UNITED NATIONS – The United Nations Security Council should place an arms embargo on South Sudan, while the oil-rich country’s President Salva Kiir and a rebel leader qualify to be sanctioned over atrocities in a two-year civil war, U.N. sanctions monitors said in an annual report.
The confidential report by a U.N. panel that monitors the conflict in South Sudan for the Security Council stated that Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar are still completely in charge of their forces and are therefore directly to blame for killing civilians and other actions that warrant sanctions. A copy of the report was seen by Reuters on Monday.
The 15-member Security Council has long-threatened to impose an arms embargo, but veto power Russia, backed by council member Angola, has been reluctant to support such an action. Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said on Monday he was concerned that an arms embargo would be one-sided because it would be easier to enforce on the government.
The panel asked the council to blacklist “high-level decision makers responsible for the actions and policies that threaten the peace, security and stability of the country.”
The names of the individuals the panel recommend for sanctions in the form of an international travel ban and asset freeze were not included in the body of the report. But a diplomat familiar with the contents told Reuters that a highly confidential annex calls for blacklisting both Kiir and Machar.
A political dispute between Kiir and Machar, who was once Kiir’s deputy, sparked the civil war. But it has widened and reopened ethnic fault lines between Kiir’s Dinka and Machar’s Nuer people. More than 10,000 people have been killed.
The panel wrote that “there is clear and convincing evidence that most of the acts of violence committed during the war, including the targeting of civilians … have been directed by or undertaken with the knowledge of senior individuals at the highest levels of the government and within the opposition.”
However, they said the government appears to have been responsible for a larger share of the bloodshed in the country in 2015.