet another major development in #SouthSudan towards establishing the #HybridCourt as per the Revitalized Peace Agreement. Implementation of the Peace Agreement of 2018 is critical towards the restoration of peace, stability and development in South Sudan,” Chergui tweeted.

On Friday, South Sudan’s Minister of Information and Broadcasting Michael Makuei Lueth said the cabinet had authorized his counterpart in the Justice ministry to begin the process of establishing the court.

Chapter 5 of the peace deal signed by President Salva Kiir and First Vice President Riek Machar calls for the establishment of the Hybrid Court, transitional justice, accountability, reconciliation and healing institutions.

The UN panel of experts on South Sudan has on several occasions accused the government of delaying and obstructing the process of establishing the Hybrid Court.

The court once set up will be constituted by both South Sudanese and judges from other African countries.

South Sudan is currently struggling to implement key aspects of the 2018 peace deal, like the training and unification of both opposition and government troops.

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