South Sudanese leaders have plundered national resources, leaving the international community to deal with a hunger crisis in the oil-rich country, UN rights experts reported Tuesday in Geneva.
Around 4.9 million South Sudanese - more than 40 per cent of the population - face food shortages that have been caused by escalating conflict, the UN Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan said.
"A small coterie of South Sudan’s political leaders show total disregard, not just for international human rights norms, but for the welfare of their own people," said Yasmin Sooka, the South African lawyer who leads the monitoring body.
The government has been blocking famine relief aid for areas controlled by the opposition, she said.
Leaders had "squandered the oil wealth and plundered the country’s resources." leaving the provision of public services to the international community, including UN agencies, Sooka charged.
A split between President Salva Kiir and his former deputy, Riek Machar, turned violent in December 2013.
Tens of thousands have been killed and 3.4 million displaced in the conflict, which has seen ethnically based massacres.
Alleged atrocities such as genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity have yet to be prosecuted, as a planned tribunal that was agreed to by the warring sides in 2015 has not been set up.
"The people who currently occupy leadership positions in the transitional government are the same who, under the terms of the peace agreement, should be brought to trial," the UN commission said.