Sudan: OHCHR – Press briefing notes on Sudan – Darfur, 22 January 2021 (22.01.2021)

Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: Ravina Shamdasani\ Location: Geneva\ Date: 22 January 2021

We have received deeply disturbing information about two deadly incidents of inter-communal violence in Darfur over the past week, and we fear that the lack of security and chronic impunity in the region leaves it vulnerable to further serious violence.

Between Saturday and Sunday, 16-17 January, 160 people were reportedly killed and 215 injured in clashes between armed men of the Masalit and Arab communities around Krinding camp for internally displaced people in West Darfur. Following the murder of an Arab tribal leader, allegedly by a Masalit man, armed men from the Arab community opened fire at the mostly Masalit IDPs in the camp and set many shelters on fire. In spite of measures by the Governor of West Darfur to bring the situation under control on Saturday, violent clashes erupted between armed men from both communities on Sunday in the region, which also resulted in mass displacement. A nearby village was also set on fire.

In a separate incident, on Monday 18 January, 72 people were reportedly killed and 73 others were injured in South Darfur’s Gereida locality following clashes between armed men from the Falata tribe and the Reizigat tribe. The incident was triggered by the killing of a 10-year-old boy from the Reizigat tribe on 17 January after his search for his camels caused him to cross into land claimed by the Falata tribe. The following day, Rezigat armed men launched an attack on a Falata village. Both sides exchanged fire, causing deaths, injuries and displacement. We understand that the state security committee has been attempting to contain the situation in South Darfur through the deployment of security forces to the area.

These incidents raise serious concerns about the imminent risk of further violence in Darfur, in an environment where decades-old ethnic and tribal tensions that were further stoked by the previous regime continue to fester. There are severe gaps in protection by State authorities, as well as a lack of accountability for violations. Local health facilities have reported being unable to cope with the high number of casualties.

We call on the Government of Sudan to promptly ensure the full implementation of its National Plan for the protection of civilians, and to restore public order and the rule of law in Darfur. We urge the authorities to prioritize carrying out thorough and effective investigations with a view to promptly ensuring that individual perpetrators are brought to justice — to break the cycle of armed citizens taking the law into their own hands to avenge attacks on members of their communities. Victims and their families have the right to redress.

We urge the judicial authorities to take immediate action on the findings of a previous report into intercommunal violence that occurred between 29-31 December 2019 in El Geneina, West Darfur, as a crucial step in the fight against impunity.

We stand ready to continue engaging constructively with the Government, including through our presence in Sudan, on the many human rights challenges the country continues to face.

Sudan: Ten children killed and seven injured in recent wave of violence in West Darfur, Sudan (22.01.2021)

Statement by Abdullah Fadil, UNICEF Representative in Sudan

KHARTOUM, 22 January 2021 – “It is one week since the violence in El-Geneina began and one year since the last flare-up of similar senseless violence that killed over 80 people, including children, and displaced many thousands more.

“Over 150 people have now lost their lives, including 10 children, the youngest under five years old.

“Too many lives lost. Too many young futures cut short.

“UNICEF appeals to the tribal leaders in the area, to the young people and to tribes in west Darfur to stop fighting.

Despite the many challenges the Government of Sudan faces, we appeal to the authorities prioritize the protection of civilians and strengthening the application of rule of law. We must finally address the long-term root causes of conflict, and lay the foundations for lasting peace.

“I served in El-Geneina between 2009 and 2010. It pains me that 10 years on, the level of violence in the streets of this beautiful city is only escalating.”

Sudan: Statement by the Humanitarian Coordinator a.i. for Sudan, Babacar Cissé, on 20/01/2021 about the recent killing of three aid workers (20.01.2021)

Sudan: Flash Update #2 – Conflict, Ag Geneina, West Darfur, 20 Jan 2021 (20.01.2021)

Sudan: UN chief calls for protection of civilians as violence spikes in Sudan’s West Darfur (18.01.2021)

The United Nations Secretary-General has voiced deep concerns over escalating violence in West Darfur and called Sudanese authorities to “expend all efforts” to end the fighting and protect civilians.

According to media reports, at least 83 people, including women and children, have been killed and more than 160 wounded in inter-communal clashes this weekend. Several houses are also said to have been destroyed and about 50,000 people displaced.

In a statement issued by his spokesperson on Sunday, Secretary-General António Guterres called on the Sudanese authorities to “expend all efforts to de-escalate the situation”.

