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The 2005 International Criminal Court (ICC) Investigation in Darfur has charged six people with offences of committing three categories of crime: genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, including murders, rapes, destruction of properties, and forcible transfer of populations among them. Among the people charged are Ahmed Haroun (Minister of State for Humanitarian Affairs) for providing arms to the Janjaweed and Ali Kushayb, allegedly known as the leader of Janjaweed.
In the 28th of October of this year, the United Nations Security Council met to discuss a report from the joint African Union-UN mission in Darfur – a report that, somehow, excludes any mention of the RSF’s role in violence and abuses in Darfur. And instead of allowing this one-sided narrative to stand unchallenged, council members should use this opportunity to press for justice.
This year marks the 15-year anniversary of a Security Council resolution designed to better integrate women’s perspectives and needs into international responses to conflict, yet the previous meeting failed to address the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war against Darfur’s women, as well as the use of child-soldiers, and more than 2,850,000 people being displaced outside their country or in refugee camps. Instead of putting more pressure to the Sudanese government to immediately disarm and disband the Rapid Support Forces and investigate and prosecute commanders and officials responsible for these terrible crimes, the Security Council has been unable to rise to the occasion, and, at least, demand the investigation for the creation of a new report, demonstrating the atrocities committed of all factors responsible.
The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights should rectify UNAMID’s past failure to investigate mass rape by promptly dispatching a special investigative team with expertise in sexual and gender-based violence to conduct an investigation into alleged rape and other sexual violence in Darfur. If independent access to the affected areas is not granted, the team should investigate through interviews outside of Darfur and other remote research methods.
Also, more could be done by the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur, such as:
- Publicly demand access to Jebel Marra and other areas in Darfur where civilians are vulnerable to serious abuse and establish a permanent presence in these areas, such as an operating base, and implement proactive patrols to help protect civilians.
- Investigate and publicly report allegations of serious abuses by the Sudanese security forces, including the Sudanese Armed Forces, the Rapid Support Forces, pro-government militias and opposition armed groups. If access to the locations where the alleged abuses took place is not granted, UNAMID human rights officers should investigate through telecommunication and other remote research methods,
The United Nations Security Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council could additionally:
- Demand that Sudan allows UNAMID immediate and unrestricted access to all of Darfur, including to establish a permanent presence, such as an operating base, in government-controlled, rebel-controlled, and contested areas where it now has little or no presence.
- Impose travel bans and asset freezes on individuals responsible for the attacks on civilians in Darfur, and for the continued obstruction of peacekeepers and UN investigators.Press for cooperation by the Sudanese government with the International Criminal Court’s investigation and prosecution of serious international crimes committed in Darfur.