Op-Ed / / 04.04.19

Just Security Op-ed: Beyond Sanctioning Elusive War Criminals, Prosecute the Profiteers

Note: This op-ed originally appeared in Just Security and was written by Holly Dranginis, Senior Legal Analyst at The Sentry. 

Bidibidi is the world’s second-largest refugee camp. A sea of tents and huts spilling into Uganda from its northern border, the settlement now hosts more than a quarter million South Sudanese seeking safety from a range of horrors in their country, including routine electrocution in torture camps and rape by government soldiers. Last summer, militias perpetrated gender-based violence “on a massive scale” in Unity State, the pride of South Sudan’s oil barons. This is where industry and militarization meet, with government militias paid in revenues reaped from petrol extraction, and repressive tactics surging in service of control over lucrative land.

Survivors of these crimes, along with concerned members of the international community, are searching for justice. The barriers are many, including both an utter lack of will by the South Sudanese government, a co-opted, gutted judicial system, and weakened regional and international systems. For those affected, and for those who care, there has been nowhere to turn to hold the perpetrators of atrocities directly accountable in a court of law.

But an innovative legal strategy being tried by a few advocacy groups and prosecutors holds new promise. In short: Follow the money…

Click here to read the full op-ed.