By Sadiya Hamza
United Nations- The Security Council on Tuesday in New York created a system to impose sanctions on those blocking peace in South Sudan, the News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) reports.
Some members of the council, however, cautioned that such moves could derail Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) negotiations aimed at securing a deal by Friday.
The council, through a unanimous adoption of resolution 2206 (2015), under Article 41 of the United Nations Charter, expressed hope that it could pressure rival leaders into ending the bloodshed that had plunged the United Nations’ newest country into civil war for more than a year.
The 15-Member council condemned the “flagrant” violations to the Cessation of Hostilities Agreements, signed by South Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM).
It expressed deep concern over the failure of both parties to honour their commitments, engage in the peace process toward political resolution of the crisis and end the violence.
Against that backdrop, the council underscored its willingness to impose targeted sanctions in order to support the search for an inclusive and sustainable peace in South Sudan.
The council set out criteria for the designation of individuals and entities that were responsible for, complicit in, or that had engaged directly or indirectly in actions or policies that threatened the country’s peace, security or stability.
The council can impose, for an initial one-year period, a travel ban on individuals, and an asset freeze on individuals and entities designated by a sanctions committee, established through the text for an initial 13 months.
That committee will report back to the council within 60 days.
Also, by the text, the 15-member body underscored that actions or policies that could qualify for such measures include those aimed at expanding or extending the conflict, or obstructing peace talks and threatening transitional agreements or the political process.
Others are planning, directing or committing acts that violated international humanitarian and human rights law, or human rights abuses and targeting civilians or attacking hospitals, religious sites or locations where civilians seek refuge.
They also include, the council stated, those aimed at recruiting or using children by armed groups or forces; obstructing international peacekeeping, and diplomatic or humanitarian missions.
Similarly are the delivery, distribution or access to humanitarian assistance; attacking UN missions, international security presences or humanitarian personnel; acting for an individual or entity designated by the committee.
The travel ban and asset freeze will apply to individuals designated by the committee who are leaders of any entity, including the South Sudanese Government, opposition, militia or other groups that have engaged in any of those activities.
To assist the committee in its work, the council requested the Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon, to set up a five-member panel of experts to provide information relevant to the potential designation of individuals and entities.
Renewal of the panel’s mandate will be considered no later than March 2, 2016.
By final terms, the council expressed its intent to review the situation after the Intergovernmental Authority’s agreed deadline of Friday, again after the envisioned start of the pre-transition period on April 1 and at 60-day intervals thereafter, or more frequently, as needed.
Speaking after the adoption of the resolution, Mr Francis Deng, Representative of South Sudan, said: ”what the president and the Government of South Sudan need is encouragement and support, not condemnation.
”It is an open secret that the United States has been working on a resolution out of frustration with the lack of progress in the peace process.
”Such impatience was understandable, as he had told the Council on Nov. 25, 2014, but a solution could not be achieved through the imposition of sanctions. If the resolution aimed to create a framework for a sanctions regime, then it amounted to a threat.
“The critical question is whether sanctions are a punishment for failure to make peace or an inducement for peace.”
Deng said if they were a punishment, then the issue ended there.
”If they were an inducement, they constituted a negative measure that could only generate a negative response.
”The president had confirmed he would do all he could to end the tragedy in his country, having issued orders to grant amnesty to all those waging war against the state, declare a unilateral ceasefire and implement the Jan. 21 Arusha Agreement on the reunification of SPLM,” he said.
He expressed hope that the council would refrain from imposing sanctions, and instead, engage the parties in a constructive dialogue.(NAN)