He also called on them to “bring an end to the fighting, restore law and order and ensure the protection of civilians, in accordance with the Government’s National Plan for Civilian Protection.”

Mr. Guterres also expressed his condolences to the bereaved families and wished a speedy recovery to the injured.

The violence occurred about two weeks after the African Union-United Nations hybrid peacekeeping mission in the region (UNAMID) ended its operations at the end of 2020. UNAMID is currently drawing down and the process is expected to complete by the end of June 2021.

Millions in need of assistance

The vast Darfur region, roughly the size of Spain, has been plagued by conflict and inter-communal tensions for years. Millions have been displaced by the violence, including many who fled into neighbouring Chad.

According to the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), almost 5 million people there received humanitarian assistance between January and September 2020. Darfur is also one of the poorest regions in Sudan, with poverty rates as high as 67 per cent in Central Darfur. Several health facilities have also been closed due to lack of funds and staff.

Sudan: UNAMID Ends its Mandate on 31 December 2020 (30.12.2020)

Khartoum, 30 December 2020— On 22 December 2020, The UN Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2559 which ends UNAMID’s mandate on 31 December 2020. This was the culmination of a sustained process of consideration of the situation in Sudan and Darfur, including developments related to the peace process and the establishment and progress made by the transitional Government of Sudan in its quest to address the conflict in Darfur.

This latest decision of the Security Council means that Thursday 31 December will mark the end of UNAMID’s mandated operations in Darfur. The last patrols, programmatic and other mandated tasks will take place on the same day.

As of 1 January 2021, UNAMID’s troops and police personnel will focus on providing security for the Mission’s drawdown activities, personnel and assets. UNAMID will have a period of six months to undertake the drawdown, which will be conducted in a phased manner. This will involve repatriating troops, their vehicles and other equipment, separation of international and national staff as well as a sequential closure of Mission’s team sites and offices and handing them over to designated entities in line with United Nations rules.

This process should result in the withdrawal of all uniformed and civilian personnel from Sudan by 30 June 2021, except for a liquidation team that will finalise any residual issues and complete the administrative closure of UNAMID.

With UNAMID ceasing all its mandate-related activities which have been centred on supporting the peace process, protection of civilians, including facilitation of delivery of humanitarian assistance and supporting the mediation of intercommunal conflicts, the Government of Sudan will fully assume its primary role for addressing all the issues in these areas. The end of UNAMID’s mandate and its departure from Sudan does not mean the end of the international community’s support to Sudan. Indeed, UNITAMS and the United Nations Country Team will continue to support the Government of Sudan in addressing its multiple challenges related to security, political and economic challenges.

Sudan: TMC’s 3rd June 2019 Massacre proven with the finding of a mass grave in Khartoum

Rapid Support Forces soldier records the massacre. He says: “kill them all. They took away my holiday” The woman at the end is asked “military or civilian (governmentt)?” Under durress, she says “military,” The soldier responds “If you said civilian, I will show you.”” (Sudan In The News, 03.06.2019).

Today the The Commission of Inquiry into the Disappearance of Missing Person found a mass grave dating to the 3rd Jne 2019 massacre, which was ordered and done by the Transitional Military Council (TMC). The TMC ordered this or the Sudan Uprising and the Sudanese Revolution, which toppled Al-Bashir months before.

The ones responsible of this massacre and mass grave is in-charge today in the Sovereign Council. This being General Al-Burhan and General Hemiti. These two should be implicated into the murders and the hiding of the missing people from July 2019. It isn’t decades back and you cannot find the paperwork or paper-trail to find the ones ordering it and burying it.

The past of the TMC is now hunting it. They maybe hope this will blow over and not cost them. As the Sudanese have secured more recognition abroad and diplomatic victories. Therefore, today’s news show’s what the leaders within the Sovereign Council is capable of. This is the men who was loyal and army commanders within the regime of Al-Bashir. Not some random leaders becoming technocrats in a Transitional Government.

Here is one timeline. Explaining the gist of what happened. Clearly, there are numbers missing of deceased. As the findings of a mass grave says a lot!

Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust (HART) timeline:

June 3rd

Protest leaders say security forces attack their Khartoum sit-in at the centre of the movement, opening fire, torching tents and killing more than 100 people and injuring over 300. The assault on June 3 marked the worst violence in Sudan since the April 11 overthrow of long-time leader Omar al-Bashir. The security forces’ bloody dispersal of the weeks-long sit-in outside the military headquarters in Khartoum drew sharp condemnation from the United Nations, the African Union (AU) and others.

