Thursday, 13 March 2014
South Sudan Commission of Inquiry sworn-in
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 12 March, 2014: Members of the Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan appointed on 7 March 2014 by the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma have been sworn in. In the first such swearing-in ceremony in the history of the AU Commission, the members of the Commission of Inquiry each took an oath administered by the AU Commission’s Legal Counsel, Professor Vincent Nmehielle on Wednesday, 12 March 2014, at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Overseeing the swearing in ceremony, the AUC Chairperson, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma expressed delight in seeing the Commission of Inquiry setting off to do its work barely a week after its establishment and the appointment of its members. In her remarks, Dr. Dlamini Zuma expressed the AUC’s satisfaction in assembling a team of women and men with rich diversity of expertise, and who are “equal to the task”.
Members of the Commission of Inquiry sworn-in today were: H.E. Olusegun Mathew Aremu Obasanjo - Chairperson of the Commission Professor Mahmood Mamdani - Member Ms. Bineta Diop – Member Professor Pacifique Manirakiza – Member Lady Justice Sophia A.B. Akuffo – also a Member and President and Justice of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights will be sworn in later, since she was, at the time of swearing-in, chairing a court session in Arusha, Tanzania.
Members of the Commission of Inquiry have combined expertise in areas such as human rights, international law, justice, gender, research, academia and politics.
While the Commission begins work immediately, the Commission of Inquiry Chairperson, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, in his preliminary address after being sworn-in, pledged the commitment of the team to deliver. “Africans and non-Africans all over the world will be watching to see not only the outcome of our work, but how we approach our work. We must take it seriously to prove to the world that Africa has come of age to able to manage African issues by ourselves,” he said.
Giving his assurances that the Commission will leave no stone unturned, and in accordance with the mandate and terms of reference of the Commission of Inquiry, President Obasanjo highlighted that those responsible must not get away with impunity.
“I want to assure everyone that we will leave no stone unturned to ensure that, as much as possible, we are able to ascertain who is responsible”, he stressed.
President Obasanjo also highlighted the issue of reconciliation, saying that at the end of the day, the Commission wishes to bring about genuine reconciliation, “particularly in the African way”. Pointing to the issue of healing, he observed that there are wounds and bruises in South Sudan that need healing and that the work of the Commission should lead to a united, progressive and developed country.
The Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan is expected to investigate human rights violations and other abuses committed during the armed conflict that broke out in South Sudan in mid-December 2013. It is expected to submit its report to the AU Peace and Security Council in three months.