The Darfur Consortium

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Darfur in the News

U.S. and European media

June 29, 2023

Reuters: Darfur Rebels Say Civilians Killed in Sudan Raid. Darfur rebels on Sunday accused Sudan government forces of a bombing raid on their territory which killed at least eight civilians, as mediators step up pressure for a settlement in the violent western region. Fighters from the insurgent Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) said military planes bombed land they controlled near the settlement of Hashaba in remote North Darfur around midday on Saturday. SLA founder Abdel Wahed Mohamed Ahmed al-Nur told Reuters his commanders reported eight civilians were killed in Hashaba, about 70km (43 miles) west of the North Darfur state capital, El Fasher. Another SLA commander reported over 20 casualties.

BBC: US Envoy to Meet Darfur's Rebels. The US envoy for Sudan, Scott Gration, is due to meet Darfur rebel leaders in neighbouring Chad in a bid to revive the stalled peace process. Mr Gration is hoping to talk to officials from two rebel groups - the SLA and Jem - as well as Chad's President Idriss Deby. Chad and Sudan accuse each other of backing rebel groups which operate across their troubled border. Diplomatic sources say that the US envoy is hoping for a sign of the rebels' willingness to agree to a cessation of hostilities and to become more of a political force.

The Philadelphia Inquirer: Darfur Crisis is Palpable to Them. Ibrahim Hamid's village is no more, all but scrubbed from the map of his homeland. Fatima Haroun's childhood home was burned to the ground, torched by the same militia group that slaughtered her aunt, seven months pregnant at the time. Ismael Omer called his family three months ago, only to learn that his cousin had been slain - shot to death in his bed, with his 18-month-old son at his side. For these three - and the 32 other Sudanese expatriates attending this weekend's Darfur Leaders Network conference in Philadelphia - a cause doesn't get more personal. Beginning yesterday morning and running through today, this gathering of the Darfur Leaders Network, founded in 2007 under the auspices of the Save Darfur Coalition, is designed to promote a Darfurian peace through negotiation and advocacy. Delegates from Texas to Maine (and seven from Philadelphia) assembled at the Newspaper Guild offices at 13th and Buttonwood Streets to take part.

Reuters: Sudan Ex-Rebels Say No Progress at Peace Conference.  Sudan's former southern rebels on Sunday said there had been no concrete progress in talks over a faltering peace deal with the north, and warned time was running out to save the accord. Sudan's Muslim north and its mostly Christian south fought a two-decade civil war that ended in the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). Leaders from both sides met in Washington last week to discuss remaining disputes over the deal that, analysts warn, may drag the country back to conflict if left unresolved. A senior official from the south's dominant Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) accused the northern delegation of stalling on a number of key issues, including the position of their shared border, preparations for coming elections and a referendum on southern secession. "The issues remain the same. There is no progress in resolving the issues yet," SPLM delegation spokesman Yasir Arman told Reuters.

This op-ed written by Kofi Annan was featured in The New York Times.

Africa and the International Court.

Eleven years ago when I opened the Rome conference that led to the founding of the International Criminal Court, I reminded the delegates that the eyes of the victims of past crimes and the potential victims of future ones were fixed firmly upon them. The delegates, many of whom were African, acted on that unique opportunity and created an institution to strengthen justice and the rule of law.

Now that important legacy rests once more in the hands of African leaders as they meet in Libya on Wednesday. The African Union summit meeting will be the first since the I.C.C. issued an arrest warrant for Sudan's president, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, on charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes for his alleged role in the atrocities in Darfur.

The African Union's repeatedly stated commitment to battle impunity will be put to the test. On the agenda is an initiative by a few states to denounce and undermine the international court. In recent months, some African leaders have expressed the view that international justice as represented by the I.C.C. is an imposition, if not a plot, by the industrialized West.

In my view, this outcry against justice demeans the yearning for human dignity that resides in every African heart. It also represents a step backward in the battle against impunity.

Over the course of my 10 years as United Nations secretary general, the promise of justice and its potential as a deterrent came closer to reality. The atrocities committed in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia moved the Security Council to set up two ad hoc tribunals, building on the principles of post-World War II courts in Nuremberg and Tokyo.

These new tribunals showed that there is such a thing as effective international justice.

But these ad hoc tribunals were not enough. People the world over wanted to know that wherever and whenever the worst atrocities were committed -- genocide, war crimes or crimes against humanity -- there would be a court to bring to justice anyone in a government hierarchy or military chain of command who was responsible. That principle would be applied without exception, whether to the lowliest soldier or the loftiest ruler.

Thus the International Criminal Court was formed. It now has 108 states, including 30 African countries, representing the largest regional bloc among the member states. Five of the court's 18 judges are African. The I.C.C. reflects the demand of people everywhere for a court that can punish these serious crimes and deter others from committing them.

The African opponents of the international court argue that it is fixated on Africa because its four cases so far all concern alleged crimes against African victims.

One must begin by asking why African leaders shouldn't celebrate this focus on African victims. Do these leaders really want to side with the alleged perpetrators of mass atrocities rather than their victims? Is the court's failure to date to answer the calls of victims outside of Africa really a reason to leave the calls of African victims unheeded?

Moreover, in three of these cases, it was the government itself that called for I.C.C. intervention -- the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic and Uganda. The fourth case, that of Darfur, was selected not by the international court but forwarded by the U.N. Security Council.

It's also important to remember that the I.C.C., as a court of last resort, acts only when national justice systems are unwilling or unable to do so. There will be less need for it to protect African victims only when African governments themselves improve their record of bringing to justice those responsible for mass atrocities.

The I.C.C. represents hope for victims of atrocities and sends a message that no one is above the law. That hope and message will be undermined if the African Union condemns the court because it has charged an African head of state. The African Union should not abandon its promise to fight impunity. Unless indicted war criminals are held to account, regardless of their rank, others tempted to emulate them will not be deterred, and African people will suffer.

We have little hope of preventing the worst crimes known to mankind, or reassuring those who live in fear of their recurrence, if African leaders stop supporting justice for the most heinous crimes just because one of their own stands accused.

Kofi Annan served as secretary general of the United Nations from 1997-2006 and is now president of the Kofi Annan Foundation.

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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