GENÈVE, Switzerland – South Sudan’s military likely holds some responsibility for the rape of more than 100 women and girls late last year in the northern city of Bentiu, a UN-backed report said Wednesday, February 20.
In early December, 3 United Nations agencies reported that more than 150 women and girls had come forward over 12 days to seek help after they were raped or suffered other forms of sexual violence.
The perpetrators were reportedly armed and some wore uniforms but were not identified immediately following the attacks.
In its latest report, the UN Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan said there was evidence indicating the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) was to blame.
“Collected evidence seems to suggest that the perpetrators of rapes in the Bentiu area are men who have the opportunity to come and go at ease within SPLA,” the report said.
It identified the possible culprits “as armed youth engaged in criminal activities, as well as current or former members of SPLA.”
“This is reinforced by the fact that some attacks took place close to checkpoints, barracks or encampments,” it added.
But the commission also said there was no evidence that this “violence against women was organized or ordered by commanders.”
At war since 2013, South Sudan has seen horrific levels of sexual violence.
The South Sudan commission, set up by the UN Human Rights Council in 2016, is tasked with collecting evidence that could be used to prosecute individuals for major atrocities in country’s conflict. – Rappler.com