24 Hours for Darfur recently released “Darfurian Voices,” a report detailing the results of the first ever representative survey of Darfurian refugees’ opinions on peace, justice, and reconciliation. The US-based non-profit research organization spent four months in the 12 Darfurian refugee camps in eastern Chad, interviewing 1872 randomly-sampled civilians and 280 civil society and rebel leaders. The data gathered from the civilian sample is representative of the adult refugee population in Chad, and sheds light on important questions about participants’ specific beliefs about the root causes of the conflict, past peace negotiations and agreements for Darfur and southern Sudan, the nature and importance of justice in bringing about a sustainable peace, the possibility of reconciliation, land-related issues, democracy, power-sharing, and the national elections, and which actors, if any, best represent their views.
On 23 November 2004 at 6:00 a.m., the village of Adwa in South Darfur was attacked by the Sudanese army and the Janajaweed militia. Most villagers were still asleep, or had woken up for the morning prayer, while two helicopter gun-ships and an Antonov plane approached the village. Meanwhile, heavily armed militia men entered the village with land cruisers. In the next few hours, more than 20 villagers were brutally killed and over 100 villagers were severely injured, including women and children. All the homes in the villages were burnt down. Many villagers fled into the mountains, but several were captured. Men were immediately shot, while women were kept in detention for two days. Young girls were repeatedly raped by the attackers in the presence of their mothers. All the victims of the attack belonged to the Fur tribe (1). The attack on Adwa village is merely one example of the horrors that have been occurring in Darfur since 2003. According to the International Commission of Inquiry on Darfur, over 800 villages were destroyed in Darfur (2), while the Sudanese police even estimates that number at 2000. Nearly 2 million people in Darfur have fled their homes and are living […]
The April 2010 general elections in Sudan have been largely considered by commentators and observers of the Sudanese political life as an irrelevant exercise mainly destined to foreign consumption. This has been confirmed by the very low number of comments about the election results in the press and on the web. Everyone is focused on the real deadline set by the CPA, that of the referendum. Little has changed in the composition of the governments in Khartoum and Juba, except for the fact that Northern and Southern “other political forces” have been almost erased by the political scene, as the two dominant parties have reinforced their hold on power in the two regions. It is clear that no surprise comes from the election results if we look at the top levels of the list: winners were announced far before April. But what if we look at the losers? This could offer some useful insight about the structural changes which have occurred within the Sudanese political arena during the last 20 years. During an interview in the last eighties, Hasan al-Turabi talked about a “vicious circle” affecting the political process in his country, which he summarized as “military rule, followed by […]
A new research report into local violent conflicts within southern Sudan, Southern Sudan at Odds with Itself: Dynamics of conflict and predicaments of peace, provides insights into the processes generating and sustaining conflicts. It debunks some important assumptions. The research team was headed by Mareike Schomerus and Tim Allen, based at the LSE, commissioned through PACT Sudan and funded by DFID. The researchers conducted more than 300 extensive interviews in diverse parts of southern Sudan. The standard explanations for ongoing violence in southern Sudan, are to blame Khartoum’s intrigues and “tribalism”. Unsurprisingly, both these accounts are at best incomplete. Although many people, especially local administrators, alleged that there was a hidden hand of northern Sudanese destabilization, the report finds almost no evidence adduced in support of such an opinion. Where specific groups, such as the Fellata Ambororo, were present and widely perceived as being northern-sponsored troublemakers, the actual evidence implicating them was thin to non-existent. To the contrary, southern Sudanese who contributed to this report provided much specific information and analysis for the local origins of conflicts over resources and territory, cattle raiding, and other violent disputes. “Tribal conflict” has been used as shorthand for almost any violent conflict, whether […]
If the implications were not so seriously fatal one would not begrudge the Argentinean bruiser and striker of the ICC team Luis Moreno-Ocampo aka ‘Ocambo’ to his adoring fans to feel the elation as if he had won the World Cup after the ICC’s Pre Trial Chamber I quashed on 12 July its original ruling of March 2009 not to issue a warrant for genocide in Darfur against President al Bashir but to issue after all a warrant for three counts of alleged genocide. Ocampo won the ultimate price, the indictment of a head of state and government in office for genocide, the modern equivalent of being outlawed and wanted ‘dead or alive’, after only on 9 July ‘Ocambo’ had been booked by the referee and his team had concede a goal after judges at the ICC suspended the trial of the DRC warlord Thomas Lubanga because “the prosecutor has elected to act unilaterally in the present circumstances and he declines to be ‘checked’ by the (trial) chamber,” according to the judges. They added that in these overall circumstances the court had to stay the proceedings of Ocampo’s first and so far only trial he brought to court since he […]
This morning I learned from the Sudan Tribune that the African Union has agreed to establish a liaison office for the African Union in Addis Ababa. But I also read on the newswires that the selfsame Chairman of the AU Jean Ping has condemned the ICC decision to indict President Omar al-Bashir for 3 counts of genocide. Can you help me to understand the AU position on the ICC? Admin adds: The two AU statements are available here: On the Chairperson’s “readiness to explore the possibility of establishing an ICC Liaison Office in Addis Ababa”: Presse CommuniqueICC Bilateral 16-07-10 On the AU’s concern over the genocide decision: communique concern over decision ICC Eng
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African countries are critical actors for the International Criminal Court (ICC). While it is clear that Africa forms the largest bloc of ICC member states, and that this year’s review conference of the Rome Statute has taken place in Uganda, other facts are often overlooked.
The number of confirmed violent fatalities, according to UNAMID figures, in Darfur during June was 221. Though a marked decline on the nearly 600 deaths during May, this is still well above the average for the last two and a half years. The major cause of fatalities was intra-Arab fighting in West Darfur state, which accounted for 139 fatalities. Fifty two combatants were confirmed killed, 51 government soldiers and one from the rebel side, implying a probable undercount of rebel fatalities. Twenty civilians died in violence, in all instances classified by UNAMID as criminal attacks, as well as two tribesmen, two soldiers and three rebel fighters who were victims of crime. Three UNAMID personnel were killed. These figures show that the intensity of fighting between JEM and the Government has subsided. The data show that the epicenter of Arab-Arab fighting has shifted from South Darfur to West Darfur. Whereas the South Darfur violence was mostly among the Baggara, this violence is between Baggara and Abbala. It is interesting that although intra-Arab fighting has killed more people in Darfur over the last three years than any other source of violence, it is still below the international radar screen, and does not […]
STATEMENT OF THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE AUHIP, THABO MBEKI, AT THE LAUNCH OF THE SUDAN POST-REFERENDUM NEGOTIATIONS: KHARTOUM, JULY 10, 2010. Your Excellencies, Members of the Negotiating Teams, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen: On behalf of the African Union Panel on Sudan, I would like to welcome to this important occasion everybody present here to participate in the formal launch of the post-referendum negotiations. In this regard I would like to thank the negotiating parties, the SPLM and the NCP, for taking the initiative to ensure the attendance today of representatives of the broad spectrum of Sudanese society, as well as the international community. This underlines the vital importance of the process we launch today, the negotiations which will help to determine the future of Sudan after the January 2011 South Sudan referendum, covering both possible outcomes of the referendum, either unity or secession. Surely the presence of so many representatives of the Sudanese people in this hall communicates the message to the negotiators that the people of this country expect of these leaders that they will approach their task with the required seriousness and sense of urgency, bearing in mind their shared responsibility to advance the interests and welfare […]