Optimistic and Apprehensive in South Sudan: Interview with Suliman Baldo



On February 7th, 2011, Sudan's government officially recognized South Sudan's referendum decision to become an independent state. The U.S. Institute of Peace has identified nine points of dispute along the north-south border and violence continues to upset Darfur and Jonglei. However, the referendum itself succeeded peacefully. Now the fledgling South Sudan government must prioritize what transitional justice issues to tackle first.


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“People are very optimistic,” Suliman Baldo, ICTJ's Africa Director, says in an interview during his current visit this week to Juba, South Sudan. “At the same time, people are apprehensive because there are many serious issues, and sensitive ones, which have not been addressed, that were supposed to be addressed prior to the referendum.”

People that the north must be held accountable, Baldo asserts, “for atrocities committed by its forces and militias under its command within South Sudan. However, we noticed in the trainings we are conducting with civil society groups…and victim’s groups that there is an increasing sense of pressure from these groups for accountability from within South Sudan. There needs to be an acknowledgement that atrocities have occurred. There needs to be an accounting for that. There needs to be reconciliation.