June 3rd-July 9th

Severe restriction to the internet throughout Sudan from June 3 to July 9 on orders of the ruling Transitional Military Council.

June 4th

40 bodies pulled from the Nile’ after deadly violence. The Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors (CCSD) said 40 bodies were retrieved from the Nile River” (HART – ‘Sudan Briefing: May – July 2019 Timeline of Events’ 15.07.2019).

On the 3rd June 2019 I wrote this:

The TMC will be remembered for this, these acts of evil. They got blood on their hands and it will haunt them, just like the rest of them. At one point it will get caught up and destroy them. The TMC is only protecting itself, not the people. The army is supposed to protect the territory and the citizens of it, not colonize and destroy it to rule, but that is what it does” (Minbane – ‘Sudan: The TMC colonized Khartoum today!’ 03.06.2019).

The haunting of the TMC happened today as it revealed to what extent. A Mass Grave entails a lot of bodies dumped on place, buried in haste to hide the “evidence” and hope it decompose before anyone finds the skeletons of the dead bodies. However, the Commission of Inquiryi nto the Disappearance of Missing Person found the ones unreported and missing from that fatal day.

The actions of the TMC is now evident. They made a Mass Grave out of the massacre. Not only the dead dropped into the river Nile. The Rapid Support Force (RSF) or the Janjaweed should be held accountable and responsible. Also, the other military agencies that did this. The lives taken is on their watch and their orders. The TMC members of the Sovereign Council should answer for this.

They have already tried to hide it and shown their true acts of deviousness. Hopefully the families who lost people can get some relief and see the remains of their loved ones. However, their deaths should be answered. The sins of the leaders ordering this needs to be held to account. These people deserves justice and deserves to honoured. Not just being a token of how the TMC got away from the law and got legitimized months later. Peace.

Sudan: The Sovereign Council accepted to pay U.S. Ransom [to get off the U.S. State Sponsors of Terrorist List]

The Sovereign Council have paid the $335m USD in ransom to be removed from the U.S. State Sponsor of Terrorism List. The Sudanese Government have accepted the agreement with United States, after U.S. President Donald J. Trump would delete Sudan from the list, if they paid up the 335 million dollars into an escrow account.

Prime Minister Abdalla Hamadok and President Abdel-Fatah al-Burhan have accepted this deal. Being pushed to pay a huge amount of money to “clean their name”. That is why this was practically a ransom. They were bushwhacked by the Americans.

To be able to “clean their name” and get away from the history during the Al-Bashir reign. The usage of militias, weapons-trade and create insecurity in regions of Sudan and elsewhere. This is just deleted over a transaction of money. The state sponsored militias who was killing for years. The ones causing a civil war, which led to the cession of South Sudan. All of this is just erased over a payment of some cash.

This payment is coming from an economy and state, which needs funds to cover the troubles of COVID-19, floods and whatnot. There has already been aftermath of the revolution, which let to the fall of Al-Bashir. The one who was in-charge when the bombing happen to the U.S. Embassy in 1998.

In my mind, this isn’t a fair diplomatic exchange between to grieving parties. No, this is one imperial move in 2020. How else can you describe this?

You will stay on a “Sponsoring Terrorist List” unless you pay us damages! That is the message here and the Sudanese complied as the “minor” partner in this. A way to clear themselves and get more acknowledge in the International Community.

Instead of fixing internal issues with militias and regional proxies. The Sudanese are paying some money and the sins are forgiven. To a state, which had a revolution and had a crisis of inflation. An inflation that made it impossible for many to buy bread. Therefore, asking from money here is ice-cold and insane.

That is why this is a ransom. The US isn’t changing things on the ground. Yes, Khartoum have moved in a positive step in Darfur and Blue Nile. However, the stalemate in Abyei continues and without a new peaceful means.

The US have cleared the Sudanese without having any significant changes other than with positive headlines. The Sudan has paid some money, but they are needing to change their behaviour. The ones in charge in the Sovereign Council can act like status quo. They are being cleaned up and all it took was paying some money. That is the mere reality here.

