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Sudan: More Delay on Darfur
Mar 25, 2005 (050325)
(Reposted from sources cited below)
On March 24, the United Nations Security Council approved a
peacekeeping mission of more than 10,000 personnel to help
implement the peace agreement in southern Sudan. But it postponed
action on measures that have been proposed to deter ongoing killing
and displacement in Darfur, in western Sudan. The resolution
mentioned strengthening the African Union mission in Darfur, but
made no specific commitments to do so. Other measures are still
blocked by U.S. opposition to referring Darfur to the International
Criminal Court, and by Russian and Chinese hostility to any new
In a week in which U.S. media and politicians were exhibiting their
preoccupation with the life of one woman in a hospital in Florida,
the renewed failure to act on Darfur gained little new public
attention. Next week, however, France is planning to present a
resolution referring the case of Darfur to the International
Criminal Court. The Bush administration, that has officially termed
the violence in Darfur "genocide," but opposes the court,
will be faced with the choice of vetoing or abstaining on the resolution.
This AfricaFocus Bulletin contains a statement from Human Rights
Watch following the March 24 Security Council resolution, and three
documents from earlier this month with background on specific
actions that could be taken but are being delayed: a statement from
the Darfur Consortium of African civil society organizations, a
summary of proposed actions from the International Crisis Group,
and a report on the need for increasing the number of African Union
monitors in Darfur.
For earlier AfricaFocus Bulletins on Sudan, and additional links to
news and background information, visit
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Human Rights Watch
U.N.: Pass Resolution to Refer Darfur to ICC
Threat of Prosecution Would Help Protect Civilians; U.S. Should
(New York, March 25, 2005) U.N. Security Council members should
urgently pass a new French-proposed resolution that would refer
Darfur to the International Criminal Court, Human Rights Watch said
today. The United States should abstain on the vote if it decides
not to vote in favor.
Today [March 24], the Security Council adopted a resolution
establishing a U.N. peace-support mission for Sudan. This mission
is to implement the Naivasha peace agreement, the accord ending the
21-year civil war between the Sudanese government and
southern-based rebels. The peace-support mission will be deployed
in the north and south of Sudan, but not in Darfur, where Sudanese
forces and government-backed Janjaweed militias have been
responsible for atrocities against civilians.
The Security Council today also delayed a vote on targeted
sanctions and accountability for Darfur. These were initially
included in a single resolution on Sudan. But on Tuesday, the
United States announced a decision to split the single Sudan
resolution into three separate resolutions.
France yesterday put forward a resolution that would refer Darfur
to the International Criminal Court (ICC). The move comes shortly
after the United States indicated it would put its resolution on
the peace-support mission to a vote. The United States has proposed
putting forward a resolution on accountability. But the U.S.
resolution would fail to authorize any tribunal to prosecute the
war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Darfur.
"The threat of serious criminal prosecution would send a powerful
message to those most responsible for the atrocities in Darfur,"
said Richard Dicker, director of Human Rights Watch's International
Justice Program. "An ICC referral would help deter attacks against
A wide majority of Security Council members already support
referring Darfur to the International Criminal Court, but the
United States opposes this measure. U.S. opposition is rooted in
the Bush administration's aversion to the court.
"Given the mayhem and murder in Darfur, it's long past time for the
United States to get past its ideological fixations about the ICC,"
said Dicker. "The United States should abstain on ICC referral so
the court can immediately open investigations on crimes in Darfur."
The French-proposed resolution would offer the possibility of
immunity from ICC prosecution to personnel serving in U.N.
operations in Sudan. The exemption would apply to personnel
contributed by countries that have not ratified the ICC treaty -
such as the United States - if the country notifies the U.N.
Secretary-General. Human Rights Watch opposes this exemption, which
is included as a concession to the United States. By offering the
possibility of blanket immunity to a class of individuals, the
resolution distorts the Rome Treaty that established the ICC.
While the referral to the ICC would be a decisive step towards
preventing further abuses, other concrete measures are desperately
needed, Human Rights Watch said. The U.N. Security Council should
support an immediate increase in the protection force in Darfur and
greater monitoring of the Sudanese government's commitment to end
its aerial bombing of civilians. Since the Darfur conflict began
two years ago, Sudanese forces and government-backed Janjaweed
militias have forcibly displaced almost two million people from
their homes. Most of the displaced remain in camps and towns due to
ongoing attacks, rape, looting, and assault by Janjaweed militias.
The Sudanese government has been unable or unwilling to stop
ongoing atrocities. The prevalent insecurity, which has led to
attacks against humanitarian aid convoys and commercial vehicles,
is increasing fears of dangerous food shortages in the coming
African Civil Society Calls on UN Security Council to Ensure
Protection and Justice for Darfur
(New York, March 11, 2005) The Darfur Consortium, an umbrella group
of primarily Africa-based civil society organizations, today called
on the UN Security Council to take decisive action to address the
ongoing humanitarian and human rights crisis in Darfur.
