South Sudan

WAR CRIMES: US Considers Sanctions Against Machar Rebels

website like this sans-serif; font-size: 9pt; line-height: 200%;”>State Department spokesperson, approved Jen Psaki told journalists at a press briefing on Tuesday that President Obama recently provided the tools to take such a robust action against perpetrators of violence in the war-torn country and that it’s a matter of time before they act.

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“Well, let me first say that the United States strongly condemns the recent targeted killings last week of hundreds of civilians in Bentiu based on their ethnicity and nationality,” said Jen in response to reports that Machar’s fighters slaughtered over 200 people after seizing the oil town of Bentiu.

“Those responsible for these atrocities must be held accountable. We’re also alarmed by reports of Radio Bentiu FM being used to broadcast hate speech.”

“In terms of specific sanctions action, as you know,” said Jen, “the President signed just about two weeks ago an executive order providing us with the tools. No individuals or entities have been sanctioned under this new authority yet. Well, as you know, we don’t predict or comment on future action, but we consider – continue to have the tools available, should we choose to take those steps.”

United Nations this week reported that opposition forces in South Sudan killed “hundreds of South Sudanese and foreign civilians” after determining their ethnicity or nationality when they captured Bentiu last week.

The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) strongly condemned the killings, which reportedly included attacks on a hospital, mosque and church, and a UN World Food Programme (WFP) compound.

“These atrocities must be fully investigated and the perpetrators and their commanders shall be held accountable,” said the Officer in Charge of UNMISS, Raisedon Zenenga, who also urged the opposition Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) forces and the Government troops to respect the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement they signed in January.

Jen said the United States will continue to call, “of course, on all parties to cease activities – cease attacks on civilians, to cease activities that violate the cessation of hostilities. And we know there needs to be partners in order for this process to move forward.

Certainly, as we have more information available and if that warrants additional steps, it may.”

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