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Since the eruption of conflict in 2003, Darfur, western Sudan, has been ravage by killings, torture, destruction and rape since 2003. Despite international outrage and demands around the globe to end the brutality, the deadly conflict continues. Darfur remains one of the world’s worst human rights and humanitarian catastrophes.
Civilians have become victims of egregious human rights violations, primarily at the hands of the government of Sudan and the Janjawid, an allied militia. Together, they have been responsible for killings, torture, rape, detentions, forceddisplacement, the burning of homes and villages, and the theft and deliberate destruction of crops and cattle. Rebel groups have also perpetrated killings, rape, looting, abductions, and other human rights abuses. Today: • • • • 300,000 men, women, and children have died 2.6 million have been displaced from their homes and live in camps for refugees or Internally Displaced Person (IDPs) or wherever they can, in a courtyard, under a tree. An unknown number of women and girls have been abducted, raped, and abused A generation of children has reached school-age not knowing a home
The humanitarian crisis is exacerbated by the remoteness of the area, restrictions by the Sudanese government on humanitarian operations, press, and human rights monitors, and rampant insecurity on the ground. Attacks by armed assailants on aid workers have drastically reduced operations, and humanitarian aid groups no longer have access to some areas of Darfur. In many areas, roads are under the control of roaming Janjawid militias or factions of armed opposition groups. Government armed forces, police paramilitaries, Janjawid, and other armed groups, such as bandits, establish checkpoints where they often extort money. Humanitarian aid convoys are hijacked for the vehicles and supplies they carry, and the drivers are assaulted or kidnapped, and some have been murdered.
In February 2003, two opposition groups called the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) emerged in Darfur and attacked government troops. The SLA and JEM stated their attacks were in protest of the government of Sudan’s (GOS) failure to protect local villagers from attacks by nomadic groups, and economic marginalization of the region. After initial indications that the GOS was seeking a peaceful solution, it chose instead to resolve the conflict by force, beginning in March 2003. Since that time the fighting has continued.
In 2003 and 2004, Amnesty International supplied some of the earliest documentation – eyewitness testimony from the ground – that warned of the impending catastrophe in Darfur.
In July, the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) began deployment. Charged with a mandate to monitor and report, it attempted to provide some measure of security for civilians and aid workers in Darfur. With a force of less than 7,000 deployed by the end of 2007, for a region the size of France, AMIS was under-equipped, with too few personnel on the ground and too limited a mandate to provide security for civilians.
On September 18, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1564, which called for a Commission of Inquiry on Darfur to assess the conflict.
Chad brokered negotiations in N'Djamena between the Sudanese government and the two rebel groups, the JEM and the
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SLA, leading to the April 8 Humanitarian Ceasefire Agreement. Other signatories were Chad and the African Union. The ceasefire was to come into effect on April 11, 2004, but Janjawid and rebel attacks continued and have since.
In January 2005, the UN Secretary-General's Commission of Inquiry on Darfur issued a well- documented report that indicated there were some 1.6 million internally displaced persons as a result of the ongoing violence and more than 200,000 refugees from Darfur in neighboring Chad. The report asserted that GOS forces and allied militia had committed widespread war crimes and crimes against humanity, including murder, torture, mass rape, summary executions, and arbitrary detention. The Commission also determined that the Janjawid militia operated alongside, or with ground or air logistical support from, the GOS’s armed forces.
In 2006, the Darfur Peace Agreement was signed between the government of Sudan and one of the armed groups fighting in Darfur – the Sudan Liberation Army /Minni Minawi faction (SLA/MM). Only a few other armed factions have signed the peace agreement since. Though most of the peace agreement has not been implemented, the control of some government posts and areas of Darfur were handed over to the SLA/MM and to other factions (collectively known as “the signatories”) that accepted the Darfur Peace Agreement.
On August 31, the UN Security Council approved a resolution to send a new peacekeeping force of 17,300 to the region, but the GOS refused to consent to its implementation.
In November, the UN Secretary-General brokered a compromise for a joint UN-African Union peacekeeping mission.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) indicted two Sudanese men, Ahmed Haroun, Sudan’s Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, and Ali Kushayb, a Janjawid militia leader, on 51 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Darfur. The government of Sudan refused to cooperate with the ICC, and despite warrants out for their arrest, both men initially remained free in Sudan.
On July 31, the UN Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 1769 authorizing the deployment of 26,000 peacekeepers and police under a UN-African Union hybrid mission in Darfur (UNAMID). UNAMID deployment began soon after.
On September 25, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1778 authorizing a European Union mission in eastern Chad and northeastern Central African Republic (EUFOR) supported by a small UN peacekeeping mission (MINURCAT). EUFOR/MIURCAT deployment has been very slow going. Widespread violence and insecurity persist throughout the broader conflict region.
On January 1, there was a formal transfer of command from the African Union to UNAMID.
On May 10, Darfur rebels launched an attack on the capital of Khartoum, causing further instability within the region. The
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government of Sudan continues to carry out aerial and ground attacks with complete disregard for the protection of civilians.
Darfur and the International Criminal Court
Frequently Asked Questions
On July 14, 2008, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court requested an arrest warrant for President Omar alBashir of Sudan on charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in the Sudan?s Darfur region.
1. How did the International Criminal Court come to investigate the situation in Darfur?
The International Criminal Court (ICC), a permanent independent judicial body created by the international community in 1998 to prosecuted crimes such as genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, was asked by the UN Security Council to investigate the situation in Darfur. In 2005, the Security Council found Darfur to be a threat to international peace and security and conferred jurisdiction over Darfur to the ICC. This case marks the first time the Security Council referred a situation to the ICC.
2. What charges are being leveled against Omar al-Bashir?
The Prosecutor of the ICC, in his application for an arrest warrant, accused Omar al-Bashir of mobilizing the whole state apparatus, including the army and the Janjaweed militia, to methodically commit genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in Darfur since 2002. Al-Bashir allegedly ordered attacks on villages and camps, targeting groups on account of their ethnicity, while using rape, hunger and fear to create conditions of life calculated to bring about their physical destruction. He allegedly concealed the crimes committed in Darfur under the guise of lawless actions committed by autonomous militias, and provided impunity to his subordinates in order to secure their willingness to commit genocide. The Prosecutor?s allegations are based on evidence collected from witnesses and victims from 17 countries, from government and non-governmental agencies and from recent UN missions to Darfur. This case marks the first ever move against a sitting head of state by the ICC.
3. Who decides whether Omar al-Bashir will be charged with crimes committed in Darfur?
A panel of judges, known as the Pre-Trial Chamber, will review the evidence, and decide whether or not to charge alBashir. If the judges determine that there are reasonable grounds to believe that al-Bashir committed the alleged crimes, they will issue an arrest warrant. At this stage, they make no determination of the accused?s innocence or guilt. The judges can also dismiss the Prosecutor?s application, agree with it partially or ask for more information. A decision on an arrest warrant can take six to eight weeks, but as this is a complex case, it may take longer.
4. Can the UN Security Council take away the Prosecutor?s authority to investigate and prosecute this case?
Under article 16 of the Rome Statute for the ICC, the UN Security Council, acting under its authority to maintain peace and security, can defer an investigation or prosecution for a renewable period of one year.
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In the case of Darfur, the Security Council found Darfur to be a threat to peace and security. In 2005, in resolution 1593, the Security Council asked the ICC to investigate the situation in Darfur, and in June 2008, the Council unanimously reiterated the importance of the resolution, stating that justice and accountability are critical to achieve lasting peace and security in Darfur. A deferral under article 16 would contradict Security Council findings and requests thus far.
5. What consequences could a deferral of the investigation and prosecution have?
A deferral could endanger the establishment of lasting peace in the region. A deferral is capable of obstructing justice for victims of international crimes committed in Darfur, and would send a message to those planning and committing crimes in Darfur that they are free to proceed without risk of being held accountable. A deferral under article 16 may have consequences beyond the situation in Darfur. It would have potentially disastrous effects on the ICC and would risk becoming a precedent in every situation being investigated by its Prosecutor. A deferral would also leave the Security Council open to permanent blackmail by the government of Sudan that might threaten a broad range of retaliatory measures, including resumption of hostilities, if the Security Council were to end the deferral and the Court were to resume consideration of the request for an arrest warrant.
6. What is the United States? position on a deferral for this case?
The United States, which has been outspoken in labeling the situation in Darfur as genocide, has opposed a deferral of the investigation. The US voiced concern that a deferral would undermine efforts to bring al-Bashir and others to justice. US Deputy Ambassador Alejandro Wolff stated that deferring the investigation and prosecution under article 16 "would send the wrong signal at a very important time when we are trying to eliminate the climate of impunity."
7. What is Amnesty International calling for?
Amnesty International is calling on the US to ensure that the Security Council does not block any efforts to execute the warrant for al-Bashir and any other suspects. Despite its official opposition to the ICC, the US has continued to shift in favor of the court's work on Darfur. The US has offered to cooperate with the investigation in this case. In 2005, the United States opted to not block a UN Security Council vote to refer crimes committed in Darfur to the ICC Prosecutor. Amnesty International urges the US to continue to show support for the ICC's work on Darfur.
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September 3, 2007 (KHARTOUM) — The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon today in Khartoum has said that Darfur crisis began because of the drought, he further indicated that the lack of water generated the competition between farmers and herders for the water. In a speech delivered at the Friendship Hall in Khartoum, the UN chief said the conflict in Darfur began "in part because of drought. When the rains failed, farmers and herders fell into competition for an increasingly scarce resource.” “The decisions of man to wage war over these precious natural resources further compounded other factors and challenges." He underlined. "As part of the solution, the Government with international assistance will have to ensure that the people of Darfur have access to vital natural resources – water being chief among them. The UN stands ready to assist in this effort." He added. This is the second time that Ban shed light on the ecological factor to explain the four year conflict, excluding the political motivations of the crisis. Ban Ki-Moon had delivered similar remarks at the UN headquarter in New York, last June. Below is the full text of the address of UN Secretary General to the UN association UNI T E D N A T I O N S - N A T I O N S U N I E S THE SECRETARY-GENERAL — ADDRESS TO THE UNITED NATIONS ASSOCIATION IN SUDAN Khartoum, 3 September 2007 Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. It is a very great pleasure to be with you today, here on my first trip to Khartoum as Secretary-General. I am happy to have a chance to address the UN Association in Sudan. And I am pleased to see so many students at this gathering, as well as representatives of civil society. The fact that I am meeting with you this evening, having only just stepped off my flight from Europe, testifies to the importance that I attach to this visit, and to this particular audience — you in this room. Ultimately, it is you who will carry forward the work of building a lasting peace in Sudan. It is you who will need to work, hard, to bring unity and prosperity to your beautiful country. I have a special attachment to this land, Sudan, both personally and officially. Officially, Sudan has recently been at the centre of the UN’s agenda for restoring peace and security in the region. Personally, this is the country where my daughter began her career as a young, junior officer with UNICEF. For all these reasons, I urge you to think of the United Nations — and me, personally — as your friend, always by your side. I urge you to do everything you can to advance our common cause — building a better Sudan, and a better world, for yourselves and for future generations. My friends,
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Let me explain why I am here. For four long years – too many years – your country and fellow countrymen in Darfur have been torn by conflict. For too long the international community has stood by, as seemingly helpless witnesses to this tragedy. That now is changing. As you all well know, in July the Security Council approved a resolution authorizing the deployment of 26,000 multinational peacekeepers in Darfur, jointly run by the United Nations and the African Union. This unprecedented operation marks a new era in UN-AU cooperation. It is one of the largest and most complex peacekeeping missions the UN has ever undertaken. It reflects the international community’s commitment to contribute to bringing peace to your country. I should also say that this agreement comes after many months of very difficult diplomacy. Much of it was invisible, conducted across time zones and in quiet meetings in many capitals of the world. We all must seize this historic opportunity. That is the first reason why I have come to Sudan. I want to see for myself the plight of those we seek to help, and the conditions under which our peacekeepers in Darfur will operate. But most of all, I want to see the foundations of a lasting peace laid down. My goal is to lock in the progress we have made so far. To build on it so that this terrible trauma may one day end. Yet there must be a peace to keep. Peacekeeping must be accompanied by a political solution. That is the second reason I am here. It is so very important that we keep moving ahead with the Darfur political process. I want to see us begin a new and conclusive round of peace negotiations as soon as possible. My aim is to keep up the momentum, to push the peace among the parties with a view toward issuing invitations to a full-fledged peace conference as soon as possible. During my visit, I will meet with President Omar al-Bashir and many other senior leaders. I look forward to a frank conversation. The goodwill and cooperation of your Government has been instrumental in the progress we have made so far. I will also meet with First Vice-President Salva Kiir in southern Sudan, as well as opposition representatives. At the same time, we also need to push ahead on a broader initiative, underscored by my visit to Juba. That’s the Comprehensive Peace Agreement between the north and the south. As you know well, this remains an essential — and rather fragile — cornerstone of peace across the whole of Sudan, well beyond Darfur. The third reason for my visit involves humanitarian aid and development. Any real solution to Darfur’s troubles involves something more – it requires sustained economic development and solutions that go to the root causes of the conflict. But we cannot effectively address development issues until there is a peaceful environment in Darfur and a political solution to the conflict. Until then, the world’s largest humanitarian operation, currently assisting more than 4.2 million people – must continue. I urge to you do your part to ensure an immediate end to violence and a rapid political solution. Precisely what these development activities will entail is unclear. But we need to begin thinking about it, now. There must be money for new roads and communications, as well as health, education, sanitation and social reconstruction programmes. The international community needs to help organize these efforts, working with the Government of Sudan as well as the host of international aid agencies and NGOs working so heroically on the ground, in very difficult circumstances. Ladies and gentlemen, In your very kind invitation, you asked me to speak a bit about how I see the UN and its role in a changing world, particularly in this part of the world.
