SUDAN WATCH: July 2010

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Darfur, Sudan: Security situation update - Kalma leaders threatened over Doha - AU asks UN to suspend ICC arrest warrants for President Bashir

Messrs Bashir, Kiir, Taha

Photo: Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir (C), First Vice President Salva Kiir Mayardit (L) and Vice President Ali Osman Taha sit for a presidency meeting before al-Bashir left for Chad, in Khartoum, Wednesday, 21 July 2010. Chad said on Wednesday it would not arrest al-Bashir who arrived in the country for his first visit to a full member state of the world court which is demanding his arrest for genocide. (Reuters /Mohamed Nureldin Abdallh)

Sudanese President Omar al-Beshir

Photo: Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir walks towards his plane at the airport in Khartoum, Wednesday, 21 July 2010 as he prepares to leave for Chad to attend the summit of the Community of Sahel-Saharan States. An international row raged on Thursday over the presence of genocide accused Bashir of Sudan as he took his place among African leaders at a regional summit in Chad. (AFP/Ebrahim Hamid)

Kiir & Bashir

Photo: Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir (2nd R) walks with First Vice President Salva Kiir Mayardit (L) as he prepares to leave for Chad, in Khartoum, Wednesday, 21 July 2010. (Reuters/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallh)

Omar Hassan al-Bashir & Salva Kiir Mayardit

Photo: Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir (R) shakes hands with First Vice President Salva Kiir Mayardit as he prepares to leave for Chad, in Khartoum, Wednesday, 21 July 2010. (Reuters/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallh)

Sudan's First Vice President Salva Kiir

Photo: First Vice President Salva Kiir waits to meet Sudanese opposition leaders in Khartoum Thursday, 22 July 2010. (Reuters/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah)

Bashir to meet opposition leaders
Report from SRS (Sudan Radio Service) - Friday, 23 July 2010:
(Khartoum) – The first Vice President and President of Southern Sudan government, Salva Kiir, met with the leaders of northern opposition parties in Khartoum on Thursday.

The SPLM deputy secretary general-northern section, Yasir Arman, spoke to the press after the meeting.

[Yasir Arman]: “The meeting discussed the invitation by the chairman of the NCP, President al-Bashir, to meet with the political forces on Saturday. After extensive negotiations, the participants agreed that the intended meeting should be a comprehensive meeting in viewing Sudan’s issues. The first and most important issue to be discussed is availing freedoms as an entrance to discuss all the issues facing Sudan. Secondly, the importance of conducting a free and fair referendum as scheduled, and with the support and participation of all political forces in order to have the referendum done in a peaceful manner in case of unity or separation. The meeting also tackled the importance of a comprehensive and just peace in Darfur.”

After the April elections, the leaders of the opposition parties rejected to participate in the current government, claiming that the NCP rigged the elections.
Salva Kiir & Sadiq al-Mahdi

Photo: First Vice President Salva Kiir (L) welcomes leader of the opposition Umma Party and former prime minister Sadiq al-Mahdi in Khartoum, Thursday, 22 July 2010. (Reuters/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah)

Salva Kiir & Hassan al-Turabi

Photo: First Vice President Salva Kiir (R) talks to the leader of the Islamic opposition Popular Congress Party (PCP) Hassan al-Turabi during a meeting with opposition leaders in Khartoum, Thursday, 22 July 2010. (Reuters/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah)

Bashir's meeting with opposition postponed indefinitely
ACCORDING to a report published by SRS on Monday, 26 July 2010, the meeting between the National opposition parties and the ruling the National Congress Party has been postponed until further notice. The Minister of Information in the national government, Dr. Kamal Obeid, said that the meeting has been postponed to give time for more preparations. Obeid spoke to SRS from Khartoum on Sunday, 25 July 2010. Click here to visit SRS and read full story.

Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir

Photo: Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir steps off the plane from Chad, in Khartoum, Friday, 23 July 2010. (Reuters/Mohamed Nurdldin Abdallh)

Kiir & Bashir

Photo: Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir (R) is welcomed by First Vice President Salva Kiir Mayardit (L) as he steps off the plane from Chad, in Khartoum, Friday, 23 July 2010. (Reuters/Mohamed Nurdldin Abdallh)

Kiir & Bashir

Sudan hails Bashir trip to Chad as 'victory' against ICC
Report from AFP by Guillaume Lavallee (Khartoum), Friday, 23 July 2010 - excerpt:
[...] Bashir arrived in Khartoum at 8:20 pm (1720 GMT) after a two-day visit to Chad seen as a breakthrough after years of proxy warfare between the two countries in Darfur.

He left for Sudan after talks with his Chadian counterpart Idriss Deby Itno, whose villa he had stayed at near Ndjamena airport protected by an impressive security detail.

The summit backed Bashir on Thursday, saying it rejected "all accusations" against him, while Deby called on regional leaders to support the peace process in Sudan and help solve the Darfur crisis.

"Darfur continues to be a source of concern. CEN-SAD refutes all accusations against President Bashir. These accusations do not contribute to bringing peace to this part of Sudan," said CEN-SAD chief Mohamed al-Madani al-Azhari.

"We declare our total support and our solidarity to Sudan and its people," he added, speaking to an audience that included 13 heads of state including Bashir.

The ICC, which has no police and relies on states that support it to carry out arrests, in March last year accused the veteran Sudanese leader of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur, and issued a further arrest mandate for genocide earlier this month.

Chad was strongly criticised by the European Union and human rights groups for its refusal to arrest Bashir.