Not making policy changes. Not stopping militias or communal conflicts. No, the Sudanese can do whatever they feel, as long as they pay the fees put on them. This is how it looks. The Sudanese is accepting being taken hostage for circumstances before their reign. Some were in the hierarchy of Al-Bashir. Still, they are the ones paying up now for the sins of the past. Instead, of fixing the reasons for why happen in the first place.

That is what is striking here. The US should look into the reasons for why it happened, instead they are accepting a blank check and all grins. That is how morally bankrupt this administration is. Peace.

Sudan: Statement of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, at a media briefing in Khartoum, Sudan: “There is an urgent need for justice in Sudan; sustainable peace and reconciliation are built on the stabilizing pillar of justice” (21.10.2020)

The victims in Darfur have waited far too long to have justice.

THE HAGUE, Netherlands, October 21, 2020 – Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for being here today at this media briefing. I am grateful for this opportunity to reach out, through you, to the people of Sudan.

My name is Fatou Bensouda, and I am Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (“ICC” or the “Court”) (www.ICC-CPI.int).

The victims in Darfur have waited far too long to have justice. Through this historic visit, we hope to mark a new era of cooperation between my Office and Sudan towards greater accountability for atrocity crimes. The ICC was established as an independent and impartial international court to deal with atrocity crimes, namely: war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide and the crime of aggression.

My role as Prosecutor is to bring to justice those responsible for atrocity crimes, and by doing so, to seek accountability and hope to prevent future crimes.

The ICC is at the heart of what we call the Rome Statute system of international criminal justice. The ICC is a court of last resort. This means that national justice systems have the primary responsibility to investigate and prosecute individuals who commit such crimes. If this does not happen, then the ICC is there as a fail-safe judicial mechanism.

In this way, my Office conducts investigations and prosecutions into atrocity crimes around the world. Politics do not influence any of my independent and impartial decisions. All my actions are based on the law – the Rome Statute of the ICC – and the objective evidence collected by my investigators. I will go wherever the law provides me with the power to go and follow the evidence wherever it leads me in the pursuit of justice for the victims. Thus, the goal of the ICC is to contribute to ending impunity – in other words, to make sure that no one, irrespective of status or rank, can avoid accountability for atrocity crimes, no matter how long it may take.

This is how international justice can contribute to protecting future generations from the scourge of lawless wars and conflict, and prevent human suffering.

My Office has been investigating the Situation in Darfur, Sudan since 2005, when the United Nations Security Council through Resolution 1593 (2005), triggered our jurisdiction by referring the situation to the Prosecutor of the ICC.

Much has happened since then. As we continue our investigations today, it is important for our work at the ICC, and especially the affected communities of Darfur, that the Sudanese authorities extend their full, sustained and tangible cooperation to my Office.

In Khartoum this week, I have engaged in productive meetings with the highest officials of the Government of Sudan and other important stakeholders. My programme included notably, meetings with H.E. Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok (https://bit.ly/3jdn1vT); H.E. Mr Omer Gamaruddeen Ismail, Minister of Foreign Affairs (https://bit.ly/3jfQohd); H.E. Mr Nasredeen Abdelbari, Minister of Justice; and Prosecutor General of Sudan, Mr Tag el-Sir el-Hibir (https://bit.ly/2TcStzR), and representatives of the Sovereignty Council of Sudan, Lt. General Abdel Fattah Abdelrahman al-Burhan (https://bit.ly/3mccF19) and General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo as well as and Mr Mohamed Hassan Altaishi (https://bit.ly/31uzOnT).

I also held fruitful discussions with representatives of civil society organisations, international bodies, and diplomatic corps in Khartoum (https://bit.ly/31uxqgG). Through you, the media, I am pleased to also address the public and affected communities.

These meetings have enabled me and my team to explain ICC proceedings, and the status of our cases in connection with the Situation in Darfur, Sudan and to chart a course for effective cooperation to bring the suspects against whom ICC warrants have already been issued to justice.

My meetings with the authorities have laid the foundation for cooperation between the ICC and the Sudanese national authorities.

This first historic visit to Khartoum after more than a decade provided an opportunity for Sudan’s Transitional Government to demonstrate its commitment to justice, accountability and the rule of law.

I am encouraged by the frank, open and constructive exchanges we have had. I particularly welcome the assurances of support and cooperation expressed to me by the authorities during this visit, including from H.E. Prime Minister Hamdok, committing Sudan to achieve justice for atrocity crimes, and to fully collaborate with my Office for this purpose (https://bit.ly/37re7sz).