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Let me say, here, something about who I am. I am not a philosopher. I have never put much stock in grand rhetoric – dreams of the future, “visions” that promise more than can be delivered. I am a realist, a man of action. I believe in results, not rhetoric. As I look out at the coming year, and beyond, I see a growing number of extraordinary challenges. Darfur and the crisis in Sudan are among my very top priorities. But there are many others. Iraq, where we are likely to be tasked with ever greater responsibilities. Climate change. Making development work in Africa, so that we can fully realize our Millennium Development Goals. The list goes on, from Somalia and the Middle East, to new crises and opportunities that the world will bring our way. It think it is fair to say that the demands to be placed upon us have never been greater in our 62-year history, even as the resources available to us grow proportionally more scarce. Where does Sudan stand in relation to the UN, and more broadly in the international community? You are the largest country in Africa, rich in natural resources. But there is a need to create conditions enabling more development. Fighting has claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. Many more have become refugees and displaced persons, making Sudan among the world’s trouble spots. This is regrettable, given the great potential of your country. The UN has broad responsibilities, which can be thought of as three pillars. 1) Peace and security. 2) Economic and social development, as set forth in the UN Millennium Development Goals. 3) Human Rights. The UN has a direct responsibility to advance in all three of these areas. As for the first, that’s why I am in Sudan. With respect to the second, much has been done in advancing our MDGs in Sudan. In southern Sudan, for example, the number of children enrolled in school grew from 343,000 in 2005 to more than 1 million in 2007. We have vaccinated cattle, distributed food and vitamin supplements to children, drilled hundreds of new water wells, and helped rebuild roads. Still, much more needs to be done if Sudan is to be on track to meet the Millennium Development Goals. As for human rights, we have only to look around us to see how far Sudan has to go in upholding human rights and protecting people from suffering. Justice is an important part of building and sustaining peace. A culture of impunity and a legacy of past crimes that go unaddressed can only erode the peace. Friends, Let us now turn our thoughts to how we can work together, and how the UN can make a difference in your lives and help create a better future. As I said earlier, I am not a man of dreams and high rhetoric. I believe in solutions that are real solutions. And I know that there can be no solutions to Sudan’s political problems without sustainable economic development. I’ve mentioned some of the ways we are already helping, and what more we can do — from helping to provide better health care to promoting better agricultural techniques to encouraging small business development. But when it comes to providing root solutions to the country’s problems, it begins with a core issue facing so many people in Sudan and elsewhere in this region. You all know that the conflict in Darfur began, long ago, in part because of drought. When the rains failed, farmers and herders fell into competition for an increasingly
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scarce resource. The decisions of man to wage war over these precious natural resources further compounded other factors and challenges. But the fact remains. Lack of water, and a scarcity of resources in general, has contributed to a steady worsening of Sudan’s troubles. As part of the solution, the Government with international assistance will have to ensure that the people of Darfur have access to vital natural resources – water being chief among them. The UN stands ready to assist in this effort. I realize this all sounds very practical and down-to-earth. It is. If you were hoping for high-minded declarations of global principles, I may have disappointed you. But that is the point. As Secretary-General, I would like to look only for results. Tangible action, solutions you can see and touch, measurable progress. After all, who can eat or drink only words? I have discussed this matter with our European partners, as well as the world’s aid and financial institutions. I’m going to host an MDG Africa Steering Group meeting next week in New York. I promise you that I will pay as much attention to this as I have to matters of peace and security. I am very happy to have been able to meet with you here. It has been a pleasure speaking with you. I look forward to seeing more of your beloved country. I count on your continued support. Thank you very much for your strong commitment to the United Nations, and for your help in our work — present and future. Shoukran jazeelan.
In July, Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo submitted to the pre-trial chamber of the International Criminal Court an application for the issuance of an arrest warrant against Sudanese president Omar al Bashir for 10 counts of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, saying that he had “masterminded” massacres in Darfur and that he should stand trial for genocide.
In October, the Sudanese Government announced that it had arrested militia leader Ali Kushayb, who had previously been charged by the ICC with war crimes and crimes against humanity, stating that it would conduct its own trials for war crimes suspects.
Through dozens of reports, Amnesty continued to help pressure the international community to respond to the massive human rights violations in Darfur, especially the perilous conditions for women and girls who are targeted by soldiers for rape and sexual violence. AI continues to campaign to end the violence, protect civilians, ensure the unimpeded and safe delivery of humanitarian aid, and hold perpetrators accountable for massive human rights abuses in Darfur.
Amnesty International and other human rights organizations are now focusing on achieving the full deployment of the UNAMID force, which Sudan continues to obstruct. Less than half of UNAMID is on the ground, while civilians from Darfur, eastern Chad, and the Central African Republic continue to suffer ongoing mass displacement, killings, rape, and other egregious human rights violations. Continued U.S. and international action is essential to ensure a full and speedy UNAMID deployment, unhindered humanitarian access, and attention to the broader conflict region.
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The United Nations Security Council is struggling with how to manage the political, military, and judicial
complexities of the situation in Darfur. But the debate within the Council appears to be overlooking a central reality that this essay seeks to explain. At the center of the Security Council’s deliberations on Darfur since mid-July has been the application by Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), for an arrest warrant on charges of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes against President Omar Hassan alBashir of Sudan. ICC judges are reviewing the evidence presented by Mr. Moreno-Ocampo and their decision whether to issue an arrest warrant is pending, with September or October as possible dates for the much-anticipated reckoning. In the meantime, the Security Council has split between those members willing to permit justice to run its course against President Bashir and those members seeking to derail Mr. Moreno-Ocampo’s move against the Sudanese leader. The effort to thwart prosecution is for the ostensible purposes of advancing peace objectives in Darfur and protecting the safety of U.N. and African Union peacekeeping forces (UNAMID) and international humanitarian aid workers with a presumably more compliant President Bashir who would be liberated from judicial accountability. The United States sought vainly to exclude from Security Council Resolution 1828, which finally was adopted over a U.S. abstention on July 31, 2008, language suggesting a link between the ICC’s investigation of President Bashir and the renewal of the peacekeeping mandate in Darfur for another year. In the end, UNSC Resolution 1828 included preambular language, which the United States objected to, that reads, “Taking note of the African Union (AU) communiqué of the 142nd Peace and Security Council (PSC) Meeting dated 21 July (S/2008/481, annex), having in mind concerns raised by members of the Council regarding potential developments subsequent to the application by the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court of 14 July 2008, and taking note of their intention to consider these matters further...”. This is code language to suggest, rather strongly, that the Security Council will consider acting consistent with Article 16 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court to suspend the ICC’s investigation or prosecution of President Bashir (and perhaps other Sudanese government officials and Janjaweed tribal leaders) for at least one year in the belief that such a decision will improve the chances for peace initiatives and full and safe deployment of UNAMID and humanitarian workers in Darfur. That is a fair concern but it is also rolling the dice with an individual whose track record is deplorable. Article 16 of the Rome Statute immediately follows several provisions in that treaty (Articles 13-15) establishing how situations can be referred to the ICC for investigation. Titled, “Deferral of investigation or prosecution,” Article 16 reads, “No investigation or prosecution can be commenced or proceeded with under this Statute for a period of 12 months after the Security Council, in a resolution adopted under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations, has requested the Court to that effect; that request may be renewed by the Council under the same conditions.” The negotiating history of Article 16 should be instructive to how the Council currently examines the Darfur situation.
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When I led the United States delegation in the U.N. talks during the 1990’s which culminated in the Rome Statute and its Rules of Procedure and Evidence and Elements of Crimes, negotiators were acutely aware of how Article 16 originated and why the Republic of Singapore introduced it as a compromise provision during the negotiations. The Singapore delegation acted when it became clear that the U.S. position on referrals to the ICC would not be acceptable to a large number of governments. Our position was that referrals could only be made by the Security Council or by a State Party to the Rome Statute provided, in the latter instance, that if the Security Council already was seized with the referred situation, the Council would have to consent before the Court could commence investigation of it. The U.S. position did not attract sufficient support, as many governments wanted, in addition to the Security Council referral option, an unfettered right of State Party referral and a right for the prosecutor independently to refer situations to the Court (the final text of Article 15 requires the Prosecutor to obtain the approval of the Pre-Trial Chamber before any investigation could commence). Many of the current members of the Security Council advocated this broader referral procedure. Singapore’s compromise was grounded in how to address the problem of initial referral of situations to the Court (in other words, the sticky U.S. position), and Article 16 was negotiated and drafted with that issue paramount in the minds of the negotiators. The original intent underpinning Article 16 was to grant the Security Council power to suspend investigation or prosecution of situations before either is launched if priorities of peace and security compelled a delay of international justice. This conformed with the spirit of the compromise, namely that if the Security Council cannot fully control the referral of situations to the ICC, then at least the Council can block the ICC from marching down the investigatory path at the request of a State Party or the Prosecutor provided sufficient votes can be obtained, absent a veto, under a Chapter VII resolution. The negotiators’ focus was on situations referred by a State Party or the Prosecutor, not by the Security Council. It would have been very odd to argue we need Article 16 as a check on Security Council referrals. Recognizing, as did other governments, the utility of Article 16’s brake on premature State Party or Prosecutor referrals, the U.S. delegation supported incorporation of Article 16 in the Rome Statute. I seriously doubt one would find anywhere in the travaux preparatoires of Article 16 of the Rome Statute, and as a key negotiator of it I do not recall any discussion whatsoever among my colleagues, anticipating the kind of scenario that confronts us today with President Bashir. First, the Security Council, acting consistent with Article 13(b) of the Rome Statute, referred Darfur under Chapter VII authority to the ICC several years ago. That is precisely the referral procedure originally favored by the United States and by Russia and China for all referrals to the Court. It would have astonished my colleagues and me in 1997 and 1998 to be told that Article 16, which was conceived as a compromise procedure to use at the infancy of a situation before the ICC, would be applied some day to shortcircuit a Security Council referral lodged more than three years ago and years after the Prosecutor has
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initiated his investigation pursuant to such referral (March 31, 2005) and obtained arrest warrants 16 months earlier against high-level alleged perpetrators who remain at large (Ahmed Harun and Ali Kushayb in April 2007), as well as completed a multi-year investigation of perhaps the leading alleged perpetrator and applied for an arrest warrant (against President Bashir in July 2008). If that scenario had been presented to the negotiators more than a decade ago, Article 16 never would have been approved by the vast majority of governments attending the U.N. talks on the Rome Statute for it would have been viewed as creating rights for the Security Council far beyond the original intent of the Singapore compromise. Furthermore, if we had contemplated this novel scenario, there would have been exhaustive discussions over many months to determine how to handle well-developed cases and investigatory matters during the suspension period. What happens to outstanding arrest warrants? How is evidence preserved? How would tracking and protection of witnesses be handled? How does the Court handle the due process rights of individuals already in custody and those standing trial? What funds can the Prosecutor expend on the referred situation during the suspension period? How do the ICC judges handle motions by defense counsel during this period? What happens to on-going trials which, even if not technically suspended by the Council’s resolution, could be seriously impaired by suspension of investigatory work in other areas of the atrocity situation? None of these critical questions were even raised, much less considered by the negotiators. The reason is that the original intent behind Article 16 was for the Security Council to act pre-emptively to delay the application of international justice for atrocity crimes in a particular situation in order to focus exclusively on performing the Council’s mandated responsibilities for international peace and security objectives. Nonetheless, one plausibly may argue that the language of Article 16 of the Rome Statute technically empowers the Security Council to intervene at this late date and block approval of an arrest warrant against President Bashir or even suspend its execution following any approval of it by the judges. Such technically manipulative reading of Article 16 facilitated the American initiative early in the Bush Administration to insist on operative language in Security Council Resolutions 1422 (2002) and 1487 (2003) immunizing peacekeeping personnel drawn from non-party States to the Rome Statute from investigation or prosecution before the ICC for at least 12 months. At the time, many, including myself, regarded this as a distorted reading of Article 16, which was never intended to serve as a generic impunity carve-out for vast categories of participants in unknown future military operations and atrocity situations. I recall vividly the outrage of many European governments and others at how the United States bulldozed through the Security Council in the summers of 2002 and 2003 an arguably correct but deeply distorted reading of Article 16. One wonders where that outrage is today for Darfur, where atrocity crimes continue to devastate its population and villages while President Bashir uses every trick in the book to intimidate the Security Council into crippling the vital work of the ICC, a mission which the Council itself mandated in 2005. Security Council members should neither reverse their own commitment to international justice in Darfur nor defy the original intent behind the Article 16 power that is available to the Council under the Rome Statute.
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The War in Darfur is a conflict that is in the Darfur region of western Sudan. Unlike the Second Sudanese Civil War, the current lines of conflict are seen by some reporters (such as those with USA Today and Slate magazine) to be ethnic, rather than religious. However, a United Nations report states that the various tribes under attack (chiefly the Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa tribes) do not appear to have a distinct ethnicity from their attackers. One side of the armed conflicts is composed mainly of the Sudanese military and the Janjaweed, a Sudanese militia group recruited mostly from the Afro-Arab Abbala tribes of the northern Rizeigat region in Sudan. They are mainly camel-herding nomads. The other side comprises a variety of rebel groups, notably the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army and the Justice and Equality Movement, recruited primarily from the land-tilling non-Arab Fur, Zaghawa, and Masalit ethnic groups. The Sudanese government, while publicly denying that it supports the Janjaweed, has provided money and assistance to the militia and has participated in joint attacks targeting the tribes from which the rebels draw support. The conflict began in February 2003. Causes The combination of decades of drought, desertification, and overpopulation are among the causes of the Darfur conflict. The Baggara nomads searching for water have to take their livestock farther south, to land mainly occupied by Black African farming communities.
