International Justice

CJ354 Endicott College

Prof. Mamdani speech on S. Sudan and Amnesty

Prof. Mamdani speech on S. Sudan and Amnesty

Below is an interesting article that discusses the repercussions that have arisen in South Sudan in the past several years. The main thing that caught my attention was the effects amnesty had in the resolutions and the results it brought. In using a ‘reconciliation strategy’ the south Sudanese government sought to stop waring between different militia groups by attempting to absorb them into one single organization. They did this by having leaders of militias and their groups integrated into the South Sudanese army and given amnesty and rank. Regardless of how many times they defected, whether after months or years, the government continued to apply the same cure to the militia problem, always allowing perpetrators to be given the same amnesty and ability to join the south Sudanese army once again.

While granting amnesty has proven to be effective in demobilizing these militia groups, it also has had other effects.  

While members of the South Sudan Army receive around $140 per month, regular civilians are forced to live on roughly $1 a day. Many youth in these areas have come to the realization that joining one of these rebel groups is their best chance at escaping poverty, knowing that ultimately they will be given the choice to join the South Sudanese army after entering into one of these rebel militia groups.

This brings up the question of how effective can amnesty really be in certain cases and how easy can reconciliation be achieved. When there are no repercussions for crimes, it not only delegitimizes the government’s authority, but also can even cause more rebellion from citizens, sending the message that rebellion can go unpunished and even rewarded. 

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