photo by jon nicholson

feature story - Board Members and The Sentry Co-Founders George Clooney and John Prendergast Join Board Member Don Cheadle and Investigators to Release Groundbreaking Report on War Profiteering in South Sudan

september 12th, 2016

2-year investigation reveals networks fueling one of the world’s deadliest conflict zones implicating president, deposed vice president, international banks, arms dealers, multinational oil and mining companies

Today, The Sentry, an investigative initiative co-founded by board members George Clooney and John Prendergast, presented a new, groundbreaking report “War Crimes Shouldn’t Pay: Stopping the looting and destruction in South Sudan.” Clooney and Prendergast joined fellow board member Don Cheadle and lead investigators at the National Press Club in Washington DC to present findings of a two-year investigation into South Sudan’s shadowy war economy and its links to a network of international facilitators, including bankers, arms dealers, and multinational oil and mining companies.The report implicates South Sudan President Salva Kiir and former Vice President Riek Machar, who as rival leaders have been responsible for a civil war that has wreaked havoc on their nation.

This marked the first public presentation of The Sentry’s multi-country investigations into the links between massive corruption, war profiteering, and armed conflict. The Sentry is a collaboration between the Enough Project and Not On Our Watch, with their implementing partner the Center for Advanced Defense Studies. The Sentry also focuses on Sudan, Somalia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the Central African Republic.

The report exposes top officials who have managed to accumulate fortunes profiting from massive corruption, fueling and exploiting a brutal civil war while their nation suffers famine-like conditions and the horrors of armed conflict, including mass rape, the burning of villages, and the use of child soldiers.

The Sentry’s work unveils a new and innovative approach to countering mass atrocities and to promote peace in some of the world’s deadliest conflict zones, utilizing the tools of financial pressure normally reserved for countering terrorism, organized crime, and nuclear proliferation.

Press conference livestream: www.thesentry.org/live

Report highlights:

 

Report excerpts:

 

Report recommendations:

This report proposes a new strategy to counter atrocities that will use the tools of financial pressure normally reserved for countering terrorism, organized crime, and nuclear proliferation for two purposes: first, to bring to account those government actors in South Sudan who until now have been able to operate with near impunity because the world imposes no consequences for their behavior; and second, to create significant and until now missing international leverage by altering the cost-benefit analysis of those leaders and shifting their incentives away from violence, atrocities, and corruption and toward peace, human rights, and transparency. The international community should take the following steps to create that accountability and leverage:

  1. Take proactive steps to curb the laundering of the proceeds of corruption in South Sudan –and crack down on any banks that fail to stop such transactions.
  2. Impose smarter sanctions on a wide array of high-impact targets and ensure these sanctions are robustly enforced.
  3. Encourage and support South Sudan’s neighbors to lead in combating the laundering of assets looted from South Sudan and imposing asset freezes on those most responsible for human rights violations and financial misconduct.
  4. Take proactive attempts to prevent de-risking. Directing anti-money laundering pressures against politically exposed persons in South Sudan could cause banks to determine that the risk of doing business with South Sudanese account holders is simply too high when compared with the incentives for maintaining business in the country. The Department of Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) should issue guidance to the banking community stressing that not every South Sudanese client is high-risk.
  5. Introduce a financial management system that prevents violent kleptocrats from capturing state institutions to facilitate the looting of public resources. The Sentry brings together an experienced team of investigators, including former employees of the FBI, Treasury Department, other government agencies, intelligence communities, and Congress, as well as contributions from field researchers, country experts, academia and press.

 

During Monday’s pressconference, Clooney, Cheadle, Prendergast, and members of the Sentry team will discuss the findings of this investigation and participate in a question-and-answer session with attending media.

LINK TO REPORT: War Crimes Shouldn't Pay

LIVESTREAM (beginning at 10:00 am EST): www.thesentry.org/live

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