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Sudan: Darfur and Beyond

AfricaFocus Bulletin
Sep 12, 2004 (040912)
(Reposted from sources cited below)

Editor's Note

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell's statement last week that the Sudanese government and its proxy militias have indeed committed genocide in Darfur caught media attention and incrementally increased the pressure on the Khartoum regime to rein in the violence. However, the Secretary of State also noted that the determination in itself dictated no new action by Washington. The political will of the international community to increase pressure remains in doubt. How best to focus such pressure is also under debate.

This issue of AfricaFocus Bulletin contains excerpts from two recent reports on Sudan, by the International Crisis Group and Justice Africa. While the two reports differ on the issue of sanctions, both stress not only the need for stepped-up pressure on Khartoum, but also that the scope of such pressure must extend beyond Darfur to the stalled peace agreement in the south and issues of national governance as well.

The point was underlined by a speech on Friday to the Congressional Black Caucus by southern Sudanese leader John Garang, who said stopping the violence required a neutral force of 30,000 troops, including one-third each from the Sudanese government, the Sudanese People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLA/M), and the African Union. The force should be funded by the international community and monitored by international observers, he added. [].

Secretary of State Powell's testimony, including his conclusion that genocide has been committed in Darfur, is available at The Department of State's investigative report on Darfur is available at

++++++++++++++++++++++end editor's note+++++++++++++++++++++++

Darfur Deadline: A New International Action Plan

International Crisis Group

Africa Report No. 83, 23 August 2004

Executive Summary and Recommendations

[excerpts only; full text of summary and of report available on]

The international response to the crisis in the western Sudanese region of Darfur remains limp and inadequate, its achievements so far desperately slight. The UN Security Council must, by its review deadline of 30 August 2004, endorse a new international action plan -- taking tougher measures against the Khartoum government, which has acted in bad faith throughout the crisis, and authorising the African Union (AU), with stronger international support, to follow up more decisively its efforts to improve the situation on the ground and mediate a political settlement.

History has shown that Khartoum will respond constructively to direct pressure, but this pressure must be concerted, consistent and genuine. Its sixteen-month ethnic cleansing campaign has elicited a slow-motion reaction which is having a negligible positive impact. ...

On 30 July 2004 the UN Security Council finally passed its first resolution in response to the atrocities, including killings and systematic rape, being committed in Darfur, but that resolution was most notable for what it failed to do. It placed an essentially meaningless arms embargo on the Janjaweed militias who have caused so much havoc and the rebels alike, but directed no measures at the Sudanese government for whom the Janjaweed have acted as a proxy and left officials in Khartoum confident they could continue indefinitely to deflect pressure to resolve the crisis. ...

Months after Secretary Powell warned that significant international action could be only days away and Secretary General Annan raised the possibility of military intervention, Khartoum remains adept at saying and doing just enough to avoid a robust international response. Key officials, particularly within military intelligence, continue to undermine avenues toward peace, directing integration of the Janjaweed into official security bodies like the police, army and Popular Defence Forces (a paramilitary arm of the government), rather than disarming them. ...

The one bright spot is the AU's increasingly energetic response. The regional organisation's observers in Darfur have filed reports that demonstrate the ceasefire is being violated regularly by both sides but particularly by the government. Its some 100 observers are being joined by a force of 300 Nigerian and Rwandan troops who will protect them, and it has intensified planning for a much larger force of some 3,000 troops that it wants to use for the wider purpose of protecting civilians. The European Union (EU), the U.S. and others who have indicated a willingness to support, logistically and financially, the deployment and maintenance of such a force must convincingly demand that Khartoum accept it and its mandate.

The Darfur situation poses an ever greater threat to the nearly finalised peace agreement to end the larger and older civil war between the government and the insurgent Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA). As long as Darfur festers, the chance remains for political forces in Khartoum opposed to the concessions that have been made in that negotiation to turn government policy back toward war. There is also less prospect that a final agreement with the SPLA, even if signed, could be implemented, or that there would be the necessary support in the West to provide both sides the help they need to make that agreement work.

