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UN rights body extends mandate of South Sudan probe team

The United Nations Human Rights Council on Friday extended the mandate of a three-member Commission on South Sudan for a renewable one-year term, and expanded the scope of its work.The council mandated the commission to “determine and report the facts and circumstances of, collect and preserve evidence of, and clarify responsibility for alleged gross violations and abuses of human rights and related crimes, including sexual and gender-based violence and ethnic violence, with a view to ending impunity and providing accountability.”

The Commission was also mandated to make its findings available to the African Union hybrid court for South Sudan, once it is established.

The situation in South Sudan will be discussed at the council in September, and the commission will present a comprehensive report to the council March, 2018.

“The Human Rights Council’s extension and expansion of the mandate of the Commission on South Sudan is a positive move. The council has taken a significant step toward justice for deliberate killings, mass rape, torture, and other abuses in South Sudan by authorizing the commission to collect and preserve evidence of the crimes,’ Laila Matar, the UN advocate at HRW said in a statement issued in Nairobi.

“These efforts can bolster prosecutions by the proposed African Union hybrid court, which should be urgently established,” said Matar.

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