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Sudan: Darfur Peace Agreement Detailed

AfricaFocus Bulletin
Jul 23, 2006 (060723)
(Reposted from sources cited below)

Editor's Note

The real problem with the Darfur Peace Agreement, contends one of the advisors to the negotiations, is not its detailed provisions, which are both substantive and the result of significant input even from factions that eventually refused to sign. It is the lack of will to implement the accord, whether on the part of the government of Sudan, the rebels in Darfur, or the international parties that must guarantee its implementation,

This AfricaFocus Bulletin contains excerpts from the first two articles in a series of commentaries by Alex de Waal on the Darfur Peace Agreement, appearing on, and links to the full set of commentaries. Another AfricaFocus Bulletin sent out today contains updates and background commentary focused on the failure of the international community to provide enough resources or political pressure to make the peace accord anything more than a meaningless piece of paper.

For previous AfricaFocus Bulletins on Sudan and additional links, visit

For regular updates see

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

Disarming the Janjaweed and Armed Militia

July 14, 2006

By Alex de Waal

This is the first in a series of articles concerning the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA), explaining how different parts were negotiated by the Government and Movement delegations, what the paragraphs mean, and how they should be implemented. This first article asks, how are the Janjaweed and other armed militia to be disarmed?

One of the toughest questions in the negotiations in Abuja that led to the DPA was how to control and disarm the Janjaweed and other armed militia in Darfur. The Movements' negotiators raised this issue time and time again, and went line by line over every relevant paragraph over many long weeks. Each of the Movements' negotiators--Ali Tirayo (SLM-Minawi), Mohamed Adam (SLM-Abdel Wahid) and Tajudeen Niam (JEM)--was closely involved in this issue, and the GoS security team led by General Ismat al Zain was extremely professional and examined every detail. Everyone in the peace talks knew from the beginning that long-term peace and security in Darfur requires the control of all the militia and paramilitary forces, some of which have terrorized Darfurians since the 1980s, and some of which were only recently established.

Security experts agree that the DPA articles concerning the Janjaweed are some of the toughest parts of the whole Agreement. For the first time there is a practical plan for controlling and disarming the Janjaweed. This is a credit to the GoS and Movements negotiating teams in Abuja and the hard work they put in.

When the Government of Sudan (GoS) signed the "Humanitarian Ceasefire" in N'djamena in April 2004, it made a commitment to disarm the Janjaweed. Two months later the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 1556 that insisted that Khartoum should disarm the Janjaweed, within one month. Shortly afterwards, the Government presented a plan for disarmament to the Darfur Ceasefire Commission, but the plan was rejected by the African Union and the representatives of the Movements.

The responsibility for disarming the Janjaweed and other armed militia falls on the GoS. This principle was laid down by the UN Security Council. And throughout the Abuja talks, the Movements insisted that because the GoS had armed these militia, it was responsible for disarming them too. However, the entire process of controlling and disarming them is to be supervised and monitored by the Ceasefire Commission (CFC) and the Joint Commission (JC). Both of these bodies are chaired by the African Union and include representatives of the SLM and JEM as well as the international community. At every stage of the disarmament process, all those represented on the CFC and JC must be satisfied that the GoS has properly completed its task.

Article 314 of the DPA demands that the GoS produces a plan for disarming the Janjaweed 37 days after "D-Day", which was 16 May (eleven days after the signing of the Agreement in Abuja). But the DPA also spells out in detail how many aspects of this disarmament are to be done. The Movement negotiators insisted on this, and the GoS delegation insisted that the provisions should be practical. The DPA has a detailed timeline and different provisions covering different armed groups.

The timetable for disarming the Janjaweed is part of the overall sequence of steps for the Comprehensive Ceasefire and Final Status Security Arrangements in Chapter 3 of the DPA. There is a simple principle governing the steps. For every action that the armed forces of the Movements (SLA and--if it should sign up--the JEM) are asked to take, the GoS has to take a step beforehand. ...

The DPA spells out a number of the steps that the GoS has to take in its steps for controlling the Janjaweed and armed militia.

--Paragraph 315 spells out some of the measures the GoS should take, including restricting Janjaweed to garrisons and cantonment sites, disarming them of heavy weapons, and ensuring that they cannot pose a threat to the Movements' assembly sites.

--Paragraph 316 demands that any armed militia that violates the ceasefire should be immediately disarmed.

--Paragraph 366 specifies that the Janjaweed must be prevented from moving into any areas in which they can pose a threat to civilians including especially IDPs.

--Paragraph 367 spells out some of the measures to be taken during Phase 2 of the Ceasefire (which begins 82 days after "D-Day") including confiscation of motor vehicles and heavy weapons, actions to enforce control, and prosecutions.

--Paragraph 417 specifies that the Movements only move their fighters to assembly sites when the disarmament of the Janjaweed is verified, after phase 3 of the ceasefire (127 days after "D-Day").