There are many estimates of casualties. Reports of violent deaths compiled by the UN indicate between 6000 and 7000 fatalities from 2004 to 2007. According to Sudanese authorities, about 9000 have been killed. Some non-governmental organizations use 200,000 to more than 500,000; the latter is a figure from theCoalition for International Justice. As many as 2.5 million are thought to have been displaced as of October 2006. (see Mortality Figures section, below). The Sudanese government has been accused of suppressing information by killing witnesses since 2004, and tampering with evidence (such as mass graves) to eliminate their probative value. In addition, by obstructing and arresting journalists, the Sudanese government has been able to obscure much of what has gone on. While the United States government has described the conflict as genocide, the UN has continuously stopped short of using such language. (see List of declarations of genocide in Darfur). In March 2007 the UN mission accused Sudan's government of orchestrating and taking part in "gross violations" in Darfur and called for urgent international action to protect civilians there. After fighting stopped in July and August, on 31 August 2006, the United Nations Security Council approved Resolution 1706 which called for a new 26,000-troop UN peacekeeping force called UNAMID to supplant or supplement a poorly funded and ill-equipped 7,000-troop African Union Mission in Sudan peacekeeping force. Sudan strongly objected to the resolution and said that it would see the UN forces in the region as foreign invaders. The next day, the Sudanese military launched a major offensive in the region. On 14 July 2008, prosecutors at the International Criminal Court (ICC), filed ten charges of war crimes against Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir, three counts of genocide, five of crimes against
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humanity and two of murder. The ICC's prosecutors have claimed that al-Bashir "masterminded and implemented a plan to destroy in substantial part" three tribal groups in Darfur because of their ethnicity. The ICC's prosecutor for Darfur, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, asked a panel of ICC judges to issue an arrest warrant for al-Bashir. The ICC prosecutor's indictment has drawn widespread international criticism.. The warrant was given on March 4, 2009 and has caused many concerns that this could further divide the opposing groups. Omar al-Bashir responded with a statement, denying any involvement. Timeline Main article: Timeline of the War in Darfur A rebellion started in 2003 against the Arab-dominated Sudanese government, with two local rebel groups — the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SLA) — accusing the government of oppressing non-Arabs in favor of Arabs. The government was also accused of neglecting the Darfur for a Commission of Inquiry on Darfur to assess the Sudanese conflict. On 31 January 2005, the UN released a 176-Page report saying that while there were mass murders and rapes, they could not label it as genocide because "genocidal intent appears to be missing". Many activists, however, refer to the crisis in Darfur as a genocide, including the Save Darfur Coalitionand the Genocide Intervention Network. These organizations point to statements by former United States Secretary of State Colin Powell, referring to the conflict as a genocide. Other activists organizations, such as Amnesty International, while calling for international intervention, avoid the use of the term genocide. In May 2006 Minni Minnawi's faction of the main rebel group, the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army, agreed to a draft peace agreement with the Sudanese government. The other faction of the SLM, led by Abdul Wahid al Nur, the founding leader of SLM, refrained from signing the agreement. On 5 May, the agreement, drafted in Abuja, Nigeria, was signed by Minnawi's faction and the Sudanese government. In February 2009 the JEM planned a ceasefire with the Sudan government within the next three months. International
Main article: International response to the Darfur conflict International attention to the Darfur conflict largely began with reports by the advocacy organizations Amnesty International in July 2003 and the International Crisis Group in December 2003. However, widespread media coverage did not start until the outgoing United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Sudan, Mukesh Kapila, called Darfur the "world's greatest humanitarian crisis" in March 2004. Organizations such as STAND: A Student Anti-Genocide Coalition, later under the umbrella of Genocide Intervention Network, and the Save Darfur Coalition emerged and became particularly active in the areas of engaging the United States Congress and President on the issue and pushing for divestment nationwide, initially launched by Adam Sterling under the auspice of the Sudan Divestment Task Force. Particularly strong advocates have additionally included: New York Times Columnist Nicholas Kristof, Sudan Scholar Eric Reeves, Enough Project founder John Prendergast, Pulitzer Prize-winning
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author Samantha Power, photographers Ryan Spencer Reed and Mark Brecke, former Marine Brian Steidle, actress Mia Farrow and her son Ronan Farrow, Olympian Joey Cheek, actress Angelina Jolie, actor George Clooney, Save Darfur Coalition's David Rubenstein, and all of those involved with the Genocide Intervention Network. A movement advocating for humanitarian intervention has emerged in several countries since then. United
Sudan's government has "orchestrated and participated in" war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur, according to a report by UN investigators on the 6th of June 2005. The report to the UN Human Rights Council said the situation in Darfur is "characterized by gross and systematic violations of human rights and grave breaches of international law". It called for the UN Security Council to take "urgent" action to protect Darfur's civilians, including the deployment of a joint UN/African Union force and the freezing of funds and assets owned by officials complicit in the attacks. During the American Presidential Election campaign of 2008, Democratic nominee and ultimate winner Barack Obama said he would provide helicopters and logistics support to the AU. An estimated three million people have been displaced and more than 200,000 have been killed since 2003. A peace deal was signed May 2006 by the government but by only one of the main rebel groups. The rest refused and the violence has only increased. The head of the UN investigating team, the Nobel Peace laureate Jody Williams, described the international response to the crisis as "pathetic". The United States, Britain and the European Union have repeatedly condemned the atrocities but have failed to carry out any of their numerous threats. The US referred to the killings as genocide in 2004, while in 2006, Tony Blair said the situation was "completely unacceptable" and called for "urgent action". None of the resolutions passed by the Security Council regarding Darfur have been implemented. Attempts to negotiate ceasefires and peace deals have been sporadic and piecemeal. A US Democratic presidential candidate Bill Richardson met President Omar al-Bashir in Khartoum in January. He left trumpeting a 60-day ceasefire he had persuaded Mr Bashir to agree to. Within the week Sudanese planes were again dropping bombs in Darfur. Some 7,000 African Union troops are operating in Darfur but their limited resources and mandate has made it all but impossible for them to protect civilians. The force's 150 translators are on strike because they have not been paid since November. A deal appeared to have been struck last November that would have allowed the AU mission to be strengthened into a 22,000-strong combined UN/AU force. However, President Bashir appears to have reneged on the agreement. Jan Pronk, who was the head of the UN mission in Sudan until he was unceremoniously kicked out of the country by the Khartoum government, said Sudan had realized it could "get away with anything". In a recent posting on his blog, Mr Pronk wrote that the Sudanese authorities have continued to "disregard Security Council resolutions, to break international agreements, to violate human rights and to feed and allow attacks on their own citizens. They could do all this without having to fear
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consequences. On the contrary, the Council and its members and the rest of the international community have been taken for a ride." The Human Rights Council team faced similar problems. President Bashir promised UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, that Sudan would co-operate fully with the inquiry, including granting access to Darfur. But despite more than a dozen attempts by the UN team to apply for visas, Khartoum refused to allow them into the country. Instead they travelled to eastern Chad where more than 230,000 Darfuri refugees have fled. The conflict has followed the refugees over the border, with Chadian Arabs - backed by Sudanese Janjaweed militia - attacking black tribes inside Chad.
A mounted Janjaweed miltiaman.
In January 2005, the UN Secretary-General's International Commission of Inquiry on Darfur issued a well documented report that indicated that there was by then already some 1.6 million internally displaced persons as a result of the ongoing violence, more than 200,000 refugees from Darfur into neighbouring Chad, and that Government forces and allied militia had committed widespread and consistent war crimes and crimes against humanity including murder, torture, mass rape, summary executions and arbitrary detention. The Commission found that technically there was not a genocide in the legal sense of the term but that massive violations of human rights and humanitarian law were continuing. The Commission also found that the Janjaweed militia operated alongside or with ground or air logistical support from the Government's armed forces. In early 2007, a High Level Mission on the situation of human rights in Darfur was set up to look into reports of ongoing violations and to try to work with the Government of the Sudan to put a stop to the atrocities. The Mission was led by Nobel Prize Winner Jody Williams and included a number of diplomats and human rights practitioners. The Mission travelled to Ethiopia and Chad but it was never admitted into Sudanese territory itself because the Government refused to issue visas to the Mission. As a result, the High Level Mission could only collect information and in its report of March 2007, it underlined the Government's responsibility to protect civilians in Darfur, noting with regret the Government's abject failure to fulfill this responsibility. International
As Sudan has not ratified the Rome Statute the International Criminal Court cannot investigate crimes that may have taken place in Darfur unless the United Nations Security council asks them to under Article 13(b) of the Rome Statute ("A situation in which one or more of such crimes appears to have been committed is referred to the Prosecutor by the Security Council acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations").. (Another exception is when the crime was committed by a national of a State Party in Darfur, but it is not relevant to the present situation in Darfur.) In March 2005, the Security Council formally referred the situation in Darfur to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, taking into account the report of the International Commission of Inquiry on Darfur, authorized by UN Security Council Resolution 1564 of 2004, but without mentioning any specific crimes. Two permanent members of the Security Council, the United States and China, abstained from the vote on the referral resolution. As of his fourth report to the Security Council, the Prosecutor has found "reasonable grounds to believe that the individuals identified [in the UN Security
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Council Resolution 1593] have committed crimes against humanity and war crimes," but did not find sufficient evidence to prosecute for genocide. In April 2007, the Judges of the ICC issued arrest warrants against the former Minister of State for the Interior, Ahmed Haroun, and a Militia Janjaweed leader, Ali Kushayb, for crimes against humanity and war crimes. The Sudan Government said that the ICC had no jurisdiction to try Sudanese citizens and that it would not hand the two men over to authorities in the Hague. On 14 July 2008, The Prosecutor filed ten charges of war crimes against Sudan's incumbent President Omar al-Bashir, three counts of genocide, five of crimes against humanity and two of murder. The Prosecutor has claimed that Mr. al-Bashir "masterminded and implemented a plan to destroy in substantial part" three tribal groups in Darfur because of their ethnicity. The Prosecutor is expected within months to ask a panel of ICC judges to issue an arrest warrant for al-Bashir. Leaders from three Darfur tribes are suing ICC prosecutor Luis-Moreno Ocampo for libel, defamation, and igniting hatred and tribalism. 300,000 people have died and 5 million or so Darfuri were forced from their homes, and still under attack from government-backed janjaweed militia. The Pre-Trial Chamber handed down its landmark decision on this matter on 4 March 2009, formally charging Mr. al-Bashir with Individual Criminal Responsibility for crimes against humanity and war crimes, under Article 7 and 8 of the Rome Statute, including intentionally directing attacks against a civilian population, pillage, murder, torture, rape, and extermination. However, the Chamber found that The Prosecutor had failed to supply sufficient evidence to support the contention that there were reasonable grounds to believe that Mr. al-Bashir had committed genocide. More specifically, the Pre-Trial Chamber found that there were no reasonable ground to support the contention that he had a specific intent to commit genocide (dolus specialis), which is an intention to destroy, in whole or in part, a protected group. The definition adopted by the Pre-Trial Chamber, though unreasoanbly high as it seems on the face of it, is the definition of the Genocide Convention, the Rome Statute, and some ICTY cases. This definition has recently been reaffirmed and discussed by the International Court of Justice in the Genocide case at some length(Bosnia v. Serbia) and the ICJ judgment was cited with approval by the Pre-Trial Chamber. In fact, The Prosecutor admitted in its Brief that there was no direct evidence to support his contention on this specific intent point and therefore such an intent can only be inferred from nine pieces of evidence. The Pre-Trial Chamber thus held that such reasonable ground can only be inferred if that is the only reasonable inference to be drawn. As there could be other reasonable inferences to be drawn from Mr. al-Bashir's speeches and conducts, for example, the intent to persecute (which is a crime against humanity), the Pre-Trial Chamber held that the claim that there was such a speicfic intent must fail. The week of 9 March, 2009, the Office of the Prosecutor appealed to have the genocide charge added. Mr. al-Bashir is now the first incumbent head of state charged with crimes in the Rome Statute. Bashir has rejected the charges and said, "Whoever has visited Darfur, met officials and discovered their ethnicities and tribes ... will know that all of these things are lies." It is suspected that al-Bashir would not face trial in The Hague any time soon, as Sudan rejects the ICC's jurisdiction. Payam Akhavan, a professor of international law at McGill University in Montreal and a
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former war crimes prosecutor, says although he may not go to trial, "He will effectively be in prison within the Sudan itself...Al-Bashir now is not going to be able to leave the Sudan without facing arrest." Since the Prosecutor first applied for a warrant, Bashir made a trip to Turkey. Since the warrant was issued, al-Bashir has indicated he will travel to an Arab summit in Doha, Qatar on March 30. The Prosecutor has publicly warned that authorities could arrest the President if he enters international airspace. The Sudanese government has announced the Presidential plane will be accompanied by jet fighters.[] Some analysts think that the ICC indictment is counterproductive. It is believed that the decision will hinder the efforts to establish peace in Darfur, and will undermine any effort to boost stability in Sudan. Some think that the ICC is guilty of exaggeration and hypocrisy with the indictment because of how those responsible for the crises in Iraq and Afghanistan have not been prosecuted. Most Arab and African governments have condemned the indictments, which some see as politically motivated. Some see the indictment as an attempt to blackmail Sudan and interfere in its internal affairs. Others expressed resentment towards what they call double standards on Sudan. It has been suggested that the ICC should have dealt all of the world's conflicts, such as Israel's occupation of Palestinian territories. The Sudanese Government alleged that colonial powersare seeking to dominate their country. Some have interpreted the indictment as an attempt to overthrow the Sudanese Government. The African Union demanded the ICC to suspend the indictment against the Sudanese President. China expressed "serious concern" over the indictment. A foreign ministry spokesman urged the parties concerned to avoid complicating the situation in Sudan. The International Criminal Court (ICC) ruled to issue an arrest warrant for al-Bashir on March 3, 2009. Criticism
of international response
The Save Darfur Coalitionadvocacy group coordinated a large rally in New York, N.Y. in April 2006
Main article: International response to the Darfur conflict Gérard Prunier, a scholar specializing in African conflicts, argues that the world's most powerful countries have largely limited their response to expressions of concern and demands that the United Nations take action. The UN, lacking both the funding and military support of the wealthy countries, has left the African Union to deploy a token force (AMIS) without a mandate to protect civilians. In the lack of foreign political will to address the political and economic structures that underlie the conflict, theinternational community has defined the Darfur conflict in humanitarian assistance terms and debated the "genocide" label. On 16 October 2006, Minority Rights Group (MRG) published a critical report, challenging that the UN and the great powers could have prevented the deepening crisis in Darfur and that few lessons appear to have been drawn from their ineptitude during theRwandan Genocide. MRG's executive director, Mark Lattimer, stated that: "this level of crisis, the killings, rape and displacement could have been foreseen and avoided ... Darfur would just not be in this situation had the UN systems got its act together after
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Rwanda: their action was too little too late." On 20 October, 120 genocide survivors of The Holocaust, the Cambodian and Rwandan Genocides, backed by six aid agencies, submitted an open letter to the European Union, calling on them to do more to end the atrocities in Darfur, with a UN peacekeeping force as "the only viable option." Aegis Trust director, James Smith, stated that while "the African Union has worked very well in Darfur and done what it could, the rest of the world hasn't supported those efforts the way it should have done with sufficient funds and sufficient equipment." Human Rights First claimed that over 90% of the light weapons currently being imported by Sudan and used in the conflict are from China; however, according to Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)'s "Arms Transfers Data for 2007", in 2003–2007, Sudan received 87 per cent of its major conventional weapons from Russia and 8 per cent from China. Human rights advocates and opponents of the Sudanese government portray China's role in providing weapons and aircraft as a cynical attempt to obtain oil and gas just as colonial powers once supplied African chieftains with the military means to maintain control as they extracted natural resources. According to China's critics, China has offered Sudan support threatening to use its veto on the U.N. Security Council to protect Khartoum from sanctions and has been able to water down every resolution on Darfur in order to protect its interests in Sudan. Accusations of the supply of weapons from China in breach of a UN arms embargo continue to arise. There has been further evidence of the Sudanese government's murder of civilians to actually facilitate the extraction of oil. The U.S.-funded Civilian Protection Monitoring Team, which investigates attacks in southern Sudan concluded that "as the Government of Sudan sought to clear the way for oil exploration and to create a cordon sanitaire around the oil fields, vast tracts of the Western Upper Nile Region in southern Sudan became the focus of extensive military operations." Sarah Wykes, a senior campaigner at Global Witness, an NGO that campaigns for better natural resource governance, says: "Sudan has purchased about $100m in arms from China and has used these weapons against civilians in Darfur." Calls for sustained pressure and possible boycotts of the Olympics have come from French presidential candidate François Bayrou, actor and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Mia Farrow, Genocide Intervention Network Representative Ronan Farrow, author and Sudan scholar Eric Reeves and the Washington Posteditorial board. Sudan divestment efforts have also concentrated on PetroChina, the national petroleum company with extensive investments in Sudan. On the opposite side of the issue, publicity given to the Darfur conflict has been criticized in some segments of the Arab media as exaggerated. Statements to this effect take the view that the "lobby to save Darfur...is just the Israel lobby nicknamed", and by raising the issue of Darfur, Israeli lobby is trying "to divert attention from Israel's crimes, or the catastrophe of the war in Iraq", and that Western attention to the Darfur crisis is "a cover for what is really being planned and carried out by the Western forces of hegemony and control in our Arab world." While "in New York, ... there are thousands of nude posters screaming 'genocide' and '400,000 people dead," in reality only "200,000 have been killed." Furthermore, "what has been done" in Darfur is "not genocide," simply "war crimes." Another complaint made is that "there is no ethnic cleansing being perpetrated" in Darfur,
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only "great instability" and "clashes between the Sudanese government, rebel movements and the Janjaweed." Mortality
A mother with her sick baby at Abu Shouk IDP camp in North Darfur.