It is vital, therefore, for the AU also to enhance its efforts to mediate the political problems at the root of the Darfur crisis. The international community must provide full support to the AU-sponsored Darfur talks, such as those scheduled to begin on 23 August in Abuja, while it helps keep the government/SPLA negotiation under the regional organisation IGAD
(Inter-governmental Authority on Development) moving forward. The two sets of peace talks are very much interrelated. For example, the AU should utilise the terms of the deal that has been struck on the Nuba Mountains and Southern Blue Nile as a starting point for its work on the Darfur negotiations. The international community must support both processes robustly, and the mediation teams should find ways to coordinate closely. Had there been a comprehensive national peace process from the outset, the Darfur rebellion might well have been avoided: the need now is to maximise linkages and leverage.


To the UN Security Council:

1. Pass a resolution on 30 August 2004 that:

(a) concludes that the Government of Sudan has not satisfactorily fulfilled its obligations within the time period established by Resolution 1556 of 30 July 2004;

(b) imposes mandatory targeted sanctions against specific government officials most responsible for supporting the atrocities in Darfur and against the key businesses of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP), particularly those doing business abroad and those in the oil services sector;

(c) imposes a mandatory, comprehensive and monitored arms embargo against the government;

(d) authorises the African Union (AU) to form, lead and deploy to Darfur a mission consisting of at least 3,000 troops -- and preferably many more -- with a mandate to provide civilian protection and use force as necessary, demands that the Government of Sudan accept such a mission and cooperate with it, and indicates that if such cooperation is not forthcoming urgent consideration will be given to appropriate further action;

(e) demands that the Government of Sudan accept deployment of a substantially enlarged contingent of UN Human Rights Monitors from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and cooperate with it; and

(f) authorises an International Commission of Inquiry into war crimes and crimes against humanity, including systematic rape and other gender-based violence, committed during the Darfur conflict.

To the African Union (AU):

2. Continue and expand urgent efforts to resolve the Darfur crisis, in particular by:

(a) completing the deployment to Darfur of personnel to monitor the 8 April 2004 ceasefire agreement and the deployment of the Rwandan and Nigerian-led force to protect those monitors;

(b) raising and deploying, under UN Security Council authorisation, an AU-led mission consisting of at least 3,000 troops -- and preferably many more -- to provide civilian protection in Darfur, using force if necessary;

(c) being prepared to request further assistance from the UN, such as the imposition of a no-fly zone, and from member states as may be needed should cooperation not be forthcoming from the Government of Sudan or the environment in Darfur otherwise proves to be hostile; and

(d) pursuing mediation of serious political negotiations between the Government of Sudan and the SLA and JEM movements on an agreement that addresses the root causes of the conflict.

To the U.S., EU and Others Willing to Support the AU Initiatives:

3. Increase assistance immediately to the AU-led Ceasefire Commission charged with monitoring and facilitating implementation of the 8 April 2004 ceasefire agreement and apply pressure to all sides to implement fully their commitments under that agreement.

4. Work with the AU to provide strong support, including funding, equipment, and transportation logistics (e.g., helicopters and other airlift capacity), for the rapid deployment to Darfur and effective operation there of an AU-led mission consisting of at least 3,000 troops mandated to protect civilians, using force if necessary.

5. Develop contingency plans to provide appropriate military reinforcement to the AU-led mission if it encounters serious resistance.

6. Make clear to the Government of Sudan that it cannot expect to receive the kind of peace benefit that would otherwise be its due in the event of reaching a peace agreement with the SPLA unless it meets its international commitments on Darfur and otherwise cooperates in resolving that crisis promptly.

To the UN and International Donors:

7. Support an urgent surge in humanitarian capacity for Darfur by fully funding the UN humanitarian appeal and providing logistical support, including military transport where necessary, to enable much greater levels of assistance to be provided rapidly to a larger number of locations in Chad and Darfur.

8. Negotiate with the Government of Sudan and the SLA and JEM movements to begin immediately cross-line humanitarian aid deliveries to civilian populations in rebel-held areas, while making contingency plans to distribute such aid in the event that access is denied.