The Darfur Consortium brings together African civil society
committed to working together towards finding a lasting, peaceful
and just resolution to the current crisis in Darfur. Members of the
Darfur Consortium recently traveled to Darfur and eastern Chad to
assess the situation firsthand and to meet with representatives of
Darfurian and Sudanese civil society. The Darfur Consortium also
held an African civil society consultation in Kampala to discuss a
platform for action.
The Darfur Consortium has identified two paramount concerns raised
by the victims of the Darfur crisis: ensuring protection and
security for civilians in Darfur and taking immediate international
action to bring those responsible for atrocities in Darfur to
justice. These two imperatives are equally critical for achieving
In a series of letters to diplomatic missions in New York, the
Darfur Consortium called on the Security Council to pass a
*. provides the necessary authorization and financial and
logistical resources to the AU mission on the ground to develop a
clear mission mandate and strong presence in Darfur which will
allow adequate protection of civilians and facilitate the delivery
of humanitarian aid;
*. refers the situation in Darfur to the International Criminal
Court (ICC) without further delay, as recommended by the
International Commission of Inquiry on Darfur;
*. imposes a precisely targeted scheme of sanctions (economic,
travel, appropriate extension of the arms embargo) against the
Government of Sudan and specific individuals who are responsible
for the commission of serious international crimes in Darfur.
Emphasizing that all three elements were essential to an effective
response to the crisis in Darfur, the Darfur Consortium declared
that "previous Security Council resolutions have failed to halt the
violence and robust action is needed now in order to prevent
further loss of life. The people of Darfur deserve no less."
For further information please visit
Sudan: UN must grow teeth on Darfur, says crisis group
10 March 2005
International Crisis Group
[To the Secretary General, Foreign Ministers and Permanent
Representatives of the Security Council member states, and Foreign
Ministers of the member states of IGAD]
As the Security Council continues to debate Sudan, I am writing to
urge you to act forcefully and without delay to prevent further
death, suffering, and destruction in Darfur. Since the crisis began
two years ago, the Security Council has passed three resolutions
demanding an end to the conflict. Yet, over 200,000 people have
died, on the best available evidence, and thousands more continue
to die each month from violence, malnutrition and disease. The
emerging risk of famine in parts of Darfur, especially in places
beyond the reach of relief agencies, will further compound the
It is time to acknowledge that the nuanced approach of the
international community -- including the Security Council -- has
failed. It will take a coordinated set of measures to curtail the
violence and to send a clear message to both the Sudanese
government and rebels that the international community will no
longer tolerate empty promises and broken agreements. Failure to
demonstrate urgently that the Security Council will hold the
parties in Sudan accountable to their commitments will not only
lead to more bloodshed in Darfur, but will also eventually
undermine the recently signed North-South peace agreement.
The mandate of the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) was
developed in the summer of 2004, when it was expected that the
parties would abide by their commitments. AMIS's weak monitoring
mandate is now obviously inadequate to the ongoing crisis,
especially as parties to the Darfur conflict, and in particular the
Government of Sudan, continue to obstruct aid to civilians. The
Security Council must urge the African Union to expand its role in
Darfur in the crucial areas of protection for civilians and
humanitarian convoys. The United Nations and member states must be
prepared to provide strong support to the AU as it performs that
protective role, in the ways described below. And the Security
Council must also act to ensure accountability for atrocity crimes
through the best available mechanism, the International Criminal
Thus far, the Government of Sudan has blatantly refused to take
action against its allied militias despite committing to do so on
six separate occasions since April 2004 and as demanded repeatedly
by the Security Council. The rebels have also violated the
ceasefire, including by attacks on humanitarian convoys and
civilians. The cost of non-complianc has been minimal for all
parties, particularly the Government. Until it faces strong
repercussions, the Government will not undertake the difficult
process of disarming and neutralising the Janjaweed militia, which
it continues to arm and supply, and of arresting those responsible
for atrocity crimes.
Stopping the violence in Darfur and protecting civilians must be
the primary goal of international action. The current African Union
assessment mission to Darfur, conducted with broad international
participation, will review AMIS and its capabilities. The Security
Council must support stronger action in three key areas: tougher
sanctions, including a country-wide arms embargo; a more robust
AMIS to protect civilians and relief deliveries; and an effectively
enforced no-fly zone over Darfur.
A package of targeted measures against those perpetrating the
violence can lead to great improvement on the ground in Darfur. The
draft resolution before the Security Council proposes a set of
appropriate sanctions against culpable individuals. However, it
does not extend the arms embargo across the entire country, thereby
failing to acknowledge that the Government of Sudan has had a heavy
hand in arming and unleashing the deadly Janjaweed militias. Only
a country-wide, closely monitored arms embargo will further the
goal of ending the repeated violations of the existing arms embargo
established by UNSC Resolution 1556.
UN support for an expanded AMIS role.
To implement an enhanced
mandate, AMIS must expand both its troop and police components.
AMIS has been able to deploy less than two thirds of its authorised
3,320 troops to Darfur as African nations have been unconscionably
slow in providing troops and the international community has
equally failed to provide the AU with adequate logistical and
related support. It is now clear that a much larger and better
supported force is needed to stem the violence in Darfur. The
Security Council should act on the recent call by Under Secretary
General Jan Egeland and urge an increase of the AMIS deployment, to
at least 10,000.
