August 8, 2019 (Washington D.C.) – A wave of innovative, high impact sanctions by the U.S. Treasury Department on corrupt officials and international profiteers in South Sudan signals a “paradigm shift” in efforts to counter a deeply corrupt system and support sustainable peace in South Sudan, according to a report published today by The Sentry.
The 8-page brief, “Consequences for Kleptocrats: Financial Pressures to Support Peace in South Sudan,” details how robust financial measures create leverage with powerful officials and leaders in South Sudan, adding heft to policy efforts by the United States, the European Union, and the African Union. The strategy includes a combination of network sanctions under Global Magnitsky and South Sudan country program authorities, anti-money laundering measures, and senior-level US. Treasury engagement in the region.
Joshua White, report author and Director of Policy and Analysis at The Sentry, said: "The combination of network sanctions, anti-money laundering advisories, and senior-level engagement in the region by U.S. officials with the power to deploy these measures over the past several years should be just the beginning of a campaign to prevent violent kleptocrats and their international networks from profiting off of conflict and atrocities. The State Department and Department of the Treasury should step up the frequency of these actions so as to not squander this opportunity to affect real change for the people of South Sudan."
In the final weeks of 2018, as detailed in The Sentry’s report, the U.S. sanctioned a retired Israel Defense Forces major general and two South Sudanese businessmen, including a brother-in-law of South Sudanese President Salva Kiir, along with six associated companies in Israel and South Sudan, for their roles in perpetuating conflict in the world’s newest country. The report describes how this action carried out by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) represents a paradigm shift in how sanctions and anti-money laundering measures can deliver hard-hitting financial consequences to those profiting from mass atrocities in South Sudan.
Brian Adeba, Deputy Director of Policy at the Enough Project, said: “At a time when South Sudan’s peace deal faces immense challenges in implementation, the UN Security Council and the African Union should emulate this innovative use of sanctions. It’s time to ratchet up the financial pressure on politicians bent on undermining peace and systemic change in South Sudan, in order to change their greed-fueled calculations. The evidence suggests that a cocktail of measures as enacted by the U.S. holds the greatest chance of building the requisite leverage with political actors to support a sustainable peace in South Sudan.”
The “Consequences for Kleptocrats” report documents how The Sentry has investigated and publicly reported on numerous South Sudanese senior officials and businesspeople who have subsequently been designated for sanctions by the United States, European Union, or United Nations.
By advocating for a new strategy of network sanctions—particularly Global Magnitsky designations—and anti-money laundering measures, The Sentry has played a key role in changing the way financial pressures are deployed against those responsible for the destruction of South Sudan. Taken together, these sanctions and pressures hitting the wallets of South Sudan’s leaders have steered them towards a negotiated peace agreement that must still be fully implemented in order to avoid a backslide towards war.
The Sentry, through its public reports and private dossiers to governments and banks, will continue to uncover financial intelligence in order to shut out kleptocrats and their networks from the international financial system, create leverage for peace, and build incentives for respecting human rights and accountable governance.
The term “network sanctions” refers to the strategy of freezing the assets of not just one individual for whom a change in behavior is sought, but also the individuals or entities who act on their behalf or provide support, including business partners, brokers, and other facilitators. In addition, network sanctions target the companies or properties that are “owned and/or controlled by” the primary target.
Read the full report here.
ABOUT THE SENTRY
The Sentry is an investigative and policy team that follows the dirty money connected to African war criminals and transnational war profiteers and seeks to shut those benefiting from violence out of the international financial system. By disrupting the cost-benefit calculations of those who hijack governments for self-enrichment in East and Central Africa, the deadliest war zone globally since World War II, we seek to counter the main drivers of conflict and create new leverage for peace, human rights, and good governance. Co-founded by George Clooney and John Prendergast, The Sentry is composed of financial investigators, international human rights lawyers, and regional experts, as well as former law enforcement agents, intelligence officers, policymakers, investigative journalists, and banking professionals.
Learn more at www.TheSentry.org.
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