We must now follow through and build on the promising discussions of this past week with concrete action. A Memorandum of Understanding on the modalities of cooperation, technical visits, and immediate access to Sudan by our investigators, amongst other action points were discussed, and we look forward to making timely progress on all of these items.

We count on Sudan’s tangible and timely cooperation as well as continued constructive engagement with my Office.

We stand ready to assist Sudan towards the goal of achieving accountability for atrocity crimes committed in Darfur.

I want to seize this opportunity to assure the people of Darfur that my Office continues to work hard on the Darfur situation. I solemnly call upon all affected Darfuri communities and those who have dedicated themselves to the cause of these communities, to come forward and contact my Office with the accounts of their sufferings, with the stories of what they have witnessed and what they have endured. With their evidence, we can contribute to bringing the long awaited justice to the victims in Darfur. My Office, together with colleagues in the Registry of the Court will soon embark on outreach activities to further explain the work of the ICC and its processes.

I wish to also add that I welcome the Juba Peace Agreement, officially signed on the 3rd of October 2020 between the Sovereignty Council and the Sudan Revolutionary Front and other movements, with a view to bring justice to the victims of atrocities that have occurred in Darfur and to build sustainable peace in Sudan. I also welcome the importance the Peace Agreement affords to the ICC, and the emphasis placed on cooperation between Sudan and the Court in relation to the five ICC suspects.  I am encouraged by the assurances given by the authorities that full effect will be given to these references, and that justice will play a central role in Sudan’s transition and the particular importance of the ICC in this ongoing process.

The focus of my investigation is on crimes allegedly committed by these five ICC suspects between 2003 and 2004, 2007, and as far as Mr Al Bashir is concerned up to 2008.

In June of this year, the alleged militia leader, Mr Ali Muhammad Ali Abd-Al-Rahman aka Ali Kushayb was transferred to the Court following his voluntary surrender. The ICC has outstanding arrest warrants against Messrs Omar Al Bashir, Ahmad Harun, Abdel Raheem Muhammad Hussein, and Abdallah Banda Abakaer Nourain. These suspects are still wanted for the atrocity crimes listed in their ICC warrants of arrest. They must all face justice without further delay. We look forward to continuing our dialogue with the Sudanese authorities to ensure we make progress on these cases with full respect for our respective roles and mandates and the principle of complementarity.

The opportunity to prosecute other alleged suspects in the Darfur situation at the national level is possible through the Darfur Special Court, as provided for in the Juba Peace Agreement. This would be a positive step in terms of burden-sharing between the ICC and the Sudanese courts.

Now that the channels of communication are open and a spirit of cooperation guides our discussions with the Sudanese authorities, we are open to exploring the possibilities in full compliance with our obligations under the Rome Statute, and guided by our unflinching commitment to achieving justice for the victims in Darfur.

In conclusion, I would like to thank the Sudanese people, the Government of Sudan and other stakeholders for the warm welcome extended to me and my delegation during this visit. I am also grateful for the logistical support and the security arrangements put in place in connection with this visit.

Fighting against impunity for the atrocity crimes committed against the people of Darfur is a joint responsibility. There is an urgent need for justice in Sudan. Sustainable peace and reconciliation are built on the stabilizing pillar of justice.

I thank you for your attention. I look forward to answering your questions and to address any comments you may have.

The Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC conducts independent and impartial preliminary examinations, investigations and prosecutions of the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression. Since 2003, the Office has been conducting investigations in multiple situations within the ICC’s jurisdiction, namely in Uganda; the Democratic Republic of the Congo; Darfur, Sudan; the Central African Republic (two distinct situations); Kenya; Libya; Côte d’Ivoire; Mali; Georgia, Burundi Bangladesh/Myanmar and Afghanistan (subject to a pending article 18 deferral request). The Office is also currently conducting preliminary examinations relating to the situations in Bolivia; Colombia; Guinea; Iraq/UK; the Philippines; Nigeria; Ukraine; and Venezuela (I and II), while the situation in Palestine is pending a judicial ruling.

For further details on “preliminary examinations” and “situations and cases” before the Court, click here (https://bit.ly/2HjtZCq), and here (https://bit.ly/2IUrbN3).

Sudan: Urgent need to strengthen food systems as multiple crises drive up numbers of hungry people in Sudan (16.10.2020)