Former Nigerian President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo has been appointed by the African Union (AU) Commission to head a five-member Commission of Inquiry into South Sudan conflicts.
The decision was announced on Friday by the Chairperson of the Commission, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
According to a statement issued by the Directorate of Information and Communication on Friday, Mrs. Zuma said the commission was raised “after deep consultations with the different parties involved in the conflict as well as with the armed opposition groups”.
Other members include the newly appointed AU Special Envoy for Women, Peace and Security, Mrs Binta Diop, Dr Pacifique Manirakiza, a Professor of International Law. Also, Ghana’s former Supreme Court Judge, Ms Justice Sophia Akuffo, who is the President of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights Arusha, Tanzania and Prof. Mahmood Mamdani of Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda.
The commission is to investigate human rights violations and other abuses committed during the armed conflict that broke out in South Sudan in mid-December 2013.
It was established by a decision of the AU Peace and Security Council made by Heads of State and Government.
The PSC also mandated it to make recommendations on the best way and means to ensure accountability, reconciliation and healing among all South Sudanese communities.
The statement added that the commission has a mandated period of three months to report progress of the situation but without a limited time to complete the assignment under financial support from the AU commission.
According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, more than 200,000 persons mostly women and children were killed, while over 500,000 others were internally displaced in the first month of violence in the oil rich country. In addition, 66,500 are seeking refuge at United Nations bases around the country, and more than 74,300 have fled the country
Obasanjo, a former Chairperson of the AU had headed several AU Election Observation missions and initiatives.
“He headed the joint African Union and ECOWAS missions to Senegal during presidential polls in March 2012, paving the way for a smooth transition.
“He is UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy to the Great Lakes and remains an integral actor in the DRC mediation efforts”, the statement said.