The terms of the resolution adopted should:
- urge the AU force to explicitly protect civilians and relief
deliveries; under Chapter VII, authorise the United Nations Mission
in Sudan (UNMIS) to provide support to such an expanded AMIS;
- call on member states (African and non-African) to contribute
troops, police, and other support, including through provision of
greater command and control, operational and logistic capabilities,
to a strengthened AU mission, and on NATO to begin planning to
assist the mission; and
- authorise the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
(OHCHR) to deploy an additional 100 Human Rights monitors in
In light of Khartoum's continued use of aerial bombardment against
civilian targets in Darfur, in patent violation of its commitments
under the 9 November Abuja Protocols, the current draft resolution
rightly demands that the Government of Sudan "cease conducting
offensive military flights in and over the Darfur region." While
military options to enforce this demand may not presently be
feasible, other options are. The Council should:
- endorse an AU-monitored no-fly zone over Darfur;
- request the AU to notify it immediately upon determination of a
- call on member states to provide such technical and other
assistance as the AU may require to carry out effectively this
monitoring and notification responsibility; and
- identify specific targeted sanctions that the Council will apply
immediately upon receipt from the AU of a report of serious
non-compliance by a party to the conflict.
Accountability for Atrocity Crimes
As UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour pointed out
in her 16 February 2005 presentation to the Security Council,
"there is no hope for sustainable peace in Darfur without immediate
access to justice." Crisis Group strongly endorses the
recommendation of the International Commission of Inquiry on Darfur
that the Security Council refer the situation of Darfur to the
International Criminal Court (ICC).
Unquestionably, the ICC is the body best positioned to uphold
justice most promptly and effectively. Suggested alternatives --
such as the ICTR or a similar body established under the auspices
of the African Union -- would be more time-consuming, more costly,
less effective in bringing to justice those responsible, and
crucially, because any impact they might have would be much
delayed, be less likely to persuade the parties to the conflict of
the need to comply immediately with all UN resolutions and their
commitments under the Abuja Protocols.
Immediate robust measures to protect civilians and establish a
credible mechanism for justice and accountability are the essential
components to stopping the violence in Darfur. If divisions within
the Security Council and potential veto threats again water down
the final text of the resolution, the situation in Darfur will only
worsen. And the hard-won peace agreement for the rest of the
country will be put in jeopardy as well.
I urge you to live up to the Security Council's responsibility and
use your power to take the necessary strong action to protect those
still acutely at risk in Darfur.
Gareth Evans President
Contact: Dismas Nkunda +1-646-546-7152
UN urges larger African peacekeeping force for Darfur
UN Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN)
NAIROBI, 18 Mar 2005 (IRIN) - An 8,000-strong African Union (AU)
peacekeeping force with an enhanced mandate would be needed to
protect the nearly two million displaced people in the western
Sudanese region of Darfur and bring stability to the volatile area,
a UN spokesperson said on Friday.
"Jan Pronk [the UN Secretary-General's Special Representative for
the Sudan] felt that, for the AU [African Union] to strengthen its
role in Darfur, it would need to expand its capacity to 8,000
troops and adopt a mandate with a stronger focus on protection,"
Radhia Achouri, spokeswoman for the UN Advance Mission in Sudan
(UNAMIS), told IRIN.
"When you look at their [the AU] experience on the ground, whenever
they were there, such as in Labado [a town in South Darfur which
suffered some of the worst fighting in recent months], the
situation stabilised," Achouri added.
An AU-led assessment team, consisting of senior AU, UN, EU
(European Union) and US officials, arrived in Addis Ababa on
Friday, having completed a week-long assessment of peacekeeping
requirements in Darfur. The team was expected to finalise its joint
report over the next few days.
"The assessment team looked with satisfaction at the situation in
local communities in which the AU was present," Nourreddine Mezni,
spokesman of the AU in Khartoum told IRIN on Friday, adding that
the AU presence had encouraged local communities and internally
displaced persons to resume their normal life activities.
A preliminary observation by the assessment team, Mezni noted, was
that, given the current AU troop strength of 2,193 soldiers, the
mission was doing the utmost within the possibilities of their
"The assessment mission is looking at ways to enhance the
performance of AMIS [African Union Mission in Darfur] and it is
understood that proposals to increase the size of its force are
part of that discussion," Mezni added.
Pronk was in Luxembourg to meet with the EU ministers to request
technical, financial and logistical support for the AU forces in
Darfur, and EU troop commitments for the proposed UN peace support
mission for southern Sudan.
"If the AU would agree to expand their number of troops in Darfur,
additional support is needed, as it would pose a considerable
burden on the African countries that are providing the troops,"
Meanwhile, the UN Security Council on Thursday extended the mandate
of UNAMIS by a week, after having done the same on 10 March, while
its members discussed the establishment of the peace mission for
A draft resolution, prepared by the US, seeks to authorise the
deployment of a UN peacekeeping force of over 10,000 soldiers for
southern Sudan, impose targeted sanctions on individuals
responsible for atrocities in Darfur and specify where to try the
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