Hollywood actor George Clooney launched a new initiative on Monday aimed at ending conflicts in South Sudan and elsewhere in Africa by tracking the money involved.
The Sentry, founded by Clooney and John Prendergast of the Enough Project advocacy group, will investigate the ways conflicts in South Sudan, Sudan, the Central African Republic and Democratic Republic of Congo are financed.
“Real leverage for peace and human rights will come when the people who benefit from war will pay a price for the damage they cause,” the 54-year old Oscar-winner, who has a long history of working as an advocate for peace in Sudan and South Sudan, said in a statement.
Prendergast, a former Africa director at the US National Security Council turned human rights activist, said “conventional tools of diplomacy” have so far failed and that “new efforts must centre on how to make war more costly than peace”.
“The objective of The Sentry is to follow the money and deny those war profiteers the proceeds from their crimes,” said Prendergast.
Clooney and Prendergast’s previous initiative, the Satellite Sentinel Project, launched in 2010 using satellites to monitor and map evidence of conflict and human rights abuses on the ground, producing images of razed villages and troop movements.
Then, the fear was of war between Khartoum and Juba as the south prepared for its independence in July 2011.
But in late 2013 civil war broke out inside the new nation of South Sudan rendering Clooney’s satellites, flying 300 miles above the north-south border largely redundant.
The Sentry hopes, “to dismantle the networks of perpetrators, facilitators and enablers who fund and profit from Africa’s deadliest conflicts.”