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The African Union Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan

PRESS RELEASE No 2 Addis Ababa, 2 April 2014: The African Union (AU) Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan held its second meeting yesterday and today. The Chairperson of the Commission of Inquiry, former President Olusegun Obasanjo and other members of the Commission, namely Professor Mahmood Mamdani, Ms. Bineta Diop, Professor Pacifique Manirakiza and Lady Justice Sophia Akuffo were in attendance. Following the swearing in of Lady Justice Sophia Akuffo, the President of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the Commission is now fully constituted.

The second working meeting of the Commission dealt with a wide range of issues towards the fulfillment of its mandate. The Commission of Inquiry revised and firmed up its work plan, agreeing on working methods and setting out the activities to be conducted as part of its inquiry into the crisis in South Sudan. The Commission also agreed on wide-ranging meetings and visits including leaders, victims, refugees, detainees, IDPs, and members of civil society that the Commission will engage with in the coming weeks. With respect to the planned meetings, discussions and exchanges, the Commission has firmed up its first round of travel to South Sudan slated for before the end of April 2014. Following its planned meeting with President Salva Kiir, the Commission will engage with other actors in South Sudan, including former Vice President Riek Machar.

In the same period, the Commission has planned to meet with key leaders in the region, including Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn, of Ethiopia, President Omar Al Bashir of Sudan, President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya. The Commission also commenced its engagement with stakeholders and gathering of information that will inform its work.

The Commission received expert information and report from several experts on matters relating to governance, institutional reforms and strengthening, one of the focal areas of the Commission’s mandate. Those heard from were: former Director of Political Affairs of United Nations Mission in Sudan in Juba, former Chief of Staff of the Ethiopian Defence Forces; Chief of Staff of the African Union High Level Implementation Panel on Sudan and South Sudan; a civil society expert working in South Sudan and the former United Nations Force Commander in Abyei. As the Commission prepares for its forthcoming meetings and field missions, it continues to receive information from the public in and out of South Sudan by way of memoranda on various aspects of its mandate.

To keep the public informed, the Commission resolved to hold periodic media briefings and to issue regular press releases. The Commission also resolved to create a website for this purpose. The Commission of Inquiry agreed to reconvene before the end of April 2014.