--Paragraph 457 lays out the timetable for all these activities.

Some of the Janjaweed groups originate from foreign countries, and have been causing havoc in Sudan. According to the Tripoli Agreement between Sudan and Chad, signed on 8 February 2006, the two countries are supposed to disarm all rebel elements from the other country that are present on their territory. Paragraphs 341-344 of the DPA underline these obligations. But a Janjaweed is a Janjaweed whatever his nationality: any foreign Janjaweed are outlaws and the GoS must deal with them under the toughest provisions of the paragraphs concerning the Janjaweed.

In the peace talks, the Movements argued strongly that some of the Janjaweed have been absorbed into paramilitary groups including the Popular Defence Forces and the police. The GoS asked, "Who are the Janjaweed?" The Movements demanded a mechanism to deal with all the paramilitary groups in Darfur, whether or not they could be called "Janjaweed." This was included under a section called "Reform of Selected Security Institutions".

--Paragraph 446 specifies these institutions, including the PDF, Border Guards and Border Intelligence, and Police including especially the Nomadic Police.

--Paragraph 447 specifies what shall happen to these institutions: their size shall be reduced to pre-conflict levels or below, their members must be drawn from all communities and they must have the trust of all communities, and they must be respectful of human rights and controlled by democratic bodies.

The organization responsible for this is the Darfur Security Arrangements Implementation Commission (DSAIC), which is set up by the DPA. The head of the DSAIC is appointed by the Movements and answers to the Senior Assistant to the President, who is also a nominee of the Movements. The GoS objected strongly to this, demanding that the head of the DSAIC should be an appointee of the GoS (with a deputy from the Movements) and should answer to the President. However, on the final day of the negotiations--5 May--the GoS accepted the AU proposal, while registering its reservation. Another provision in the DPA is for a Security Advisory Team to be provided by a foreign country or international organization, agreed by the Parties. The GoS was also unhappy with this provision, but finally accepted it. The Security Advisory Team will be part of the DSAIC and have an important role in restructuring these institutions.

At the same time as these paramilitary forces are to be downsized and reformed, the police force is to be built up, in such a way that it can truly enjoy the confidence of the people and provide law and order. More details of this will be covered in the article on the security of IDPs. ...

When the security arrangements chapter was completed and presented to the GoS and the Movements in Abuja, the overall reaction was: "this is a tough deal for Khartoum." Most of the reservations expressed by Dr. Majzoub al Khalifa, in his speech on 5 May in which he accepted to sign the DPA, concerned security arrangements. The Movements were much more pleased--which was not surprising, as their negotiators had been extremely tough on these issues. Minni Minawi was satisfied. Dr Khalil Ibrahim said, "The security arrangements are generally OK." On security arrangements, Abdel Wahid al Nour said on that morning, "The documents submitted are acceptable. We have accepted that part." Nine days later, Abdel Wahid had second thoughts and wrote to the GoS asking for assurances that the SLM would be fully involved in monitoring the disarmament of the Janjaweed. Dr Majzoub replied in a letter dated 14 May, and emphasized that the disarmament of the Janjaweed was guaranteed by the CFC and the DSAIC, both of which included the SLM. Sadly, Abdel Wahid still refused to sign.

For the Janjaweed to be neutralized and disarmed, and the people of Darfur to live in peace and safety, much more will be needed than a signed Agreement. The good faith of the GoS and the Movements is essential. The African Union and international community have strenuous monitoring and verification tasks to do. But, as this article has tried to explain, the DPA is very good start. As this article has also shown, the security arrangements chapter was hammered out over many months of hard negotiation between the GoS delegation and the Movements' representatives, and its most important provisions are ones proposed, developed or agreed by the SLM/A and JEM, and agreed by the GoS.

Security For IDPs and Refugees

July 14, 2006

By Alex de Waal

This is the second in a series of articles concerning the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA), explaining how different parts were negotiated, what the paragraphs mean, and how they should be implemented. This article asks, how is security to be provided for internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees? The first article considered the disarmament of the Janjaweed.

The conflict in Darfur has driven millions of people from their homes and left them in camps for IDPs in Darfur and refugee camps in Chad. Apart from the miserable conditions in these camps, and the sadness and distress of being away from their homes, the IDPs have faced serious security problems including violence and harassment. Refugees and IDPs are also fearful that security may not be guaranteed when they return home.

The Movements' negotiators were deeply concerned about the security of the IDP camps and raised this at an early stage of the negotiations in Abuja. The lead security negotiators--Ali Tirayo, Mohamed Adam and Tajudeen Niam--worked in close coordination on these points. Article 26 of the DPA is the outcome of their initiative, with Paragraphs 262-281 painstakingly negotiated over many long weeks. The United Nations and humanitarian NGOs also had a big input into these provisions alongside the African Union. The GoS security delegation led by General Ismat al Zain was tough and professional, and examined every detail. The outcome is a set of provisions that are workable and can provide real security improvements for displaced people, both in their camps and as they return to their homes.

