The issuance of an arrest warrant for Sudan’s sitting head of state for crimes against humanity offers the Obama administration a chance to catalyze multilateral efforts to bring about a solution to Sudan’s decades-long cycle of warfare. One of the crucial missing ingredients to conflict resolution efforts has been some form of accountability for the horrific crimes against humanity that have been perpetrated by the warring parties in Sudan, primarily the Khartoum regime. Peace without justice in Sudan would only bring an illusion of stability, without addressing the primary forces driving the conflict.
The petition, filed before the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, alleges that the government of Sudan’s intentional bombing of civilians and denial of international humanitarian aid to populations living in the two states constitute violations of, among other things, the rights to life and property afforded these civilians under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
“Khartoum’s forces have deliberately bombed civilian homes, schools and clinics in direct violation of Sudan’s obligations under not only the African Charter, but also international human rights law and international humanitarian law,” said John Bradshaw, Enough Project executive director. “Exacerbating the situation is Khartoum’s steadfast refusal to permit international organizations to deliver desperately needed humanitarian or food aid to civilians resulting in emergency levels of food insecurity.”
When the African Commission convenes this week for one of its ordinary sessions, Sudan will submit a report on its human rights record. The draft document, recently released, contains not a word about the government’s siege in Blue Nile and South Kordofan.At the same meeting, the Commission will consider the Enough Project’s petition, which describes a starkly different reality.
“The petition provides the African Union and the broader international community the opportunity to closely examine the most recent atrocities committed by the Sudanese government against its own people,” said Mark Quarterman, Enough Project director of research. “Dismayingly, these atrocities are nothing new; rather, they are the latest iteration in a pattern of human rights violations that Khartoum has committed against Sudanese civilians in South Sudan, South Kordofan, Blue Nile, the Abyei Area, Beja, and Darfur since at least the early 1990s.”
The international community should also take actions in the immediate term to provide technical assistance to Sudan’s opposition parties so as to enable those parties to constructively engage in political processes that will eventually allow for a fair, transparent, and inclusive constitutional process and democratic elections.
“The time has come for the atrocities and cycle of impunity to end, and for democratic transformation to take hold in Sudan,” said Omer Ismail, Enough Project Sudan advisor. “Without a transition to a truly democratic government in Sudan, the Khartoum regime’s pattern of oppression and destruction against marginalized populations will continue as it has for decades.”
This Enough Project factsheet sheds light on who is Bosco Natanga, the infamous Congolese General, also known in the region as “The Terminator.” Incongruously, he’s been called both a war criminal and a lynchpin to regional stability; yet as a member and leader of several armed groups, he has left a bloody trail across the eastern Congo.
A new British documentary film presents graphic visual evidence that the Sudanese government has committed crimes against humanity by bombarding civilians in the Nuba Mountains of South Kordofan, Sudan. "Unreported World: Terror in Sudan" will premiere on the UK's Channel 4 on Friday, April 13 and Channel 4 reporter Aidan Hartley agreed to answer five questions from Enough Said. Read More »
Judges at the International Criminal Court confirmed charges against four prominent Kenyans wanted on allegations they orchestrated violence that left an estimated 1,200 people dead after the late 2007 elections. The decision marked the “first solid step” in pursuit of justice for the victims and a crucial move in deterring violence ahead of upcoming presidential elections, said an advocate in the Kenyan capital. Read More »
Now four days into the New Year, the 2011 reflections are tapering off, giving way to predictions about what may be in store in 2012. But permit us one more: 2011 was a momentous year for the International Criminal Court as the institution played a role in some of the year’s most defining moments, further establishing itself as an avenue for pursuing justice for victims of even the seemingly most invincible leaders and war criminals. Read More »
WASHINGTON – The Enough Project praised the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court for publicly requesting the Court to issue an arrest warrant against Abdel-Rahim Mohamed Hussein, Sudan’s Defense Minister, for war crimes in the conflict in Sudan’s western Darfur region. The Enough Project also released a report citing evidence of Hussein’s war crimes committed in the ongoing conflict along the border with South Sudan.
“An arrest warrant would be helpful in that it would focus responsibility for major war crimes more closely on the senior figures in the armed forces who have consistently targeted civilians in the context of their military operations,” said Enough Project co-founder John Prendergast. “President Bashir and Defense Minister Hussein are part of a small cabal making most of the decisions on war strategy, not just in Darfur but also in the current hot spots of South Kordofan and Blue Nile. They are responsible for the forcible displacement of literally millions of Sudanese over the course of the last eight years, and countless others before that in the North-South war.”
Hussein is the fourth senior Sudanese official targeted by the ICC in the Darfur conflict. The highest profile suspect is Sudanese president Omar al Bashir. The court is not mandated to investigate crimes committed along the border with South Sudan. The Sudan Armed Forces, led by Hussein, has bombed civilians and razed villages during its conflict with rebels in the border areas of Abyei, South Kordofan and Blue Nile since May.
“The world has taken another small step toward accountability for crimes against humanity with this request for an arrest warrant,” Prendergast said. “It is incumbent, however, on state supporters of the ICC to help craft strategies to apprehend the Defense Minister and other suspects so they can ultimately face justice.”
Hussein served as the Minister of Interior between 2003 and 2007, during which his mandate included responsibility for police, the Popular Defense Forces, or PDF, civil defense, drug control, and prisons. While Interior Minister, Hussein also served as Special Representative of the President in Darfur.
As the Minister of Defense since 2007, Hussein adopted in South Kordofan, Blue Nile, and Abyei the strategy and tactics previously used in Darfur. Though crimes committed in the Three Areas are outside the ICC’s mandate for investigation and arrest, Hussein currently directs the indiscriminate aerial bombing of civilians, forced mass displacement, the use of irregular militias against civilian villages, arbitrary arrest and detention, and extrajudicial killing, just as he did in Darfur. Satellite Sentinel Project has documented and shared with the ICC evidence of five razed towns and villages in the Three Areas and eight sites apparently containing mass graves in South Kordofan.
“The Sudanese army is consolidating power in Sudan, and General Hussein sits at the top of this elaborate system of state-sponsored repression,” Prendergast said. “Hussein is directly complicit in planning and authorizing serious war crimes in Darfur, which are covered by the ICC arrest warrant. But he is also responsible for crimes against humanity in Abyei, the Nuba Mountains, and Blue Nile. It is imperative to bring him to justice not only to create accountability for past crimes in Darfur but also to prevent new atrocities in other regions of Sudan. A mechanism of enforcing the arrest warrant is urgently needed. European supporters of the ICC and the U.S. should support African and other efforts to apprehend Hussein and bring him to The Hague.”