To the Government of Sudan:

9. Immediately implement steps to neutralise the Janjaweed militia and stabilise the situation in Darfur ... Specifically, the government should:

(a) identify all militia groups it has armed and supported during the course of the rebellion;

(b) cut off all material and political support to the Janjaweed;

(c) begin to demobilise the Janjaweed;

(d) expel all foreign elements within the Janjaweed;

(e) dismiss senior military intelligence officials responsible for the policy of arming the Janjaweed and turning them loose against civilians; and

(f) initiate legal action against individual Janjaweed responsible for war crimes.

10. Allow unobstructed humanitarian access immediately to all areas of Darfur and cease using claims of security considerations as justification for obstructing the delivery of humanitarian aid.

11. Accept the deployment in Darfur of an African Union (AU) mission consisting of at least 3,000 troops, with a mandate to provide civilian protection, and cooperate with that mission.

12. Allow full access immediately to Human Rights Monitors from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

To the Sudan Liberation Army/Movement (SLA), and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM):

13. Immediately implement all provisions of the 8 April 2004 ceasefire agreement and in particular cease attacks on aid convoys to government-controlled areas, while facilitating humanitarian relief to areas under rebel control by establishing teams to assist populations to receive and make use of aid.

14. Clarify political agendas in advance of the formal initiation of peace talks.

To the International Supporters of the IGAD Process, especially the Observer Countries (U.S., UK, Norway and Italy), the UN, AU and Arab League:

15. Intensify collective pressures on the Government of Sudan and the SPLA to resolve the outstanding issues rapidly and sign a comprehensive peace agreement before the end of 2004.

16. Encourage the Government of Sudan and the SPLA respectively, once the negotiations on security arrangements for that comprehensive peace agreement have been concluded and even before final signature, to involve First Vice President Ali Osman Taha and Chairman John Garang directly in the AU-facilitated negotiations on Darfur.

To the IGAD and AU Mediators:

17. Establish close cooperation and take steps to coordinate ideas on the overlap between the two peace processes, without making progress on one dependent on the other.

18. Use the IGAD provisional agreements on the Nuba Mountains and Southern Blue Nile as a starting point for work on the Darfur negotiations.

Nairobi/Brussels, 23 August 2004

Prospects for peace in Sudan:

Justice Africa Briefing

August-September 2004

[brief excerpts only; for full briefing see]


1. The GoS is pursuing the high-risk strategy of seeking a solution on its own terms in Darfur, anticipating that international interests in the Naivasha process will allow it to prevail. It may yet be proven right. It has made only modest progress in implementing its commitments in Darfur, focusing its efforts on building an international coalition opposed to sanctions. The practical obstacles to ensuring security are considerable, but the GoS needs to demonstrate much more goodwill and determination.

2. The Darfur peace process is making some progress in the AU-convened talks at Abuja, Nigeria. It is clear that the negotiations will take some time. The best options for immediate progress include upgrading the AU military force in the region, while refining the proposals for establishing security and moving towards a comprehensive political settlement.

3. There are three parallel negotiating tracks at present. Naivasha is currently in suspended animation, while the Abuja talks progress. The NDA-GoS talks have resumed in Cairo under Egyptian auspices. How can these initiatives be coordinated? Should they be sequenced? The GoS is content for delays to continue at Naivasha, as it wants to organise its core northern constituencies before concluding deals with the SPLA and the Darfur rebels. GoS hints about linking the peace processes are in fact an indication that it prefers to slow them down.

4. The international community and many observers remain opposed to such close linkages, preferring to emphasise the successful completion of Naivasha without it being complicated by the Darfur conflict. In fact there is no reason for delaying Naivashsa. Its conclusion before the other tracks makes it the main reference to any subsequent Agreements on Sudan.


9. The GoS was slow at drawing up its plan for controlling the Janjawiid, presenting it to the Joint Implementation Mechanism only on 19 August. This reflects the fact that a large proportion of the Janjawiid, including its commanders, are part of the command structure of the Sudanese armed forces and PDF, so that disarming them while also maintaining the pretence that they are an independent force represents political challenges.

