The Dar Petroleum Operating Company is a consortium of several international oil companies, including the China National Petroleum Corporation, a state-owned entity that has a 41 percent stake in the group; and Petronas, a company owned by the Malaysian government that has a 40 percent stake, according to Africa Oil and Power, which tracks investment in the energy sector across the African continent.
Both Petronas and the China National Petroleum Corporation have appointees serving in senior management roles in Dar Petroleum. The consortium’s links to the government and to the conflict have long been known. In March 2018, the United States slapped sanctions on Dar Petroleum, along with 14 other oil operators that it said were important sources of cash for the government. The government of South Sudan later denounced the decision.
China National Petroleum Corporation and Petronas did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the Sentry report, and attempts to reach Dar Petroleum and the government of South Sudan were unsuccessful.
Every episode explored in the report — which also detailed profiteering from the conflict by an American arms dealer, among others — highlighted international links to corruption and violence in South Sudan. The report also tied several members of Mr. Kiir’s family to international companies that act with impunity in their business dealings in the country.
Crucially, only one person mentioned in the report, the American arms dealer Ara Dolarian, has ever been charged over alleged involvement in the conflict. While the peace accord provides for the establishment of a special court dealing with human rights violations in partnership with the African Union, the government has yet to create it.
The United Nations has implicated forces of Mr. Kiir and Mr. Machar in human rights abuses, and the Sentry previously detailed how both officials have profited from the conflict.
“The reality is this government does not want to be held accountable,” Mr. Prendergast said.
He said that financial pressure — particularly seizing criminally obtained assets and increasing sanctions — could halt abuses in the short term.
“You can hit these people where sometimes it matters the most,” he said, “their wallets and their bank accounts and their luxury housing internationally.”