Accurate numbers of dead have been difficult to estimate, partly because the Sudanese government places formidable obstacles in front of journalists attempting to cover the conflict. In September 2004, the World Health Organization estimated there had been 50,000 deaths in Darfur since the beginning of the conflict, an 18-month period, mostly due to starvation. An updated estimate the following month put the number of deaths for the 6-month period from March to October 2004 due to starvation and disease at 70,000; These figures were criticized, because they only considered short periods and did not include violent deaths. A more recent British Parliamentary Report has estimated that over 300,000 people have died, and others have estimated even more. In March 2005, the UN's Emergency Relief Coordinator Jan Egeland estimated that 10,000 were dying each month excluding deaths due to ethnic violence. An estimated 2 million people had at that time been displaced from their homes, mostly seeking refuge in camps in Darfur's major towns. Two hundred thousand had fled to neighboring Chad. Reports of violent deaths compiled by the UN indicate between 6000 and 7000 fatalities from 2004 to 2007. In an April 2005 report, the Coalition for International Justice estimated that 400,000 people in Darfur had died since the conflict began. In May 2005, the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) of the School of Public Health of the Université catholique de Louvain in Brussels, Belgium published an analysis of mortality in Darfur. Their estimate stated that from September 2003 to January 2005, between 98,000 and 181,000 persons had died in Darfur, including from 63,000 to 146,000 excess deaths. On 28 April 2006, Dr. Eric Reeves argued that "extant data, in aggregate, strongly suggest that total excess mortality in Darfur, over the course of more than three years of deadly conflict, now significantly exceeds 450,000," but this has not been independently verified. A 21 September 2006 article by the official UN News Service stated that "UN officials estimate over 400,000 people have lost their lives and some 2 million more have been driven from their homes." However, the UN disclosed on 22 April 2008 that it might have underestimated the Darfur death toll by nearly 50 percent. In November 2006, the United States Government Accountability Office convened a group of experts to evaluate the different mortality figures for Darfur. These experts expressed the highest level of confidence in the estimates by the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED)." Spreading
Main articles: Civil war in Chad (2005–present) and Central African Republic Bush War
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Violence in Darfur spread over the border to Chad and the Central African Republic. In Chad, notably, the Janjaweed were accused of incursions and attacks. Rape
See also: War rape
Darfur villages destroyed as of 2 August 2004
An 19 October 2004 UN News Centre article titled "UNICEF adviser says rape in Darfur, Sudan continues with impunity" reported:
Armed militias in Sudan’s strife-torn Darfur region are continuing to rape women and girls with impunity, an expert from the United Nations children’s agency said today on her return from a mission to the region. Pamela Shifman, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) adviser on violence and sexual exploitation, said she heard dozens of harrowing accounts of sexual assaults – including numerous reports of gang rapes – when she visited internally displaced persons (IDPs) at one camp and another settlement in North Darfur last week. “Rape is used as a weapon to terrorize individual women and girls, and also to terrorize their families and to terrorize entire communities,” she said in an interview with the UN News Service. "No woman or girl is safe."
In that article Pamela Shifman also reported:
Ms. Shifman said every woman or girl she spoke to had either endured sexual assault herself, or knew of someone who had been attacked, particularly when they left the relative safety of their IDP camp or settlement to find firewood.
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International response to the War in Darfur
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Dead animals lie in the middle of a burned and looted village in Darfur
Main article: War in Darfur While there is a general consensus in the international community that ethnic groups have been targeted and that crimes against humanity have therefore occurred, there has been debate in some quarters about whethergenocide has taken place. In May 2006, the International Commission of Inquiry on Darfur organized byUnited Nations "concluded that the Government of the Sudan has not pursued a policy of genocide ... [though] international offences such as the crimes against humanity and war crimes that have been committed in Darfur may be no less serious and heinous than genocide." Eric Reeves, a researcher and frequent commentator on Darfur, has questioned the methodology of the commission's report. The United States government, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and individual world leaders have chosen to use the word "genocide" for what is taking place in Darfur. (See Declarations of genocide, below)Most notably, in passing the Darfur Peace and Accountability Act of 2006, the US government codified specific economic and legal sanctions on the government of Sudan as a result of its findings of genocide. International
International attention to the Darfur conflict largely began with reports by the advocacy organizations Amnesty International in July 2003 and the International Crisis Group in December 2003. However, widespread media coverage did not start until the outgoing United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Sudan,Mukesh Kapila, called Darfur the "world's greatest humanitarian crisis" in March 2004. A movement advocating for humanitarian intervention has emerged in several countries since then. United
UN Security Council chamber
The on-going conflict in Darfur, Sudan, which started in 2003, was declared a "genocide" by United States Secretary of StateColin Powell on September 9, 2004 in testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Since that time however, no other permanent member of the United Nations Security Council has followed suit. In fact, in January 2005, an International Commission of Inquiry on Darfur, authorized by UN Security Council Resolution 1564 of 2004, issued a report to the SecretaryGeneral stating that "the Government of the Sudan has not pursued a policy of genocide." Nevertheless, the Commission cautioned that "The conclusion that no genocidal policy has been pursued and implemented in Darfur by the Government authorities, directly or through the militias under their control, should not be taken in any way as detracting from the gravity of the crimes
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perpetrated in that region. International offences such as the crimes against humanity and war crimes that have been committed in Darfur may be no less serious and heinous than genocide." International
As Sudan has not ratified the Rome Statute the International Criminal Court can not investigate crimes that may have taken place in Darfur unless the United Nations Security council asks them to under Article 13.b of the Rome Statute ("A situation in which one or more of such crimes appears to have been committed is referred to the Prosecutor by the Security Council acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations"). In March 2005, the Security Council formally referred the situation in Darfur to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, taking into account the report of the International Commission of Inquiry on Darfur, authorized by UN Security Council Resolution 1564 of 2004, but without mentioning any specific crimes. Two permanent members of the Security Council, the United States and China, abstained from the vote on the referral resolution. As of his fourth report to the Security Council, the Prosecutor has found "reasonable grounds to believe that the individuals identified [in the UN Security Council Resolution 1593] have committed crimes against humanity and war crimes," but did not find sufficient evidence to prosecute for genocide. In April 2007, the Judges of the ICC issued arrest warrants against the former Minister of State for the Interior, Ahmad Harun, and a Militia Janjaweed leader, Ali Kushayb, for crimes against humanity and war crimes. The Sudan Government says that the ICC had no jurisdiction to try Sudanese citizens and that it will not hand the two men over to its custody. On July 14, 2008, prosecutors at the International Criminal Court (ICC), filed ten charges of war crimes against Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir, three counts of genocide, five of crimes against humanity and two of murder. The ICC's prosecutors have claimed that al-Bashir "masterminded and implemented a plan to destroy in substantial part" three tribal groups in Darfur because of their ethnicity. The ICC's prosecutor for Darfur, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, is expected within months to ask a panel of ICC judges to issue an arrest warrant for al-Bashir. The evidence was submitted to 3 judges who will decide whether to issue an arrest warrant in the coming months. 300,000 people have died and 5 million people were forced from their homes, and still under attack from government-backed janjaweed militia. If formally charged, al-Bashir would become the first sitting head of statecharged with genocide. Bashir has rejected the charges and said, "Whoever has visited Darfur, met officials and discovered their ethnicities and tribes ... will know that all of these things are lies." It is suspected that al-Bashir would not face trial in The Hague any time soon, as Sudan reject's the ICC's jurisdiction. Payam Akhavan, a professor of international law at McGill University in Montreal and a former war crimes prosecutor, says although he may not go to trial, "He will effectively be in prison within the Sudan itself...Al-Bashir now is not going to be able to leave the Sudan without facing arrest."
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and military response
The Sudanese army on March 28, 2007 denied reports circulated over raids carried out by French paratroopers against Darfur villages. Senegal honoured on April 12, 2007 five of its soldiers killed in Sudan's Darfur and said it could quit the African Union peacekeeping force there unless it was better equipped and protected. Logistics Logistics is one of the major obstacles in Darfur that hinders successful deployment of the UNAMID peace-keeping force and the humanitarian organisations that strive to bring peace, security and a relief of human suffering to the region. The vast region has no major surfaced road network. It is nearly 1300 km from Sudan’s one and only international sea port at Port Sudan and 700 km from the international airport at Khartoum. Transporting aid to and around the region is hard enough, but during the summer months it is nearly impossible as heavy rains descend and destroy the dirt roads and fill the wadis, leaving many areas inaccessible. Cargo is often held up at customs as documentation requirements are often changed and cargo retained at the docks until varying amounts of government officials have inspected it. During 2007-2008, 22% of transport companies discontinued their services to Darfur due to insecurity. Banditry has increased throughout the conflict, as many of the small rebel factions have turned to it to finance their operations. 51% of the incidents occur along the Ed Daein to Zalingei route, in which both goods, the trucks and drivers have been captured and kidnapped along the way. The goods have been sold for profit, while the vehicles, the main prize, have been incorporated into the bandits' operations, with the kidnapped drivers used to maintain the vehicles. Truck-jackings have become an increasing problem to logistics as not only have the local contractors increased their prices, but many now have to wait for the government to provide armed escorts along the major routes. These escorts are infrequent and are on offer only when the manpower can be spared. The UN forces currently do not have the permission or the forces to operate the long convoys in and out of Sudan, creating a large backlog of aid piling up at the end of the surfaced road in El Obeid, waiting for a convoy to take them the rest of the way. A 6 or 7 day journey is now taking over 3 weeks due to these restrictions. UNJLC, WFP and CARE International have joined forces to create a common pipeline for the different UN agencies and NGOs to transport their procured goods to the Darfur region. During the months of May and June 2008, they offered theses services for free, to help the NGOs stockpile their materials so that they would have enough to outstand the rainy season. These services were limited however, and only really applicable for non-food items. Humanitarian organisations that require more constant delivery of goods and delicate materials such as medical supplies and food supplements have been faced with the dilemma of having to fly their materials in, due to the rains. UNHAS has only a few planes and is overstretched due to lack of funding. Many organisations[who?] are having to resort to hiring local air freight contractors, which alone is very expensive. Some organisations who cannot afford the high prices use the larger multimodal companies which offer a midway to the fast and expensive air freight, and the cheap and very slow land freight.
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The Sudanese logisitcs companies that are still operating are: Air freight= Azza Transport, Ababeel aviation, Air Taxi Sudan. Land freight = Raiba logistics, Keer-MISC ltd, Delta logistics, All inclusive/multimodal= Rapid Response Services Statements
from world leaders
On 18 February 2006 US President George W. Bush called for the number of international troops in Darfur to be doubled.
On 17 September 2006, British Prime Minister Tony Blair wrote an open letter to the members of the European Union calling for a unified response to the crisis. Declarations
The following notable individuals and institutions have declared the conflict in Darfur a genocide (organized chronologically by first statement):
International Association of Genocide Scholars, 19 February 2004 Committee on Conscience of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, 6 June 2004 The United States Congress (House Concurrent Resolution 467), 22 June 2004, passed 422-0 in the House and by unanimous voice vote in the Senate, declaring state-sponsored genocide by the proxy militias known as Janjaweed. Therefore each member of the 108th United States Congress has technically declared that the situation in Darfur is a genocide. All but three members of the 109th United States Congress voted in favor of the Darfur Peace and Accountability Act, a law signed by President Bush in October 2006 that restated the findings of genocide. Additional individual statements by members of the US Congress are noted below.
US Sen. Russell Feingold, 22 July 2004 US Secretary of State Colin Powell, 9 September 2004 US President George W. Bush, 9 September 2004 Restated declaration in June 2005 and in a meeting with activists from the Save Darfur Coalition, 28 April2006
Jewish World Watch, 16 September 2004, in a sermon by Rabbi Harold M. Schulweis. US Sen. John Kerry, prior to 16 September 2004 Anti-Defamation League US Sen. Joseph Lieberman, 2 March 2005 Armenian Assembly of America, 2 March 2005 US Sen. and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, 15 April 2005 American Jewish Committee, 6 May 2005 Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights, July 2005 US Sen. Barack Obama, 22 July 2005
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Genocide Intervention Network, 21 November 2005 Israeli ambassador to the U.N., Itzhak Levanon, 27 January 2006 US Sen. Hillary Clinton, 16 March 2006 French foreign minister Philippe Douste-Blazy, 6 September 2006 The Assembly of the Republic of Portugal, 4 May 2007 Physicians for Human Rights (date unknown) U.S. Committee for Refugees (date unknown) Africa Action (date unknown) Justice Africa (date unknown) Africa Confidential (date unknown) Yad Vashem (date unknown) Genocide Watch (date unknown) American Israel Public Affairs Committee
The following institutions have not declared the conflict in Darfur a genocide (related statements included):
United Nations: Stated that mass murders of civilians have been committed by the Janjaweed, but not genocide
African Union: In the 2004 the Chair of the AU's PSC said that "abuses are taking place. There is mass suffering, but it is not genocide."
Amnesty International: "The grave human rights abuses ... cannot be ignored any longer, nor justified or excused by a context of armed conflict."
Médecins sans Frontières: Director Jean-Hervé Bradol called the term genocide "inappropriate" and deputy emergency director Dr. Mercedes Taty said "I don't think that we should be using the word 'genocide' to describe this conflict. Not at all. This can be a semantic discussion, but nevertheless, there is no systematic target -- targeting one ethnic group or another one. It doesn't mean either that the situation in Sudan isn't extremely serious by itself."
The United Nations has an extensive timeline for this time period. Key points: March 2003: Fighting breaks out in Darfur between government forces and rebels. Refugees start fleeing into Chad January 2004: Aid agencies' response begins in earnest to help thousands of displaced April 2: UN says "scorched-earth" campaign of ethnic cleansing by Janjaweed militias against Darfur's black African population is taking place
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May 4: UN officials describe Darfur as one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world May 7: Two human rights reports find Sudanese government and Arab militias carrying out massive human rights violations which "may constitute war crimes and/or crimes against humanity" July
In early July 2004, Annan and then-United States Secretary of State Colin Powell visited Sudan and the Darfur region, and urged the Sudanese government to stop supporting the Janjaweed militias. Annan described the trips as constructive. The African Union (AMIS) and European Union have sent monitors cease-fire signed on 8 April 2004; the United States
  
(as of 5 July 2004) to observe the
however, the Janjaweed's attacks have not stopped, as noted by
and more recently Human Rights Watch.
According to the BBC in July, an end to the conflict.
analysts estimate that at least 15,000 soldiers would be needed to put
On 22 July 2004, the United States Senate and House of Representatives passed a joint resolution declaring the armed conflict in the Sudanese region of Darfur to begenocide and calling on the Bush administration to lead an international effort to put a stop to it. On 30 July, the United Nations gave the Sudanese government 30 days to disarm and bring to justice the Janjaweed, in UN Security Council Resolution 1556; if this deadline is not met in 30 days, it "expresses its intention to consider" sanctions. Janjaweed and other militia.