The actions taken thus far for disarmament have been token only, as alluded to by the UNSG's report. The well-documented attack on 26 August demonstrated the GoS failure to implement its commitments. Was this an instance of contempt for the international community? Or internal dissension within the ruling clique? At the moment it is unclear, but it is probable that the government has yet to decide on its plan of action. (In this respect it is interesting to note that the GoS reported to the JIM that some of the militias were indeed under its control, and were associated with the PDF, thus contradicting its earlier statements and explicitly opening up the agenda of disarming the PDF itself.)

There is no sign of any efforts to prosecute Janjawiid leaders allegedly responsible for abuses.


11. The UNSG's report concludes, fairly, that the GoS has not met some of the commitments it entered into. This conclusion is qualified by the report's acknowledgement of practical difficulties in making progress, and efforts already made. The challenge is now on the UNSC to find a means of maintaining or intensifying pressure. There is an international consensus, supported by most in Sudan, that sanctions are crude and ineffective. The rebel movements are calling for a no-fly zone over Darfur to prevent aerial attacks. But the key areas for progress must be the parties' negotiation of a political settlement, and the substantial upgrading of the African Union military presence in Darfur.

Darfur: The Parties' Calculations

12. The GoS calculation is that the international community does not have sufficient seriousness or staying power on the Darfur issue, and that time is therefore on its side. It assumed that with the support of the Arab League, the benefit of the doubt from some prominent African states plus Russia and China, it would evade sanctions at the UN Security Council. The GoS also calculates that the U.S. and other western countries will not risk derailing the Naivasha process over Darfur.


18. Both principals in Darfur have been counting on the SPLA. The GoS assumes that the Naivasha process, whether completed or in suspension, effectively neutralises the SPLA as an opposition. The rebels have assumed that their contacts with the SPLM will translate into political solidarity. However, neither side should take the Southerners for granted. The GoS should not underestimate the determination of the Southerners and the SPLM not to be outmanoeuvred now or during the transitional period. Neither should the Darfur rebels underestimate the Southerners' commitment to peace in the South, and their resistance to revisiting the North-South peace process and agreements reached therein, on account of the Darfur conflict.

The SPLA position on Darfur, made clear by a statement by the Chairman at New Site during the visit of Senator Bill Frist, is that there should be a tripartite security force consisting of GoS, SPLA and African Union forces (10,000 of each). This proposal was rejected out of hand by the GoS. The SPLA is also encouraging the Darfur rebels to study closely the Naivasha agreements on the three areas. Clearly, the SPLA leadership is becoming concerned that the Darfur conflict may delay the completion of the Naivasha process.


41. Naivasha remains the linchpin of peace in Sudan. Without the completion of Naivasha, all other peace processes are doomed to failure. The completion of Naivasha will significantly change the political dynamics in Khartoum and make a settlement of all other outstanding issues and conflicts, beginning with Darfur, much easier. In addition, many of the formulae agreed at Naivasha, such as those for the three areas, can with suitable modification be applied to Darfur and the Beja. For all these reasons, it is important that the Naivasha process be rejuvenated and brought to a rapid conclusion. The GoS should not be allowed to procrastinate or be distracted by other concerns, however legitimate they may be.

42. The outlines for a settlement in Darfur are in place. The mediation process is beginning to function. The key issues have been identified. The monitoring mechanisms have been identified, even if the AU capacity is as yet inadequate. The key international organisations are appraised of the issue. However, there should be no illusions that this will be a rapid process.

The best that can reasonably be expected is a framework agreement in the next two months or so, and the creation of a strong secretariat on the Naivasha model, followed by negotiations on the details and the implementation modalities, concurrent with an upgraded and more assertive AU peace support operation (more African troops with a more robust mandate), linked to sustained political and diplomatic pressure by the international community.

The GoS, currently intransigent, is likely to see that conceding a more effective AU presence is its least bad option.

AfricaFocus Bulletin is an independent electronic publication providing reposted commentary and analysis on African issues, with a particular focus on U.S. and international policies. AfricaFocus Bulletin is edited by William Minter.

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