The UN has criticised South Sudan for failing to pursue justice after grave human rights abuses, including killings and gang rapes, were committed during an explosion of violence in Juba in July, 2016.
Forces loyal to South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir and Vice President Riek Machar engaged in five days of street battles with anti-aircraft guns, attack helicopters and tanks.
The UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and the UN Human Rights Office said it documented 217 cases of rape, including gang rape, committed by the Sudan People’s Liberation Army, SPLA.
Others are the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army in Opposition (SPLM/A-IO) and other armed groups from July 8 to 25, 2016.
The South Sudan government spokesman was not immediately available for comment.
“The fighting that erupted in July 2016 was a serious setback for peace in South Sudan and showed just how volatile the situation in the country is.
“This caused the civilians to be living under the risk of mass atrocities,” Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said.
He said absence of any semblance of justice and accountability for the violations perpetrated including possible war crimes, such unbridled outbursts of violence could quickly escalate for civilians to continue suffering immensely.
“Concrete steps to halt this downward spiral must be urgently taken, beginning with justice and accountability.”
Political rivalry between Kiir, an ethnic Dinka, and his former deputy Machar, a Nuer, led to civil war in 2013 that has often followed ethnic lines.
The pair signed a shaky peace deal in 2015, but fighting has continued.