The Arab League asked for a longer term and warned
that Sudan must not become another Iraq. Resolution 1556 also imposed an arms embargo on the
From the Sudanese government's point of view, the conflict is simply a skirmish. The Sudanese president, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, said, "The international concern over Darfur is actually a targeting of the Islamic state in Sudan." Sudan has warned Britain and the United States not to interfere in the internal affairs of the East African country saying it will reject any military aid, while asking for logistic support. August
Destroyed villages as of August 2004 (Source: DigitalGlobe, Inc. and Department of State via USAID)
In August 2004, the African Union sent 150 Rwandan troops in to protect the ceasefire monitors; however, "their mandate did not include the protection of civilians."
Rwandan President Paul
Kagame declared that "if it was established that the civilians are in danger then our forces will certainly intervene and use force to protect civilians"; however, such an effort would certainly take more than 150 troops. They were joined by 150 Nigerian troops later that month.
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Peace talks, which had previously fallen apart in Addis Ababa on July 17, were resumed on August 23 inAbuja. The talks reopened amid acrimony, with the SLA accusing the government of breaking promises
that it made for the little-respected April ceasefire.
The UN's 30 day deadline expired on August 29, after which the Secretary General reported on the state of the conflict. According to him, the situation "has resulted in some improvements on the ground but remains limited overall". In particular, he notes that the Janjaweed militias remain armed and continue to attack civilians (contrary to Resolution 1556), and militia disarmament has been limited to a "planned" 30% reduction in one particular militia, the Popular Defense Forces. He also notes that the Sudanese government's commitments regarding their own armed forces have been only partially implemented, with refugees reporting several attacks involving government forces. that: Stopping attacks against civilians and ensuring their protection is the responsibility of the Government of Sudan. The Government has not met this obligation fully, despite the commitments it has made and its obligations under resolution 1556 (2004). Attacks against civilians are continuing and the vast majority of armed militias has not been disarmed. Similarly, no concrete steps have been taken to bring to justice or even identify any of the militia leaders or the perpetrators of these attacks, allowing the violations of human rights and the basic laws of war to continue in a climate of impunity. After 18 months of conflict and 30 days after the adoption of resolution 1556 (2004), the Government of Sudan has not been able to resolve the crisis in Darfur, and has not met some of the core commitments it has made. and advises "a substantially increased international presence in Darfur" in order to "monitor" the conflict. However, he did not threaten or imply sanctions, which the UN had expressed its "intention to consider" in Resolution 1556. September
On September 9, 2004, then-US Secretary of State Colin Powell declared to the US Senate that genocide was occurring in Darfur, for which he blamed the Sudanese government and the Janjaweed. This position was strongly rejected by the Sudanese foreign affairs minister, Najib Abdul Wahab. The United Nations, like the African Union and European Union, have not declared the Darfur conflict to be an act of genocide. If it does constitute an act of genocide, international law is considered to allow other countries to intervene.
IDP camp near Nyala, South Darfur
Also on September 9, 2004, the US put forward a UN draft resolution threatening Sudan with sanctions on itsoil industry. This was adopted, in modified form, on September 18, 2004 as Resolution 1564 (see below.)
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On September 13, 2004, WHO published a Darfur mortality survey, which was the first reliable indicator about deaths in Darfur. It reported that 6,000–10,000 people were dying each month in Darfur. Many were related to diarrhoea, but the most significant cause of death was violent death for those aged 15–49. The Darfur mortality rates were significantly higher than the emergency threshold, and were from 3 to 6 times higher than the normal African death rates.
On September 18, 2004, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 1564, pressuring the Sudanese government to act urgently to improve the situation by threatening the possibility of oil sanctions in the event of continued noncompliance with Resolution 1556 or refusal to accept the expansion of African Union peacekeepers. was occurring. 4,500 troops.
Resolution 1564 also established an International
Commission of Inquiry to look into human rights violations, and to determine whether genocide In the wake of this resolution, the peacekeeper force was to be expanded to
On September 30, 2004, during the first of three U.S. presidential debates, Jim Lehrer, the moderator, asked why neither candidate had discussed committing troops to Darfur. Senator John Kerry replied that "one of the reasons we can't do it is we're overextended," but agreed that he'd use American forces "to some degree to coalesce the African Union." President Bush cited aid committed to the region and agreed that action should be taken through the African Union. Both candidates agreed that what was happening in Darfur was genocide. October
On October 15, 2004, World Health Organization official David Nabarro estimated that 70,000 people had died of disease and malnutrition in Darfur since March. On October 17, 2004 in a meeting between leaders of Libya, Sudan, Egypt, Nigeria and Chad, the idea of foreign intervention was rejected. They stated that they believe it to be a purely African matter. Egyptian presidency spokesman Magued Abdel Fattah said that the international community should "provide Sudan with assistance to allow it to fulfil its obligations under UN resolutions (on Darfur) rather than putting pressure on it and issuing threats."
The United States transported Nigerian soldiers onOctober 28
The African Union had expected to have 3,000 additional troops in place in the region sometime in November, but cited lack of funds and 'logistical difficulties' in delaying this deployment, waiting on the AU's Peace and Security Council to meet on October 20 and decide on the expanded duties and numbers of the force. It was decided that these AU troops, from both Nigeria and Rwanda, will be deployed by October 30. The United Nations pledged $100 million dollars to support the force, about half of the $221 million cost to keep them deployed for a year. The European Union mobilised the remainder, an additional EUR 80 million on October 26 from their African Peace Facility to support the
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deployment and operations of the 3144-strong AU observer mission which will monitor the implementation of the cease-fire agreement.
Peace talks between Sudan and Darfur rebels were scheduled to resume on October 21 in Abuja, Nigeria. However, rebels showed up late and the talks did not begin until October 25. Two more rebel groups now want in on the negotiations, and an existing cease-fire agreement is considered shaky. The talks are still in progress, but a humanitarian agreement is expected to be hammered out during the course of the talks. November
A village health post destroyed by a Janjaweed militia attack.
On November 2 the United Nations reports that Sudanese troops have raided the Abu Sharif and Otash refugee camps nearNyala in Darfur, moving a number of inhabitants and denying aid agencies access to the remaining inhabitants inside. disarmament of the militias.
Meanwhile, the Abuja talks continued, with
attempts made to agree on a no-fly zone over Darfur in addition to a truce on land and a
A third UN resolution is being considered, calling for a speedy end to the conflict.
On November 9 the Sudanese government and the two leading rebel groups, the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM), signed two accords aimed toward short-term progress in resolving the Darfur conflict. The first accord established a no-fly zone over rebel-controlled areas of Darfur—a measure designed to end the Sudanese military's bombing of rebel villages in the region. The second accord granted international humanitarian aid agencies unrestricted access to the Darfur region. The accords were the product of African Union sponsored peace talks inAbuja that began October 25. Delegates stated that a later round of negotiations expected to begin in mid-December would work on a longer-term political accord. The talks may have produced the breakthrough accords because of a looming meeting of the UN Security Council, which many expected would have imposed oil sanctions on the Sudanese government if progress had not been made.
Despite the November 9 accords, violence in Sudan continued. On November 10—one day after the accords—the Sudanese military conducted attacks on Darfur refugee villages in plain sight of UN and African Union observers.
On November 22, alleging that Janjaweed members had
refused to pay for livestock in the town market of Tawila in Northern Darfur, rebels attacked the town's government-controlled police stations. The Sudanese military retaliated on November 23 by bombing the town. January
The Commission found that the Government of the Sudan and the Janjaweed are
The International Commission of Inquiry on Darfur hand their report to the Secretary General on January 25.
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responsible for serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law amounting to crimes under international law. But the Commission stopped short of calling it genocide. The Commission identified 51 individuals responsible for the violation of human rights and recommended immediate trial at the International Criminal Court. March
On March 7, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan spoke to the UN Security Council requesting that the peacekeeping force in Darfur be increased to support the 2000African Union troops already deployed.
A resolution for the deployment of an additional 10,000 peacekeepers has been
delayed by the failure of the Security Council to agree on the mechanism to be used to try war criminals and the application and extent of sanctions. A number of Security Council members want war criminals to be tried by the International Criminal Court; the United States refused, however, to support that proposition. An African-run tribunal has been proposed as a countermeasure, and proposals have been made for trials to be held in Tanzania and Nigeria. The current resolution has also been criticized, as it is unclear as to whether the peacekeepers will be deployed to Darfur or to monitor peace in the south of Sudan. remains deadlocked over Darfur.
On March 24 a peacekeeping
force was approved to monitor peace in the south of Sudan, however the Security Council still
On March 29 United Nations Security Council Resolution 1591 was passed 11–0.
strengthened the arms embargo and imposed an asset freeze and travel ban on those deemed responsible for the atrocities in Darfur. It was agreed that war criminals will be tried by the International Criminal Court.
The United Nations released a new estimate of 180,000 who have died as a result of illness and malnutrition in the 18 months of the conflict. It has not attempted to estimate the number of violence-related deaths. April
On April 5 it was reported that the UN has given the ICC the names of fifty-one people suspected of war crimes. The list may include high government officials of Sudan. The Sudanese Government has said it will not hand over the suspects. The sealed list, presented to the International Criminal Court, was drawn up following an investigation by the UN into claims of killings, torture and rape committed by Government forces and militias in the Darfur region. Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, backed by huge protests against the UN in Sudan's capital of Khartoum, snubbed the UN resolution passed on March 29 to bring the suspects to trial before the court, adding that he "shall never hand any Sudanese national to a foreign court." On April 29 it was reported
that the administration of U.S. President George W. Bush had forged
a "close intelligence partnership" with the Sudanese government despite their presence on the U.S. list of state sponsors of international terrorism and the declaration of genocide in Darfur by that administration's former Secretary of State, Colin Powell.
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IDP mother and malnourished child in North Darfur
Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi has somewhat championed the cause of African unity. This sentiment has led him to invite the leaders of Sudan, Nigeria, Egypt, Chad and Eritrea to a summit in Tripoli regarding the conflict in Darfur. The two main rebel groups in Darfur, the Sudan Liberation Movement and the Justice and Equality Movement, announced they wanted to resume peace talks. Previous negotiations were to be disbanded in favor of new dialogue hoping to solve their differences. It seems that a possible hinge of the negotiations is compliance or refusal of handing over war crime suspects to organizations such as the International Criminal Court in The Hague. Medecins Sans Frontieres doctor Paul Foreman was arrested by Sudanese authorities over the publication of a report detailing hundreds of rapes in Darfur.
Claims began to surface that the Bush administration's noticeable toning down of its description of the situation in Sudan - it stopped calling the Darfur conflict a genocide, and claimed that United Nations death toll estimates may be too high - was due to increased co-operation from Sudanese officials towards the War on Terrorism. The claim asserted that Major General Salah Abdallah Gosh who is said to have been involved in training the Janjaweed, was flown to Washington for high-level talks with his United States counterparts, related to global terrorism June
The International Criminal Court announces an investigation into crimes against humanity related to the conflict that is taking place in Darfur. Rep. Henry Hyde (R-IL) introduces the Darfur Peace and Accountability Act in the House on June 30. July
Security in the region is improving, according to the commander of the African Union peacekeeping force. There have been no major conflicts since January, and the numbers of attacks on villages has been dropping. There are currently around 3,000 troops there to keep the peace, and more are due to arrive in the coming months, expecting to reach 7,000 troops in September. In keeping with a decision made by the Peace and Security Council, Nigeria sent a battalion of 680 troops on Wednesday, July 13, 2005 with two more coming soon thereafter. Rwanda will send a battalion of troops, Senegal, Gambia, Kenya and South Africa will send troops as well. Canada is providing 105 armoured vehicles, training and maintenance assistance, and personal protective equipment in support of the efforts of the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS).
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On July 10, Ex-rebel leader John Garang was sworn in as Sudan's vice-president.
constitution was adopted, and all parties should be represented more fairly. The United States Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick has applauded the political changes and the improving security. Kofi Annan and South AfricanPresident Thabo Mbeki watched the ceremony. On 21 July, Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) introduces the Darfur Peace and Accountability Act in the Senate. August
On August 1, newly-elected Sudanese vice-president John Garang, a former leader of the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA), who was seen by many to be a crucial element of a Sudan that is free of genocide, died in a helicopter crash. This has sparked renewed concerns international community, of Sudan's ability to unite in the face of genocide. The long-term implications of Garang's death are still unclear; and, despite the recently improved security, talks between the various rebels in the Darfur region are going slowly, with no sight of a final peace agreement. September
On September 15, a series of African Union mediated talks began in Abuja, Nigeria. Representatives of the Sudanese government and the two major rebel groups are participating in the talks, however the Sudan Liberation Movement faction refused to be present and according to a BBC reporter the SLM "will not recognise anything agreed at the talks". October
After a government-supported Janjaweed militia attacked the Aro Sharow refugee village on September 28, killing at least 32, the African Union on October 1 accused both the Sudanese government and rebels of violating the ceasefire agreement.
Associated Press reports the
African Union as condemning the government's "acts of 'calculated and wanton destruction' that have killed at least 44 people and displaced thousands over two weeks." On October 9, a rebel group abducted 18 members of an African Union peacekeeping team, but released most of them after negotiations.
Following an increase in fighting in the region, on October 13 the UN announced that it will withdraw all non-essential staff from Darfur. West Darfur is reportedly too dangerous for aidagencies to operate. November
Attacks on African Union peacekeepers by rebels led to the Sudanese government approving the deployment of 105 Grizzly armored personnel carriers donated byCanada to aid African Union peacekeeping forces in the western region of Darfur.
On 18 November, the United States Senate passes the Darfur Peace and Accountability Act by unanimous consent. The seventh round of peace talks began on November 21.
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An attack on the Chadian town of Adré near the Sudanese border led to the deaths of three hundred rebels. Sudan was blamed for the attack, which was the second in the region in three days.
