March 22, 2021 (Brussels) – Today, the European Union announced sanctions on Gabriel Moses Lokujo, Major General of the South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF), for human rights violations. The announcement is notable as the first South Sudan related designation under the EU’s new Global Human Rights sanctions regime.
Since launching in 2015, The Sentry, co-founded by George Clooney and John Prendergast, has been active in investigations exposing high-level corruption in South Sudan linked to armed conflict, human rights abuse, and massive human suffering. The Sentry’s experts are available for in-depth comment and analysis.
John Prendergast, Co-Founder of The Sentry, said: “This is a case of the EU using the right tool on the wrong target. For sanctions to be effective, they need to target the senior-most commanders and their companies to have the kind of impact on the calculations of the South Sudanese leadership that is being sought. This sanctioning of a minor target is not going to have impact, unfortunately.”
Brian Adeba, Deputy Director of Policy at The Sentry, said: “While the use of the Global Human Rights sanctions tool is a welcome development, the EU should review how previous sanctions regimes have failed to be effective. Targeting mid-level commanders with minimal command and control responsibilities has been the bane of international sanctions regimes and serves to embolden bad actors.”
Oliver Windridge, Senior Advisor at The Sentry, said: “Today’s action is unlikely to make any significant impact on the ruling kleptocratic regime that remains the root cause of South Sudan’s troubles. Lokujo’s listing has to be a starting point from which to launch further targeted network designations against the kleptocratic elites and their enablers in order to truly change the situation in South Sudan.”
The EU Global Human Rights Sanctions program launched in December 2020 and was effective as of January 2021. The sanctions program gives the EU the power to issue sanctions including travel bans and assets freezes for human rights abuses that take effect across all 27 EU member states. The EU sanctions program launched without accompanying designations. The program was first used earlier this month to sanction Russian officials over Alexei Navalny’s jailing.
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About The Sentry
The Sentry is an investigative and policy team that follows the dirty money connected to African war criminals and transnational war profiteers and seeks to shut those benefiting from violence out of the international financial system. By disrupting the cost-benefit calculations of those who hijack governments for self-enrichment, we seek to counter the main drivers of conflict and create new leverage for peace, human rights, and good governance. The Sentry is composed of financial investigators, international human rights lawyers, and regional experts, as well as former law enforcement agents, intelligence officers, policymakers, investigative journalists, and banking professionals. Co-founded by George Clooney and John Prendergast, The Sentry is a strategic partner of the Clooney Foundation for Justice.