This report on the status of implementation of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS) has been prepared pursuant to article 7.9 of Chapter VII of the R-ARCSS. The report covers the period from 1 July 2021 to 30 September 2021 and builds on the previous quarterly Report No. 011/21. It provides a status update on progress or lack thereof in the implementation of the tasks stipulated in the R-ARCSS during the reporting period, highlight challenges facing the implementation, provide observations and concludes with recommendations for remedial measures.
The report draws from reports periodically received from Agreement institutions and mechanisms, participatory peer-reviews of the status of implementation of the thematic chapters of the R-ARCSS through monthly meetings of the six Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (RJMEC) Working Committees, RJMEC monthly plenary meetings and regular consultative meetings the RJMEC leadership convenes with the Parties to the R-ARCSS, other South Sudanese stakeholders and adherents, regional guarantors and International Partners and Friends of South Sudan.
More than half-way through the Transitional thirty-six month period, progress in implementation is relatively slow. Some progress have been registered particularly within Chapter I of the Agreement led by the formation of the R-TGONU, establishment of the Transitional National Legislative Assembly (TNLA), and formation of the state government. Still outstanding is the establishment of the state legislative assemblies and the national commissions. CTSAMVM reports that the ceasefire is holding between the Parties to the R-ARCSS, however, the most important tasks of the Transitional Security Arrangements (TSAs, Chapter II) have not been implemented.
There have been small gains in humanitarian affairs (Chapter III) with the return of refugees and IDPs and the opening of humanitarian corridors. On economic reforms (Chapter IV), a PFM Oversight Committee has been formed and undertaken some much needed reforms. With regards to Transitional Justice issues (Chapter V) work is just getting started on the Commission for Truth Reconciliation and Healing while the African Union is expected to take up establishment of the Hybrid Court together with the government of South Sudan. Legislation to determine the permanent Constitution making process (Chapter VI) was recently forwarded to the TNL.
Whatever positive progress that have been made is overshadowed by the failure of the RTGoNU to make inroads in key areas of the R-ARCSS. In particular, there has been no movement in the graduation and deployment of the Necessary Unified Forces (NUF) as the parties have not reached compromise on the ratio sharing for forces and the command structure. Failure to address the TSAs may have contributed to intercommunal violence and defections of military personnel. For instance, fighting among the Balanda and Azande tribes in Eastern Equatoria State and the defection of the former Chief of Staff of the SPLA-IO resulting in clashes in Magenis.
There are also noted delays in the establishment of the state assemblies, as well as key national commissions and important institutions such as the National Audit Chamber and the Anticorruption Commission. Worse, none of the transitional justice institutions have been set up although some work has started on the Committee for Truth Reconciliation and Healing (CTRH).
The report also identifies some of the key challenges that hinder progress in implementation.
This includes: insufficient political will among the Parties to compromise where needed; trust deficit and lack of confidence among the Parties including intra-Party disagreements and infighting; delays and lack of prioritisation of key tasks; and lack of sufficient funding and resources needed for the full implementation of the Agreement.
Faced with those challenges the RJMEC Leadership engaged in a number of high-level diplomatic engagements both with the RTGoNU Presidency, the TNLA Speaker and regional leaders in an effort to impress upon them the urgency of addressing the critical issues that continue to impede progress in implementation of the R-ARCSS. IGAD for its part convened an extraordinary meeting to address the splintering of the SPLM/A-IO and assess the general progress of implementation of the R-ARCSS.
Further, RJMEC makes a series of recommendations within the report that are aimed towards increasing the pace of implementation even as the country moves toward the holding of elections at the end of the Transitional Period. Recommendations to the RTGoNU relate to: immediate establishment of the state legislative assemblies and reconstitution of the relevant institutions and mechanisms at the national level; the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs to table the remaining reviewed bills for the Council of Minister’s approval; complete the formation of the ad hoc Judicial Reforms Committee; settle the issue of the command structure for the NUF and avail the necessary financial resources for the completion of the TSAs; and prioritise the establishment of the SRF and Board to coordinate international support to the peace process.
Concerning the TNL, RJMEC recommends that they: embark upon their legislative and oversight functions in support of the implementation of the R-ARCSS, including expediting the enactment of the pending bills such as the Constitutional Amendment Bill, the Permanent Constitution-making process, and the Youth Enterprise Fund Bill; and debate the FY 2021/22 government budget. To IGAD: complete the process of nominating the Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson to the ad-hoc Judicial Reforms Committee; urge the Parties to the Agreement for continued dialogue and trust-building amongst themselves on all unresolved issues; convene the high-level ‘Leadership Retreat’ of the principals to the R-ARCSS; and appeal to all actors under SSOMA to pursue the Sant’Egidio mediation process.
To the Africa Union: Finally, liaise with the RTGoNU and expedite processes that will lead to the establishment of the Hybrid Court of South Sudan; engage the leadership of the RTGoNU and mobilise the political support and goodwill necessary for full implementation of the RARCSS; and consider mobilizing the requisite resources for conflict prevention, post-conflict reconstruction, strengthening state institutions and nation building in South Sudan. Finally to the International Community and friends of South Sudan: continue to engage the leadership of the RTGoNU and mobilise political and moral support and goodwill for full implementation of the R-ARCSS; and continue to mobilize the requisite resources for and coordinate provision of humanitarian response to those in dire need of assistance in the Republic of South Sudan.