The escalating tensions in the region led to the government of Chad declaring its hostility
toward Sudan and calling for Chadian citizens to mobilise themselves against the "common enemy". (See Chad-Sudan conflict)
On 24 December, the United States Congress rejected Condoleezza Rice's request to restore $50 million in aid to the African Union that human rights groups say had been cut from the budget in November. January
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations called for $40 million to support its agricultural relief and recovery activities in Sudan in 2006, stressing that humanitarian assistance needs to be coupled with longer- term development aid to ensure lasting peace in the country. The appeal is part of the 2006 Work Plan for Sudan, which outlines the activities to be carried out by the UN and its partners in the country in the coming year. "FAO's role is particularly crucial given the importance of agriculture in the country," said Anne M. Bauer, Director, FAO Emergency Operations and Rehabilitation Division. The Save Darfur Coalition, representing over 160 humanitarian, faith-based, advocacy, and human rights organizations, launches its "Million Voices for Darfur" campaign to urge President Bush for a larger, more robust multinational peacekeeping force in Darfur. February
On February 3, 2006, as the United States began its month-long presidency of the United Nations Security Council, the U.S offered a motion to begin plans to sendUN peacekeepers to Darfur. The Security Council agreed unanimously to begin the planning process to send the troops, with a final decision to come later. It called for a 12,000 to 20,000 troop presence in Darfur with the 7,000 African Union troops already there being given new weapons and being incorporated into the UN mission. Furthermore, they would have a greater mandate to protect civilians. Nevertheless, difficulties are expected to arise in finding states willing to contribute troops to the UN mission. Although the United States offered the motion, the U.S is not expected to contribute troops to the mission. Also, Omar al-Bashir, the leader of Sudan who is widely believed to be backing the Janjaweed militias in Darfur, has also frequently stated his opposition to UN peacekeepers in Sudan further complicating the problem. Assuming these problems are overcome, UN troops are still not likely to appear in Darfur for nearly a year. April
On 5 April, the House passes the Darfur Peace and Accountability Act in a vote of 416 to 3. A series of rallies were held to call for more aid and an increased role for international peacekeepers. The largest one was held on 30 April in Washington D.C. on the National Mall, sponsored by the Save Darfur Coalition, American Jewish World Service, the Genocide Intervention
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Network, Students Taking Action Now: Darfurand dozens of others, where celebrities and lawmakers came together with nearly a hundred-thousand protesters. Students from at least 46 states attended the rally in Washington DC. Dr. Eric Reeves released a report arguing that the number of deaths in Darfur had likely surpassed 450,000. Osama bin Laden condemned peacekeepers in Darfur, claiming they conducted atrocities against Muslims. The government of Sudan distanced themselves from his statements, but continued their vociferous condemnations of any potential deployment of UN troops. In a speech commemorating the victims of the Holocaust, Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick connected the victims of Nazi aggression with those who died inRwanda and continue to suffer in Darfur. US Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton presented a draft resolution calling for sanctions imposed on four people implicated in the continuing genocide in Darfur. May
On May 5, 2006, the government of Sudan signed an accord with the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA). However, the agreement was rejected by two other, smaller groups, the Justice and Equality Movement and a rival faction of the SLA.
The accord was orchestrated by the U.S. Deputy
Secretary of State Robert B. Zoellick,Salim Ahmed Salim (working on behalf of the African Union), AU representatives, and other foreign officials operating in Abuja, Nigeria. The accord calls for the disarmament of the Janjaweed militia, and for the rebel forces to disband and be incorporated into the army.
But the agreement, signed in Abuja, was rejected by a smaller SLM faction and
the rebel Justice and Equality Movement. Research by the UN indicated that violence in Darfur after the signing of the Darfur Peace Agreement actually increased. Within days of the deal, most sides continued hostilities reaching new levels of violence. The African Union expressed willingness for the United Nations to replace them in peacekeeping duties in Darfur. The under-funded mission acknowledged the potential effectiveness of a fullyequipped UN force. However, there was no indication from Sudan’s government there would be permission for the entry of UN peacekeepers. The humanitarian activist and rock singer Bono visited Darfur with an NBC reporter to raise awareness among the general public about the crisis. June
One critic of United States involvement in Darfur, claims that U.S. promotion of human rights in Darfur is only intended to take attention away from Iraq, and make U.S. foreign policy appear to be more humanitarian than it actually is. On June 19, 2006, President al-Bashir insisted that he would prevent a UN peacekeeping force from entering Sudan. He stated:
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"I swear that there will not be any international military intervention in Darfur as long as I am in power. Sudan, which was the first country south of the Sahara to gain independence, cannot now be the first country to be recolonized."
Al Bashir further blamed Jewish participation for causing the possible UN military presence:
"It is clear that there is a purpose behind the heavy propaganda and media campaigns.... If we return to the last demonstrations in the United States, and the groups that organized the demonstrations, we find that they are all Jewish organizations."
On June 25, 2006, the Sudanese Foreign Ministry spokesman Jamal Ibrahim announced the imposing of a partial ban on UN operations in Darfur, after accusing the UN of violating an agreement on its mandate by giving the rebel leader Suleiman Adam Jamous a helicopter ride. On June 29, the Save Darfur Coalition's "Million Voices for Darfur" campaign formally ended with Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and Senator Hillary Clinton signing the 1,000,000th and 1,000,001st postcards, which called on President Bush to support a stronger multinational peacekeeping force in Darfur.
Deputy Secretary of State Robert B. Zoellick announced his resignation from the Bush administration. He served as the most outspoken voice against the Darfur genocide within the White House. Many anti-genocide organizations were concerned that his absence would lessen the administration’s resolve in remaining proactive against the killings in Darfur. The Japanese government announced that it would send $10 million in humanitarian aid for the victims of the genocide in Darfur. The assistance would reconstruct water supply facilities and medical supplies, among other things. July
The Sudanese government launched new attacks against rebel positions in West Darfur. The attacks were significant in that they were the first overt military operation conducted by the government since they signed the Darfur Peace Agreement. At the 2006 African Union summit held in Banjul, Gambia, it was decided that AU peacekeepers would remain in Darfur until the end of 2006 at the request of the United Nations; however, a request to allow UN peacekeepers into the area was refused by Omar Hassan al-Bashir.
Pronk, head of the United Nations mission in Sudan, claims that fighting has worsened since a peace deal was signed two months ago, stating that "It's non-implementation of the text which is creating a problem, not the text." Relations between Chad and Sudan worsened to the point where Sudanese officials insisted that all Chadian troops in the AU peacekeeping force leave immediately. S. Res. 531 was introduced in the Senate by Sens. Joseph Lieberman (D-CT), Conrad Burns (R-MT) and ten other bipartisan co-sponsors. The Lieberman-Burns Envoy Resolution urged President Bush to send a Presidential Special Envoy to Sudan to fully implement the Darfur Peace Agreement. Increased fighting has hampered humanitarian groups in Darfur. Oxfam temporarily closed two of its offices in Northern Darfur following the capture of one of their employees. The aid agency also
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cited increasing insecurity and called on the international community to strengthen the African Union force. A Reuters poll, consisting of over 100 humanitarian experts named Sudan as the world’s most dangerous spot for children. At a UN donor conference in Brussels, Assistant Secretary for African Affairs Jendayi Frazer stated that the United States would not fund the AU peacekeeping force past September 2006. This caused consternation amongst the anti-genocide movements in the United States, as the UN peacekeeping force would be deployed at the earliest in January 2007. At the same conference, eight humanitarian groups, including CARE International, Islamic Relief and Oxfam International, insisted that AU troops in Darfur were bound to fail unless funding was dramatically increased. On July 31, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan proposed a UN peacekeeping force of roughly 24,000 for Darfur. In Annan's proposal, about 5,300 international police officers would deploy initially, followed by the main UN force. August
Tomo Križnar, a Slovenian special envoy to Sudan, will stand trial there on charges of espionage. He was arrested in July for not possessing the proper entry visa. He admits to entering the country illegally, but denies charges of spying. The National Foreign Trade Council, a group representing more than 300 multinational companies, challenged Illinois' ban on Sudan-related investments. The Illinois law removed about $1 billion in pension funds from companies operating in or doing business with Sudan. The NFTC's lawsuit will claim that this law is unconstitutional based on a previous U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down a Massachusetts ban on investments in companies operating in Burma. On August 17, the Genocide Intervention Network released the first Darfur congressional scorecard rating members of the United States Congress on legislative action relating to Darfur. On 31 August, the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution calling for a UN peacekeeping force to expand from Southern Sudan into Darfur, with the permission of the government of Sudan. The resolution passed with 12 votes in favor and three abstentions, by China, Russia and Qatar. The government of Sudan immediately announced its opposition to the expansion of the peacekeeping force. October
On 13 October, President Bush signed into law the Darfur Peace and Accountability Act, previously passed by the House and Senate. The bill restated the government's opinion that genocide was being committed, directed support to the African Union peacekeeping force in Darfur, endorsed assistance for theInternational Criminal Court investigation and imposed some economic sanctions. Bush also signed a companion executive order specifying in detail these sanctions.
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In accord with mounting national and global concern over the situation in Darfur, on April 18 President Bush gave a speech at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum criticizing the Sudanese government and threatened the use of sanctions if the situation does not improve. President Bush stated that "The time for promises is over — President Bashir must act", according to Bush failure to do so would result in sanctions barring all dollar transactions between the United States and Sudan and block interaction with 29 Sudanese businesses. May
The USA imposed stiff economic sanctions against Sudan on May 30. It has added 31 additional companies to an already existing sanctions list, barring them from any dollar transactions within the United States financial system. Of those companies, 30 are controlled by the Sudanese government, and at least one is violating an embargo against shipping arms to Darfur. The US administration also targeted three individuals by blocking their overseas assets. Two of them are Sudanese government officials, Ahmad Muhammed Harun and Awad Ibn Auf (head of Sudan's military intelligence and security). The third person, Khalil Ibrahim, is the leader of the rebel Justice and Equality Movement. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice sought United Nations approval for an international resolution to impose a broad arms embargo against Sudan and to bar the Sudanese government from conducting any offensive military flights in Darfur. June
Oxfam announced on June 17 that it is permanently pulling out of Gereida, the largest camp in Darfur, where more than 130,000 have sought refuge. The agency cited inaction by local authorities from the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM), which controls the region, in addressing security concerns and violence against aid workers. An employee of the NGO Action by Churches Together was murdered in June in West Darfur. There has been a continuation of hijackings of vehicles belonging to the UN and other international organizations - something that is also making them think twice about staying in the region. July
On 28 July, Steven Spielberg said that he may no longer be involved with the 2008 Olympic Games if China does not do more to end the conflict. China responded saying that Steven Spielberg had never accepted the job to be "no longer" part of it. By then end of July, the US House of Representatives was preparing legislation that would prohibit companies with ties to the Sudanese government from receiving federal contracts.
On 31 July, United Nations Security Council Resolution 1769 was passed unanimously, creating a hybrid AU/UN peacekeeping operation in Darfur. August
On 18 August, A Small Arms Survey research paper reported that while China continued to give the Sudanese government financial and military aid, global pressure and negative media attention ahead of China hosting the 2008 Olympic Games have pushed Beijing to use its influence in the
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area "more wisely". Chinese PresidentHu Jintao warned the Sudanese President about Darfur in 2007.
On 19 August, the Israeli government said that further refugees coming to Israel illegally from Darfur via Egypt would be expelled, prompting criticism from human rights groups. Israel has accepted 2,800 African refugees in recent years, 1,160 of them Sudanese and 400 of those from Darfur. The previous evening, Israel had expelled 50 African refugees of unspecified nationality back to Egypt. As the refugees had already found refuge in Egypt, they have for the most part been motivated by economic concerns and are seeking employment in Israel, although there have been complaints of ill treatment in Egypt. Israel had requested to Egypt to monitor the border for further migrants. At times, Egyptian security forces beat and shot at migrants trying to cross the border, killing some. Many others have been arrested. Israel has decided to offer asylum to 500 Darfurians who are already in the country, and donate $5 million to aid refugees of Darfur. September
On 5 September, the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz reported that "Israel intends to grant citizenship to several hundred refugees from Darfur who are currently in the country." July
On 14 July, prosecutors at the International Criminal Court (ICC), filed ten charges of war crimes against Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir, three counts of genocide, five of crimes against humanity and two of murder. This marks the first time charges of genocide have been filed by the ICC against a sitting Head of State. The ICC's prosecutor for Darfur, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, is expected within months to ask a panel of ICC judges to issue an arrest warrant for al-Bashir. In October 2008 ICC asked the prosecutor for more information to support the charges.
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Timeline of the War in Darfur
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Timeline The starting point of the conflict in the Darfur region is typically said to be 26 February 2003, when a group calling itself the Darfur Liberation Front (DLF) publicly claimed credit for an attack on Gulu, the headquarters of Jebel Marra District. Even prior to this attack, however, a conflict had erupted in Darfur, as rebels had already attacked police stations, army outposts and military convoys, and the government had engaged in a massive air and land assault on the rebel stronghold in theMarrah Mountains. The rebels' first military action was a successful attack on an army garrison on the mountain on 25 February 2002 and the Sudanese government had been aware of a unified rebel movement since an attack on the Golo police station in June 2002. Chroniclers Julie Flint and Alex de Waal state that the beginning of the rebellion is better dated to 21 July 2001, when a group of Zaghawa and Fur met in Abu Gamra and swore oaths on the Qur'an to work together to defend against government-sponsored attacks on their villages. It should be noted that nearly all of the residents of Darfur are Muslim, including the Janjaweed, as well as the government leaders in Khartoum. On 25 March 2003, the rebels seized the garrison town of Tine along the Chadian border, seizing large quantities of supplies and arms. Despite a threat by PresidentOmar al-Bashir to "unleash" the army, the military had little in reserve. The army was already deployed both to the south, where the Second Sudanese Civil War was drawing to an end, and to the east, where rebels sponsored by Eritrea were threatening a newly constructed pipeline from the central oilfields to Port Sudan. The rebel tactic of hitand-run raids to speed across the semi-desert region proved almost impossible for the army, untrained in desert operations, to counter. However, its aerial bombardment of rebel positions on the mountain was devastating. At 5:30 am on 25 April 2003, a joint Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) and Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) force in 33 Land Cruisers entered al-Fashir and attacked the sleeping garrison. In the next four hours, four Antonov bombers and helicopter gunships (according to the government; seven according to the rebels) were destroyed on the ground, 75 soldiers, pilots and technicians were killed and 32 were captured, including the commander of the air base, a Major General. The success of the raid was unprecedented in Sudan; in the 20 years of the war in the south, the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) had never carried out such an operation. The
Janjaweed enter the conflict (2003)
Internally displaced persons' camp
The al-Fashir raid was a turning point both militarily and psychologically. The armed forces had been humiliated by the al-Fashir raid and the government was faced with a difficult strategic situation. The
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armed forces would clearly need to be retrained and redeployed to fight this new kind of war and there were well-founded concerns about the loyalty of the many Darfurian non-commissioned officers and soldiers in the army. Responsibility for prosecuting the war was given to Sudanese military intelligence. Nevertheless, in the middle months of 2003, the rebels won 34 of 38 engagements. In May, the SLA destroyed a battalion at Kutum, killing 500 and taking 300 prisoners; and in mid-July, 250 were killed in a second attack on Tine. The SLA began to infiltrate farther east, threatening to extend the war into Kordofan. However, at this point the government changed its strategy. Given that the army was being consistently defeated, the war effort depended on three elements: military intelligence, the air force, and the Janjaweed, armed Baggara herders whom the government had begun directing in suppression of a Masalit uprising in 1996-1999. The Janjaweed were put at the center of the new counterinsurgency strategy. Though the government consistently denied supporting the Janjaweed, military resources were poured into Darfur and the Janjaweed were outfitted as a paramilitary force, complete with communication equipment and some artillery. The military planners were doubtlessly aware of the probable consequences of such a strategy: similar methods undertaken in the Nuba Mountains and around the southern oil fields during the 1990s had resulted in massive human rights violations and forced displacements. The better-armed Janjaweed quickly gained the upper hand. By the spring of 2004, several thousand people — mostly from the non-Arab population — had been killed and as many as a million more had been driven from their homes, causing a major humanitarian crisis in the region. The crisis took on an international dimension when over 100,000 refugees poured into neighbouring Chad, pursued by Janjaweed militiamen, who clashed with Chadian government forces along the border. More than 70 militiamen and 10 Chadian soldiers were killed in one gun battle in April. A United Nations observer team reported that non-Arab villages were singled out while Arab villages were left untouched:
The 23 Fur villages in the Shattaya Administrative Unit have been completely depopulated, looted and burnt to the ground (the team observed several such sites driving through the area for two days). Meanwhile, dotted alongside these charred locations are unharmed, populated and functioning Arab settlements. In some locations, the distance between a destroyed Fur village and an Arab village is less than 500 meters.