Paragraphs 263-269 of the DPA are concerned with setting up Demilitarized Zones (DMZs) around IDP camps. The reason for this is that many camps--especially the smaller ones away from the major towns--suffer from attacks by armed elements, resulting in people being killed, injured and raped, and property stolen. The Movements' delegates insisted that each camp should be surrounded by a DMZ so that IDPs can move in safety, and the camps themselves are better protected from attack. The GoS agreed. ...

One basic principle is that AMIS [African Union Mission in Sudan] should decide on how big the DMZs should be and where their perimeters should lie. ...

Another basic principle is that no armed persons should be allowed in the DMZ. This doesn't include off-duty soldiers, who might live next to an IDP camp--or even in a camp itself. They can go home through a DMZ as long as they don't take their weapons. This doesn't exclude the police either. Policing functions need to be carried out in these zones. During the negotiations, one proposal made was that AMIS civilian police should do all the police work in DMZs. But the African Union soon realized this wouldn't work. AMIS simply doesn't have enough police officers, and its officers also don't have the legal powers to arrest people. Instead, the GoS and Movements agreed that Sudanese police officers would do the police work, under AMIS monitoring. In camps in areas controlled by the Movements, AMIS along with the Movements' police liaison officers will do the policing.

Security inside the IDP camps was another big concern. Each day, the AMIS officer working with the AU Mediation received a situation report from Darfur, and most days it would include a report of violent incidents inside IDP camps. How should IDP camps be policed? The GoS police officers in the talks insisted that, as a matter of law, only Sudanese police should be allowed to undertake policing activities. But they also recognized that their policemen didn't enjoy the trust of the IDPs themselves, and simply couldn't do the job. The Movements' delegates at first demanded that AMIS or UN police should be brought in--but this wasn't practical.

An excellent compromise was agreed between the GoS and the Movements. This is found in Paragraphs 272 and 273. This provides for a "Community Police" force to be established. The Community Police are to be selected from the community itself and will work with community leaders. The training is to be done by AMIS, and the security situation and the policing itself are to be monitored by AMIS. The GoS will grant the Community Police legal authority, and cases for prosecution must be handed over to the regular judicial authorities, where they can be investigated and prosecuted under AMIS monitoring.

The basic concept behind "Community Police" is a transitional arrangement until a properly professional police force is established, respected by all and able to ensure law and order across Darfur. The Community Police drawn from the IDPs can be an important part of that new force. As the IDPs return home, their Community Police will return with them, providing security for the returning IDPs, and bit-by-bit become an integral part of the reformed police force in Darfur.

Establishing and training the Community Police in IDP camps is one of the main responsibilities for the AMIS civilian police officers in the coming weeks and months. The AU has already requested that its civilian police units be strengthened for this purpose. The Community Police should give immense confidence to the IDPs that their basic security needs will be met. Paragraphs 274-279 specify that all police units in Darfur should pay special attention to the needs of women and children, including women police officers and special counters to deal with reported crimes against women and children. ...

Speaking in the final session of the Abuja talks on 5 May, Abdel Wahid al Nour said that the security arrangements provisions were accepted. A few days later, however, he changed his mind and asked for clarification, and wrote to Dr Majzoub al Khalifa on 14 May asking for an assurance that "SLM/A shall contribute in the process of ensuring the safe return of refugees and IDPs to their homes including mounting joint patrols for this purpose." Dr Majzoub's reply the same day was: "the request of the Liberation Movement as to be part of the evaluation of the process [of security of return of IDPs], such objective is absolutely, seriously and uncompromisingly agreed upon."

Dr Majzoub did not respond specifically on the question of "joint patrols"--units comprising both Sudan Armed Forces and Movements--an issue newly raised by Abdel Wahid that week. However, three points can be made regarding this. One, the Community Police will return with the IDPs. Two, in any area that has been recognized by the DPA as controlled by the Movements, the Comprehensive Ceasefire ensures that the Movements remain involved in ensuring security. And third, the DPA provides for the integration of 4,000 Movement combatants into the army into units in which they comprise either one third or one half of the soldiers. The DPA doesn't specify where these units should be deployed, but there is no reason why they should not be deployed in areas of returning IDPs and refugees....

Leadership for Implementing the DPA

The Comprehensive Peace Agreement, the DPA and the East Sudan Peace Agreement

Rebuilding Darfur

Human Rights

Darfurians in the Civil Service and Education

The Question of Land

The Future of the Movements' Combatants

The Comprehensive Ceasefire

Community Peace and Reconciliation

Guarantees for the DPA

How to Include the Different Darfur Movements

The Transitional Darfur Regional Authority

Compensation and Assistance to Victims

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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