Preventing A Conflict Relapse In South Sudan
Year(s): 2018 – 2020.
Location: South Sudan.
UN Regional Group: Africa.
Type of Conflict: Risk of a Conflict Relapse.
Type of Initiative: Monitoring missions and the mediation of a peace agreement.
Main Implementing Organisation(s): The Intergovernmental Authority on Development.
Summary: The IGAD has successfully prevented a conflict relapse in South Sudan by employing a range of monitoring mechanisms and facilitating ongoing dialogue between former belligerents.
Description of Case
The 2018 Revitalised Agreement ended the civil war in South Sudan after five years of fighting. The risk of a conflict relapse in such a setting was high, as the IGAD mediators were well aware. As a result, the Agreement re-established many of the mechanisms originally contained within the unsuccessful 2015 peace agreement, such as the Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (RJMEC) and its agencies. Led by a former president of Botswana, the RJMEC was tasked with monitoring and overseeing the implementation of the Agreement and helping with the transition. The military aspects of this work were carried by the Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring Mechanism (CTSAMM), which was led by an Ethiopian general but included representatives from the belligerent parties along with civil society and the international community, and the Joint Military Ceasefire Commission (JMCC). These bodies verified the withdrawal and cantonment of armed groups before creating the framework for the personnel of the formerly warring armies to be retrained and unified into the national armed forces in 2019. Another IGAD-led agency that incorporated the former belligerents, the National Constitutional Amendment Committee (NCAC), was charged with incorporating the peace agreement into the constitutional framework of South Sudan for the transitional period and preparing for the formation of a unity government.
The RJMEC served to uphold the peace throughout 2019 as negotiations continued between the Government of South Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-in-Opposition (SPLM-IO). The discussions stalled on issues relating to the personal security of opposition leaders and the number of administrative states post-conflict South Sudan would have, leading to several delays in the formation of a unity government. As the 2018 agreement specified that such an administration should be formed by 12 November 2019, the looming deadline led many observers to fear renewed fighting once it passed. Indeed, such was the level of concern that Pope Francis hosted the rival leaders in the Vatican and implored them to keep the peace. IGAD extended the deadline by 100 days and hosted a final phase of talks alongside the South African vice-president. This final effort culminated on 22 February 2020 with the formation of the Revitalised Transitional Government of National Unity. Thanks to its effective management of the situation, IGAD has helped prevent a conflict relapse in South Sudan.
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 Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Committee. Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring Mechanism (CTSAMM). (RJMEC, 2021) Available at: https://www.jmecsouthsudan.com/index.php/institutions-and-boards/ctsamm (Accessed 17/11/2021)
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 BBC. “Pope Francis kisses feet of rival South Sudan leaders.” BBC News. (11 April 2019) Available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/world-africa-47903916 (Accessed 17/11/2021)
 Clayton Hazvinei Vhumbunu. “The Formation of the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity in South Sudan Key Priorities, Tasks and Challenges Ahead.” Accord Conflict Trends, No. 2. (2020) Available at: https://www.accord.org.za/conflict-trends/the-formation-of-the-revitalized-transitional-government-of-national-unity-in-south-sudan/ (Accessed 17/11/2021)