In 2004, Chad brokered negotiations in N'Djamena, leading to the April 8 Humanitarian Ceasefire Agreement between the Sudanese government, the JEM, and the SLA. One group which did not participate in the April cease-fire talks or agreement — the National Movement for Reform and Development — splintered from the JEM in April. Janjaweed and rebel attacks continued despite the ceasefire, and the African Union (AU) formed a Ceasefire Commission (CFC) to monitor its observance. The scale of the crisis led to warnings of an imminent disaster, with United Nations SecretaryGeneral Kofi Annan warning that the risk of genocide was frighteningly real in Darfur. The scale of the
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Janjaweed campaign led to comparisons with the Rwandan Genocide, a parallel hotly denied by the Sudanese government. Independent observers noted that the tactics, which included dismemberment and killing of noncombatants and even young children and babies, were more akin to the ethnic cleansing used in the Yugoslav wars, but warned that the region's remoteness meant that hundreds of thousands of people were effectively cut off from aid. The Brussels-based International Crisis Group reported in May 2004 that over 350,000 people could potentially die as a result of starvation and disease. On 10 July 2005, Ex-SPLA leader John Garang was sworn in as Sudan's vice-president. However, on 30 July, Garang died in a helicopter crash. His death had long-term implications and, despite improved security, talks between the various rebels in the Darfur region went slowly. An attack on the Chadian town of Adré near the Sudanese border led to the deaths of three hundred rebels in December 2005. Sudan was blamed for the attack, which was the second in the region in three days. The escalating tensions in the region led to the government of Chad declaring its hostility toward Sudan and calling for Chadian citizens to mobilise themselves against the "common enemy". (See Chad-Sudan conflict) May
Minni Minnawi was granted a press opportunity with U.S. President George W. Bush after signing the May agreement.
On 5 May 2006, the government of Sudan signed an accord with the faction of the SLA led by Minni Minnawi. However, the agreement was rejected by two other, smaller groups, the Justice and Equality Movement and a rival faction of the SLA. The accord was orchestrated by the U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Robert B. Zoellick, Salim Ahmed Salim (working on behalf of theAfrican Union), AU representatives, and other foreign officials operating in Abuja, Nigeria. It called for the disarmament of the Janjaweed militia, and for the rebel forces to disband and be incorporated into the army. July-August
July and August 2006 saw renewed fighting, with international aid organizations considering leaving due to attacks against their personnel. Kofi Annan called for the deployment of 18,000 international peacekeepers in Darfur to replace the African Union force of 7,000 (AMIS). In one incident at Kalma, seven women, who ventured out of a refugee camp to gather firewood, were gang-raped, beaten and robbed by the Janjaweed. When they had finished, the attackers stripped them naked and jeered at them as they fled. In a private meeting on 18 August, Hédi Annabi, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, warned that Sudan appeared to be preparing for a major military offensive in Darfur. The warning came a day after UN Commission on Human Rights special investigator Sima Samar stated that Sudan's efforts in the region remained poor despite the May Agreement. On 19 August, Sudan
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reiterated its opposition to replacing the 7,000 AU force with a 17,000 UN one,
resulting in the US
issuing a "threat" to Sudan over the "potential consequences" of this position. On 24 August, Sudan rejected attending a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) meeting to explain its plan of sending 10,000 Sudanese soldiers to Darfur instead of the proposed 20,000 UN peacekeeping force. The UNSC announced it would hold the meeting despite Sudan's nonattendance. Also on August 24, theInternational Rescue Committee reported that hundreds of women were raped and sexually assaulted around the Kalma refugee camp during the last several weeks, a practice that the Janjaweed were reportedly using rape to cause women's humiliation and ostracisation. On 25 August, the head of the U.S. State Department's Bureau of African Affairs, Assistant Secretary Jendayi Frazer, warned that the region faces a security crisis unless the proposed UN peacekeeping force is allowed to deploy. On 26 August, two days before the UNSC meeting, and on the day Frazer was due to arrive in Khartoum, Paul Salopek, a U.S. National Geographic Magazinejournalist, appeared in court in Darfur facing charges of espionage; he had crossed into the country illegally from Chad, circumventing the Sudanese government's official restrictions on foreign journalists. He was later released after direct negotiation with President al-Bashir. This came a month after Tomo Križnar, a Slovenianpresidential envoy, was sentenced to two years in prison for spying. New
proposed UN peacekeeping force
See also: United Nations Security Council Resolution 1706 On 31 August 2006, the UNSC approved a resolution to send a new peacekeeping force of 17,300 to the region. Sudan expressed strong opposition to the resolution.
On 1 September, African
Union officials reported that Sudan had launched a major offensive in Darfur, killing more than 20 people and displacing over 1,000. On 5 September, Sudan asked the AU force in Darfur to leave the region by the end of the month, adding that "they have no right to transfer this assignment to the United Nations or any other party. This right rests with the government of Sudan." On 4 September, in a move not viewed as surprising, Chad's president Idriss Déby voiced support for the new UN peacekeeping force. The AU, whose peacekeeping force mandate expired on 30 September 2006, confirmed that its troops would leave the region. The next day, however, a senior US State Department official told reporters that the AU force might remain past the deadline. Implementation
failure (September 2006)
On 8 September, António Guterres, head of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, said Darfur faced a "humanitarian catastrophe". On 12 September, Sudan's European Union envoy Pekka Haavisto claimed that the Sudanese army was "bombing civilians in Darfur". A World Food Programme official reported that food aid had been cut off from at least
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355,000 people in the region. Kofi Annan told the UNSC that "the tragedy in Darfur has reached a critical moment. It merits this council's closest attention and urgent action." On 14 September, the leader of the Sudan Liberation Movement, Minni Minnawi, stated that he did not object to the UN peacekeeping force, in opposition to the Sudanese government's view that such a deployment would be an act of Western invasion. Minnawi claimed that the AU force "can do nothing because the AU mandate is very limited". Khartoum remained sternly against the UN's involvement, with Sudanese president Al-Bashir depicting it as a colonial plan and stating that "we do not want Sudan to turn into another Iraq." Deterioration
On 2 October, with the UN force plan suspended indefinitely because of Sudanese opposition, the AU announced that it would extend its presence in the region until 31 December 2006. Two hundred UN troops were sent to reinforce the AU force. On 6 October, the UNSC voted to extend the mandate of the United Nations Mission in Sudan until 30 April 2007.
On 9 October, the Food
and Agriculture Organization listed Darfur as the most pressing food emergency out of the forty countries listed on its Crop Prospects and Food Situation report. On 10 October, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, claimed that the Sudanese government had prior knowledge of attacks by Janjaweed militias in Buram, South Darfur the month before, an attack which saw hundreds of civilians killed.
Children in the camps are encouraged to confront their psychological scars. The clay figures depict an attack by Janjaweed.
On 12 October, Nigerian Foreign Minister Joy Ogwu arrived in Darfur for a two-day visit. She urged the Sudanese government to accept a UN formula. Speaking in Ethiopia, Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo spoke against "stand[ing] by and see[ing] genocide being developed in Darfur." On 13 October, US President George W. Bush imposed further sanctions against those deemed complicit in the Darfur atrocities under the Darfur Peace and Accountability Act of 2006. The measures were said to strengthen existing sanctions by prohibiting US citizens from engaging in oil-related transactions with Sudan (although US companies had been prohibited from doing any business with Sudan since 1997), freezing the assets of complicit parties and denying them entry to the US. The AU mission's lack of funding and equipment meant that aid workers' work in Darfur was severely limited by fighting. Some warned that the humanitarian situation could deteriorate to levels seen in 2003 and 2004, when UN officials called Darfur the world's worst humanitarian crisis. On 22 October, the Sudanese government told UN envoy Jan Pronk to leave the country within three days. Pronk, the senior UN official in the country, had been heavily criticized by the army after he posted a description of several recent military defeats in Darfur to his personal blog. On
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1 November, the US announced that it would formulate an international plan which it hoped the Sudanese government would find more palatable. On 9 November, senior Sudanese presidential advisor Nafie Ali Nafie told reporters that his government was prepared to start unconditional talks with the National Redemption Front (NRF) rebel alliance, but noted he saw little use for a new peace agreement. The NRF, which had rejected the May Agreement and sought a new peace agreement, did not issue a comment. In late 2006, Darfur Arabs started their own rebel group, the Popular Forces Troops, and announced on December 6 that they had repulsed an assault by the Sudanese army at Kas-Zallingi the previous day. In a statement, they called the Janjaweed mercenaries who did not represent Darfur's Arabs. They were the latest of numerous Darfur Arab groups to have announced their opposition to the government's war since 2003, some of which had signed political accords with rebel movements. The same period saw an example of a tribe-based split within the Arab forces, when relations between the farming Terjem and nomadic, camel-herding Mahria tribes became tense. Terjem leaders accused the Mahria of kidnapping a Terjem boy, and Mahria leaders said the Terjem had been stealing their animals. Ali Mahamoud Mohammed, the wali, or governor, of South Darfur, said the fighting began in December when the Mahria drove their camels south in a seasonal migration, trampling through Terjem territory near the Bulbul River. Fighting would resume in July 2007. Proposed
compromise UN force and Sudanese offensive
On 17 November, reports of a potential deal to place a "compromise peacekeeping force" in Darfur were announced, but would later appear to have been rejected by Sudan. The UN, nonetheless, claimed on 18 November that Sudan had agreed to the deployment of UN peacekeepers. Sudan's Foreign Minister Lam Akolstated that "there should be no talk about a mixed force" and that the UN's role should be restricted to technical support. Also on November 18, the AU reported that Sudanese military and Sudanese-backed militias had launched a ground and air operation in the region which resulted in about 70 civilian deaths. The AU stated that this "was a flagrant violation of security agreements". On 25 November, a spokesperson for UN High Commissioner for Human Rights accused the Sudanese government of having committed "a deliberate and unprovoked attack" against civilians in the town of Sirba on 11 November, which claimed the lives of at least 30 people. The Commissioner's statement maintained that "contrary to the government’s claim, it appears that the Sudanese Armed Forces launched a deliberate and unprovoked attack on civilians and their property in Sirba," and that this also involved "extensive and wanton destruction and looting of civilian property". January
- April 2007 cease-fire agreement and its rapid
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According to the Save Darfur Coalition, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson and President alBashir have agreed to a cease-fire whereby the Sudanese "government and rebel groups will cease hostilities for a period of 60 days while they work towards a lasting peace." In addition, the Save Darfur press release stated that the agreement "included a number of concessions to improve humanitarian aid and media access to Darfur." Despite the formality of a ceasefire there have been further media reports of killings and other violence.On Sunday 15 April 2007, African Union peacekeepers were targeted and killed. The New York Timesreported that "a confidential United Nations report says the government of Sudan is flying arms and heavy military equipment into Darfur in violation of Security Council resolutions and painting Sudanese military planes white to disguise them as United Nations or African Union aircraft." The violence has spread over the border to Chad. On 31 March 2007 Janjaweed militiamen killed up to 400 people in the volatile eastern border region of Chad near Sudan. The attack took place in the border villages of Tiero and Marena. The villages were encircled and then fired upon. Fleeing villagers were later subsequently chased. The women were robbed and the men shot according to the UNHCR. There were many who, despite surviving the initial attack, ended up dying due to exhaustion and dehydration, often while fleeing. On 14 April 2007, more attacks within Chad were reported by the UNHCR to have occurred again in the border villages of Tiero and Marena. On April 18thPresident Bush gave a speech at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum criticizing the Sudanese government and threatened the use of sanctions if the situation does not improve. Sanctions would involve restriction of trade and dollar transactions with the Sudanese government and 29 Sudanese businesses. International
Criminal Court charges
Sudan's humanitarian affairs minister, Ahmed Haroun, and a Janjaweed militia leader, known as Ali Kushayb, have been charged by the International Criminal Courtwith 51 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Ahmed Haroun said he "did not feel guilty," his conscience was clear, and that he was ready to defend himself. May
Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir and Chad president Idriss Deby signed a peace agreement on 3 May 2007 aimed at reducing tension between their countries. The accord was brokered by Saudi Arabia. It sought to guarantee that each country would not be used to harbor, train or fund armed movements opposed to the government of the other. The Reuters News Service reported that "Deby's fears that Nouri's UFDD may have been receiving Saudi as well as Sudanese support could have pushed him to sign the Saudi-mediated pact with Bashir on Thursday". Colin Thomas-Jensen, an expert on Chad and Darfur who works International Crisis Group think-tank has grave doubts as to whether "this new deal will lead to any genuine thaw in relations or improvement in the security situation". Additionally The Chadian rebel Union of Forces for Democracy and Development (UFDD) which has fought a hit-and-run war against Chad President Deby's forces in east Chad since 2006 stated that the Saudi-backed peace deal would
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not stop its military campaign. Thus the agreement may end up hurting the Sudanese rebels the most, leaving the Sudanese government with a freer hand. Also in May, locations related to the conflict were added in Google Earth. Russian
and Chinese undermining of sanctions
Amnesty International issued a report accusing Russia and the People's Republic of China of supplying arms, ammunition and related equipment to Sudan. This hardware has been transferred to Darfur for use by the government and the Janjaweed militias and thus violating a UN arms embargo against Sudan. In its report it showed a photo of Chinese-made Fantan fighters that have been seen at Nyala, Darfur and a Ukrainian Antonov-26 aircraft (painted white). The report provided evidence (including eyewitness testimony) that the Sudan Air Force has been conducting a pattern of indiscriminate aerial bombings of villages in Darfur and eastern Chad using ground attack jet fighters and Antonov planes. The report contained an image of a Russian made Mi24 attack helicopter (reg. n° 928) at Nyala airport in Darfur in March 2007. For several years the Sudan Air Force has used this type of attack helicopter for operations during Janjaweed attacks on villages in Darfur. The report also showed evidence that the government has been camouflaging military aircraft and helicopters by painting them white and in doing so, tried to cover up their military use by claiming that they were civilian in nature. The white Antonov-26 aircraft was reported to have been used in Darfur in bombing missions. Recently it has been confirmed by Airforces Monthly Magazine for June 2007, that China and Iran have financed and delivered "newer" aircraft for Sudan. The most recent additions have been 15-20 A-5 Fantan ground attack aircraft. Also confirmed by Airforces Monthly is the use of Mil Mi-24 Hind gunships and Mil Mi171 Assault Helicopters. They have been photographed painted in UN markings and white color for disguised use in illegal attack missions into the Darfur Region. The base in which they have been seen is at Nyala Airport in the Darfur Region. 8 Hinds have been confirmed operating in the Darfur region. One An-26 transport has been also confirmed delivered from a Russian civil aviation corporation. This aircraft is modified with bomb racks, and painted in U.N. white for illegal bombing missions into Darfur. The aircraft serial 7705 is used, but actually confirmed as 26563. Training for Sudanese crew has recently been confirmed to have been conducted and ongoing at DezfulArdestani Air Base in southern Iran. China and Russia denied they had broken UN sanctions. China has a close relationship with Sudan and increased its military co-operation with the government in early 2007. Because of Sudan's plentiful supply of oil, China considers good relations with Sudan to be a strategic necessity that is needed to fuel its booming economy. It must be noted that India also has oil interests in the country.
