The Darfur Consortium

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Darfur in the News

U.S. and European Media

September 21, 2023

Los Angeles Times: Justice urged as topic for Darfur talks. The prosecutor for the International Criminal Court challenged world leaders Thursday to not leave criminal justice off the agenda as they convene at the U.N. to discuss Darfur. Sudan has refused to hand over a government minister and a militia leader accused by the Hague-based world court in May of orchestrating mass killings in Darfur. Months later, prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo says, he is more frustrated by the refusal of top United Nations officials and others to push for the arrests because they fear it would jeopardize pending peace talks and the deployment of peacekeepers. Foreign ministers from 26 nations and officials from the European Union and Arab League are to meet today in New York to discuss efforts to establish peace in Darfur, where four years of conflict have resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths and displaced more than 2 million people. They plan to discuss peace talks set for Oct. 27 in Tripoli, Libya; arrangements for the deployment of 26,000 peacekeepers; and helping victims recover their homes and livelihoods. But legal proceedings are not on the agenda. "When nobody is talking about the criminals and pressing for their arrest, Khartoum interprets that as a lack of resolve," Moreno-Ocampo said in an interview. "We must break the silence. "Justice in Darfur must be on the agenda, at the top of the agenda," the prosecutor said. "There can be no political solution, no security solution, no humanitarian solution as long as alleged war criminals remain free in the Sudan."

Associated Press: Rights Group Urges Sanctions on Sudan. The United Nations should impose targeted sanctions on the Sudanese government if it continues to attack civilians and humanitarian workers in the Darfur region, a U.S.-based human rights organization said in a new report. Human Rights Watch accused the international community of failing to take effective action despite increased global attention on the crisis. ''Concerned governments and international institutions should be prepared to strengthen the less-than-robust track record on maintaining pressure on the government of Sudan and other parties to the conflict to meet their obligations under law,'' said the report released on Wednesday. The 76-page report says the human rights situation in Darfur has ''evolved from an armed conflict between rebels and the government into a violent scramble for power and resources.'' It accuses both sides to the conflict -- the Sudanese government and opposing rebel leaders -- of indiscriminate attacks on civilians. The U.N. Security Council has imposed an arms embargo on Sudan and authorized a 26,000-strong U.N.-African Union peacekeeping force this summer to replace 6,000 AU peacekeepers who have been unable to stem the violence. The council has also ordered sanctions on four Sudanese accused of rights violations in Darfur, but Human Rights Watch criticized the move because the four are not high-level officials. ''The sanctions they've imposed are inconsequential -- they are a joke,'' said Peter Takirambudde, executive director of the HRW's Africa Division. ''They placed travel bans on people who have never even left Sudan and financial penalties on people who don't have external accounts.'' Takirambudde praised the United States for imposing unilateral sanctions earlier this year on a list of Sudanese companies suspected of shipping arms to Darfur, as well as on three individuals suspected of being involved in the violence.

Reuters: Qaeda urges attacks on Darfur force, talks questioned. Al Qaeda urged Sudanese Muslims on Thursday to fight African Union and United Nations peacekeeping troops in Darfur as rebels cast doubt on whether peace talks to pave the way for the force could succeed. Al Qaeda's second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahri called for a holy war on the troops that he said were invading Darfur, and criticized Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir for accepting the 26,000-strong joint A.U.-U.N. operation. "Bashir announced before that he would oppose the deployment of international troops to Darfur ... but this was a lie ... and he backtracked step by step until he had agreed to everything they imposed on him," Zawahri said in an 80-minute video. Zawahri accused Bashir of abandoning his Muslim brothers to appease the United States and said he did not deserve the protection of Muslims. "The free mujahideen sons of Sudan must organise jihad against the forces invading Darfur," he said. A Sudanese Armed Forces spokesman denied any Al Qaeda presence in Sudan, while a diplomatic source in Khartoum said the joint U.N.-A.U. mission was watching developments closely after Zawahri's statement. "The borders in Sudan are porous and it would not be hard for people to move around," the source said. Opposition and rebel groups said Al Qaeda would not be welcomed in Sudan. "These forces are coming to protect Darfuris and the Darfuris need peace," said Bashir Adam Rahma, a leading member of the Islamist-oriented opposition Popular Congress Party. "I believe the people of Darfur will fight anybody who tries to fight these forces." Ahmed Hussein Adam, spokesman for the Darfur rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) said: "We want them to stay away, out of Darfur. Darfur is not their land. The Muslims of Darfur have nothing to do with al-Qaeda."

USA Today: Olympics seen as leverage for Darfur. What do the Beijing Olympic Games have to do with genocide in Darfur? Nothing, according to the Chinese government. A lot, say some diplomats and experts on Darfur. They say that, as next year's Games draw closer, China is taking steps to end the humanitarian disaster in the region of western Sudan by pressuring the Sudanese government to accept an international peacekeeping force and attend upcoming talks. "The Olympics are serving a very useful purpose," says Princeton Lyman, an African expert at the Council on Foreign Relations, a foreign policy think tank. "The Chinese feel the pressure of international opinion. The term 'genocide Olympics' really rattled them." Until recently, China seemed unwilling to pressure Sudan over Darfur, says Rep. Donald Payne, D-N.J., head of a House subcommittee on Africa. When Payne and other members of the Congressional Black Caucus first met with Chinese officials more than a year ago, the officials were blasé, Payne says. Much has changed since. The U.S. special envoy for Darfur, Andrew Natsios, said Thursday he wasn't sure what had pushed Beijing but "China is being constructive, using its leverage with the Sudanese government." China continues to deny any connection between these moves and the Olympics. Liu said this month that China has played a positive role in Darfur but "the Olympic Games and Darfur are totally different," he said. "In Chinese terms, they are like cattle and horses."

The following editorial appeared in today's New York Times.

Mocking the Powerless and the Powerful

A trail of blood leads from the genocide in Darfur back to the highest levels of government in Khartoum. So Sudan’s announcement earlier this month that it would form its own committee to investigate human rights violations in Darfur never inspired tremendous hope. Khartoum’s choice to lead the committee, however, was even more cynical than we could have imagined and a deliberate slap in the face to the United Nations and the International Criminal Court.

Ahmad Harun — whose appointment was announced while the United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, was in Sudan for talks on the crisis — is one of only two people the court has charged so far with war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur.

As Sudan’s interior minister from 2003 to 2005, Mr. Harun recruited, funded and armed the janjaweed militias, who murdered at least 200,000 people and drove 2.5 million more from their homes. Now, as minister of humanitarian affairs, he controls the fate of the survivors. He decides when and where aid organizations can go, and some of these international agencies, on whom hundreds of thousands of refugees depend for their survival, have accused Mr. Harun of blocking their work.

The International Criminal Court issued a warrant for Mr. Harun’s arrest in the spring, but Sudan denied its jurisdiction and refused to cooperate. The international community must not accept this. Today, more than 25 countries will meet at the United Nations to discuss the crisis in Darfur. Britain and France in particular — as members of both the Security Council and signatories of the criminal court treaty — should demand that Sudan arrest Mr. Harun and surrender him to The Hague. The United States should join them.

Holding government officials responsible for the genocide in Darfur will be a crucial part of any lasting peace deal. Powerful members of the United Nations and the African Union should stand behind the court — which has no means of enforcing its own warrants — not only as a weapon against this genocide but as a way to fight the next one.


The Darfur Daily News is a service of the Save Darfur Coalition.  To subscribe to the Daily News, please email [email protected]. For media inquiries, please contact Ashley Roberts at (202) 478-6181, or [email protected].

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