China also has direct commercial interests in Sudan's
oil. China’s state-owned company CNPC controls between 60 and 70 percent of Sudan’s total oil production. Additionally, it owns the largest single share (40 percent) of Sudan’s national oil company, Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company. China has also consistently opposed economic and non-military sanctions on Sudan. Recently, however, a Small Arms Survey research paper suggested that China may be changing its stance on Darfur due to international pressure. June
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Oxfam announced on June 17 that it is permanently pulling out of Gereida, the largest camp in Darfur, where more than 130,000 have sought refuge. The agency cited inaction by local authorities from the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM), which controls the region, in addressing security concerns and violence against aid workers. An employee of the NGO Action by Churches Together was murdered in June in West Darfur. There have been ongoing hijackings of vehicles belonging to the UN and other international organizations—something that is also making them think twice about staying in the region. July
BBC News reported that a huge underground lake has been found in the Darfur region. It is suggested that this find could help end the war as it could eliminate the existing competition for precious water resources. France and Britain announced they would push for a UN resolution to dispatch African Union and United Nations peacekeepers to Darfur and would push for an immediate cease-fire in Darfur and are prepared to provide "substantial" economic aid "as soon as a cease-fire makes it possible." A 14 July 2007 article notes that in the past two months up to 75,000 Arabs from Chad and Niger crossed the border into Darfur. Most have been relocated by Sudanese government to former villages of displaced non-Arab people. The hybrid UN/AU force was finally approved on 31 July 2007 with the unanimously approved United Nations Security Council Resolution 1769. UNAMID will take over from AMIS by 31 December 2007 at the latest, and has an initial mandate up to 31 July 2008. On 31 July, the ongoing conflict between the Terjem and the Mahria tribes (former partners in the Janjaweed) heated up, with Mahria gunmen surrounding mourners at the funeral of an important Terjem sheik and killing 60 with rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) and belt-fed machine guns. August
From 3 August 2007 until 5 August 2007, a conference was held in Arusha, Tanzania, to unite the different existing rebel groups to make the subsequent peace negotiations with the government of Sudan more streamlined. Most senior rebel leaders attended, with the notable exception of Abdul Wahid al Nur, who — while not in command of large forces, but a rather small splinter group of the SLA/M he initially founded in 2003 — is considered to be the representatives of a large part of the displaced Fur people, and there have been concerns that his absence would be damaging to the peace talks. International officials have stated that the difficulty lies in the fact that there is "no John Garang in Darfur", referring to the leader of the negotiating team of South Sudan, who was universally accepted by all the various South Sudanese splinter groups. The leaders who arrived on Friday were Gamali Galaleiddine, Khalil Abdalla Adam, Salah Abu Surra, Khamis Abdallah Abakar, Ahmed Abdelshafi, Abdalla Yahya,Khalil Ibrahim (of the Justice and Equality Movement) and Ahmed Ibrahim Ali Diraige. The schedule for Saturday consists of closeddoor meetings between the AU-UN and rebel leaders, as well as between rebel leaders alone. In addition to those eight, eight more arrived there late on 4 August (including Jar el-Neby, Salah Adam Isaac and Suleiman Marajan), whereas the SLM Unity faction also boycotted the talks as
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the Sudanese government had threatened to arrest Suleiman Jamous if he left the hospital. The rebel leaders aimed to unify their positions and demands, which included compensation for the victims and autonomy for Darfur. They eventually reached agreement on joined demands, including power and wealth sharing, security, land and humanitarian issues. In the several months up through August, Arab tribes that had worked together in the Janjaweed militia began falling out among themselves, and even further splintered into factions. Terjem fought Mahria as thousands of gunmen from each side traveled hundreds of miles to fight in the strategic Bulbul river valley. Farther south, Habanniya and Salamat tribes clashed. The fighting did not result in as much killing as in 2003 and 2004, the height of the violence. United Nations officials said the groups might be trying to seize land before U.N. and African Union peacekeepers arrived. September
On 6 September 2007, the next round of peace talks was set to begin on 27 October 2007. On 18 September 2007, JEM stated that if the peace talks withKhartoum should fail, they would step up their demands from self-determination to independence for the Darfur region. On 30 September 2007, the rebels overran an AMIS base, killing at least 12 peacekeepers in "the heaviest loss of life and biggest attack on the African Mission" during a raid at the end of Ramadan season. October
Peace talks started on 27 October 2007 in Sirte, Libya. The following groups attended the talks: Justice and Equality Movement splinters: Justice and Equality Movement–Collective Leadership, led by Bahar Idriss Abu Garda Justice and Equality Movement–Azraq, led by Idriss Ibrahim Azraq National Movement for Reform and Development, led by Khalil Abdullah
Revolutionary Democratic Forces Front, led by Salah Abu Surrah United Revolutionary Force Front, led by Alhadi Agabeldour Sudan Liberation Movement–G19, led by Khamees Abdullah Sudan Federal Democratic Alliance, led by Ahmed Ibrahim Diraige
The following groups didn't attend:
Justice and Equality Movement, led by Khalil Ibrahim; they object to the presence of rebel groups they say had no constituency and no place at the table.
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Sudan Liberation Movement (Abdel Wahed), led by Abdel Wahed Mohamed el-Nur; the group has few forces, but its leader is highly respected; refused to attend until a force was deployed to stem the Darfur violence. Sudan Liberation Movement–Unity, originally led by Abdallah Yehya, includes many other prominent figures (Sherif Harir, Abu Bakr Kadu, Ahmed Kubur); the group with the largest number of rebel fighters; object for the same reason as JEM.
Ahmed Abdel Shafi, a notable rebel enjoying strong support from the Fur tribe.
Faced with a boycott from the most important rebel factions, the talks were rebranded as an "advanced consultation phase", with actual talks likely to start in November or December. November
On 2007-11-15, nine rebel groups — six SLM factions, the Democratic Popular Front, the Sudanese Revolutionary Front and the Justice and Equality Movement–Field Revolutionary Command — signed a Charter of Unification and agreed to operate under the name of SLM/A henceforth. On 2007-11-30 it was announced that Darfur's rebel movements had united into two large groups and were now ready to negotiate in an orderly structure with the government. February
A fresh Sudanese offensive by government soldiers and Arab militiamen against Darfur rebels has trapped thousands of refugees along the Chadian border, the rebels and humanitarian workers said 20 February 2008. As of February 21, the total dead in Darfur stands at 450,000 and displaced totals somewhere around 3,245,000 May
Main article: 2008 invasion of Khartoum and Omdurman On May 10, 2008 Sudanese government soldiers and Darfur rebels clashed in the city of Omdurman, opposite the capital of Khartoum, over the control of a military headquarters. A Sudanese police spokesperson said that the leader of the assailants was Mohamed Saleh Garbo and his intelligence chief Mohamed Nur Al-Deen were killed in the clash. Witnesses said that heavy gunfire could be heard in the west of Sudan's capital and helicopters and army vehicles rushed through the streets towards Omdurman. After seizing the strategic military airbase at Wadi-Sayedna, the Sudanese soldiers eventually defeated the rebels, and by late afternoon Sudanese TV told that the rebels had been "completely repulsed", while showing live pictures of burnt vehicles and bodies on the street. The government imposed a curfew in Khartoum from 5 p.m. to 6 a.m., and aid agencies told their workers living in the capital to stay indoors. Some 93 soldiers and 13 policemen were killed along with 30 civilians in the attack on Khartoum and Omdurman. The military confirmed that they recovered the bodies of 90 rebels but said that the rebel death toll could have been as high as 400. The rebels denied this.
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1. The Current Situation
The Darfur conflict has changed radically in the past year and a half. While there are fewer deaths than during the high period of fighting in 2003-2004, the conflict has mutated, the parties have splintered, and the confrontations have multiplied. Violence again increased in 2008 while access for humanitarian agencies became more difficult. International peacekeeping is not yet effective and a political settlement remains far off. Attacks by both government and rebel forces continued throughout the year, including major aerial bombardments and ground attacks launched by the government in West Darfur in February 2008. In turn, an assault on Khartoum by Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) rebels in mid-May 2008 left at least 200 dead and was a milestone in the Darfur conflict, constituting the first military strike on the capital since 30 years. An attack by government troops on an IDP camp in Kalma, southern Darfur in August 2008 killed more than 30 IDPs and drew widespread international condemnation. Meanwhile the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) in Khartoum continued to deny the gravity of the situation and pursue destructive policies in Darfur. At the same time it has continued to resist key provisions in the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that ended the North-South war, thus triggering a crisis in that process, with heavy fighting between government and southern troops paralysing oil-rich Abyei in June 2008. The 14 July request by the ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo for an arrest warrant against President Bashir for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in Darfur precipitated a redoubling of international pressure on Khartoum to find a peaceful resolution to the crisis, including efforts initiated by the Arab League in late 2008 to bring the the government and different rebel groups together for peace talks in Qatar. In spite of rhetoric from Khartoum emphasizing that it is serious about peace talks, including a November 2008 “Sudan People’s Initiative”, government and rebel attacks have continued. The NCP wants Darfur in chaos to limit the room for an opposition to emerge, while resettling key allies on cleared land and defying Security Council resolutions by integrating its Janjaweed irregulars into official security structures instead of disarming them. Rebel signatories of the May 2006 Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA), particularly the Sudan Liberation Army faction of Minni Minawi (SLA/MM), have been responsible for attacks on civilians, humanitarians, the AU mission (AMIS) and some of the violence in the internally displaced person (IDP) camps. Their leaders have been given government jobs and land and, as ardent supporters of the status quo and without a clearly defined role in the new negotiations, are potential spoilers. Rebel movements that did not sign the DPA have further splintered. As they divide along tribal lines, their messages become more fragmented and less representative of constituencies they claim to speak for. The IDP camps are increasingly violent, with residents manipulated by all sides while Khartoum also tries to force them to return to unsafe areas. Inter-Arab dissension has added new volatility to the situation on the ground. Some tribes are trying to solidify land claims as the UN/AU hybrid peacekeeping operation in Darfur (UNAMID) establishes itself. This has led to fighting with other Arab tribes, which have realized the NCP is not a reliable guarantor of their long-term interests and have started to take protection into their own hands. There is now a high risk of an Arab insurgency, as well as potential for alliances with the predominantly non-Arab rebel groups. A spillover of the conflict into Kordofan has also started. The May 2006 Darfur Peace Agreement was a failure, too limited in scope and signatories. Those who signed – the government and a few rebel factions – hurt the peace process. After a highly publicised opening ceremony in Sirte, Libya, on 27 October 2007, new peace talks were put on hold. A new joint AU/UN mediator, former Foreign Minister of Burkina Faso Djibrill Bassolé, was appointed in June 2008, and the Arab League in September 2008 initiated a new effort to resolve the crisis with peace talks in Qatar. The new realities emphasise the necessity of broadening participation in the peace talks to associate the full range of actors and constituencies involved in the conflict, including its primary victims, such as women, but also Arab tribes. Incorporating broader and more representative voices can help remedy the uneven weight the process now gives the NCP and rebel factions. Core issues that drive the conflict, among them land tenure and use, including grazing rights, and the role and reform of local government and administrative structures, were not addressed in the DPA but left to the DarfurDarfur Dialogue and Consultation process that was supposed to follow the negotiations. They need to be on the agenda of any new negotiations if an eventual agreement is to gain the wide support the DPA has lacked. UNAMID began deploying on 31 December 2007. The mission has faced difficulties in its first months, including staff shortages, and seven peacekeepers were killed in an attack on 9 July 2008. It continues to face troop and equipment shortages, and a number of its peacekeepers were killed in attacks during 2008 UNAMID must build upon lessons learned from its predecessor AMIS, including being more pro-active in protecting civilians and responding to ceasefire violations. Its leadership should also engage actively in the peace talks so as to ensure coherence between what is agreed and its capabilities. The international community must give it more support than it did AMIS, including strong responses, with
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sanctions as necessary, to further non-compliance by any party, as well as to actions that obstruct the peace process or violate international humanitarian law. For a brief history of the conflicts in Sudan, please click here. For Crisis Group’s 4 March 2009 extended statement on the ICC indictment of Bashir for crimes against humanity and war crimes, The ICC Indictment of Bashir: A Turning Point for Sudan?, please click here. For Crisis Group's 14 July 2008 statement on the ICC Prosecutor's application for an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar Bashir for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in Darfur, Opportunities and Risks for Peace in Sudan, please click here. For Crisis Group’s most recent report on the Darfur conflict in full – Darfur's New Security Reality, Africa Report N°134, 26 November 2007 – please click here. Top
2. What should be done
General recommendations A number of the core issues that drive the conflict, such as land tenure, grazing rights and use, and local government's role, were not resolved in the DPA but need to be part of new talks, with broader participation. UNAMID must be more pro-active in protecting civilians and responding to ceasefire violations. The international community must provide UNAMID with full support, including tougher political responses to further non-compliance by any party. The UN Security Council must: • • apply punitive measures to any party obstructing the negotiations, UNAMID activities or the work of the International Criminal Court (ICC), or violating the arms embargo or international humanitarian law. provide, together with states party to the Rome Statute of the ICC and others, full and effective support to the Court to continue work in Darfur and increase pressure on Sudan to cooperate with the Court and turn over the individuals for whom arrest warrants have been issued thus far.
On the role of the ICC The International Criminal Court (ICC) issued arrest warrants on 27 April 2007 against a government minister, Ahmed Harun, and a Janjaweed commander, Ali Kushayb for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Darfur. Since then, the regime has refused to hand them over for prosecution. On 14 July 2008, the ICC Prosecutor made an application for a warrant of arrest for Sudanese President Omar Bashir for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. The ICC judges must now weigh the Prosecutor's evidence and decide whether to issue the warrant. When the UN Security Council referred the Darfur case to the ICC in 2005, it recognised that lasting peace requires justice. The international community must maintain a consistent approach and include justice in any comprehensive solution in Darfur. The increased pressure that this application generates may lead the Sudanese regime to take long overdue steps to cease violence and implement genuine and credible measures to resolve the Darfur crisis. Yet the Prosecutor's legal strategy also poses major risks for the fragile peace and security environment in Sudan, with a real chance of greatly increasing the suffering of very large numbers of its people.