On Thursday, EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton had urged Chad to arrest him and hand him over to the court based in The Hague to face the charges.

The United States urged Chad to consider "its responsibilities." [...]
African Union asks United Nations to suspend arrest warrants for al-Bashir
Excerpts from a report by Fred Ojambo for Bloomberg, Tuesday, 27 July 2010; 6:45 PM GMT:
The African Union called for the International Criminal Court’s arrest warrants against Sudanese President Umar al-Bashir to be suspended while the continental body carries out a probe into alleged genocide in Darfur.

The Hague-based court earlier this month charged al-Bashir with three counts of genocide against the Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa ethnic groups in the western Sudanese region of Darfur. The court had issued a warrant against al-Bashir in March for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

“We have decided to establish our own mechanism,” AU President Bingu wa Mutharika told reporters today in Kampala at the end of a three-day summit of African leaders. “We are asking the United Nations to suspend for the period of 12 months” the arrest warrants against al-Bashir, he said. [...]

The AU questioned whether the United Nations-backed court has the authority to prosecute al-Bashir. Sudan is not a signatory to the 1998 Rome Statute under which the court was established.

“Let us look at the position of the ICC,” Mutharika said. “Do they have a right to try Sudan which is not a member of the ICC? I think it is something we have to look at.”

Although African countries don’t “condone impunity,” they should carry out their own investigations other than relying on reports by a body which is based outside the continent, he said. [...]

To contact the reporter on this story: Fred Ojambo in Kampala at fojambo@bloomberg.net.
FURTHER READING

Briefing on the African Union summit
Click here to read a briefing from U.S. Department of State by Johnnie Carson, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of African Affairs - and U.S. Ambassador to the African Union Michael Battle - via Teleconference in Washington, DC, Tuesday, 27 July 2010.

Visit to Darfur by U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan
Click here to read a report at the website of U.S. Department of State entitled 'Visit to Darfur' by U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan Scott Gration, Monday, 26 July 2010.

Sudan update - U.S. Department of State, 10 July 2010
Click here to read a report at the website of U.S. Department of State entitled “We Must Not, Will Not Lose Sight of Darfur” by U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan Scott Gration, 10 July 2010.

Security situation update
Russian pilot missing in Darfur copter incident‎
Report from Associated Press by Edith M. Lederer, Wednesday, 28 July 2010 - excerpt:
A Russian-owned helicopter that landed in the wrong place in Darfur has been recovered with all the passengers and crew except the Russian pilot, the top international envoy in the volatile Sudanese region said Tuesday.

Ibrahim Gambari, the joint representative of the United Nations and African Union, said peacekeepers from the U.N.-AU force in Darfur are working with the Sudanese government and rebel movements to locate the missing pilot and "see to his release."

The helicopter, which was assigned to the U.N.-AU force, disappeared Monday while transporting three members of the rebel Liberation Justice Movement from peace negotiations with the government in Doha, Qatar, to locations in South Darfur, Gambari said. He spoke with reporters after briefing the U.N. Security Council in New York.

Early Tuesday, Gambari said, the peacekeeping force, known as UNAMID, made contact with three of the four crew on the helicopter and an international staff member.

They reported that they were at a Sudanese government location south of Menawashi in South Darfur, he said.

Gambari said a UNAMID helicopter went to the site with another pilot who flew the helicopter, the crew and passengers to safety.

"Apparently, they landed in what was the wrong place, and it seems that it was a place not fully in control of the government," he said.

"The good news is the government took it very seriously and worked with us and we retrieved the helicopter and everybody except the captain," Gambari said.

Russia's Foreign Ministry said in a statement earlier Tuesday that four Russians and five Sudanese nationals were aboard the helicopter, which it said had been seized Monday [26 July] by rebels. It said the men were not hurt.

Gambari told the Security Council on Tuesday that there has been "a spike in criminal acts and attacks against U.N. and humanitarian personnel" in Darfur.

In 2009, he said, UNAMID peacekeepers were attacked on 28 occasions resulting in 10 deaths and 26 injuries, and two UNAMID personnel and six humanitarian workers were kidnapped. [...]
Abducted" Russian chopper returns to base: airline
Report from Xinhua, Tuesday, 27 July 2010:
(Moscow) - Russian airline UTair on Tuesday claimed that a helicopter belonging to the company that was previously reported to have been abducted by militants in Sudanese region of Darfur has returned to its permanent base.

"The helicopter with its crew on board returned to its permanent base, the community of Nyala, Sudan, at 7:39 p.m. Moscow time (1539 GMT) on July 27," said the company as quoted by the Interfax news agency.

"No one among the crew members and passengers has been harmed, and the aircraft has not been damaged," it added.

Earlier in the day Russian Foreign Ministry said Darfur militants abducted the helicopter with four Russian crew members and five Sudanese passengers on board on Monday.

The helicopter was on a joint peacekeeping mission of the United Nations and the African Union in Darfur.

However, according to the airline, the Mi-8MTV chopper was seized by Sudanese authorities after landing for a stopover on Sudanese territory.

"UN employees are investigating the incident. The UTair airline, along with the Russian Embassy and UN officials in Sudan, is taking the necessary measures to clarify the situation," said the company. Editor: yan
27 Jul 10 - Security situation update
Report from UN-AU Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) - Tuesday, 27 July 2010:
27 July 2010 - Two aid workers from the German government’s disaster relief organization, Technisches Hilfswerk (THW), have been released after 35 days in captivity. They were picked up safely today near Kabkabiya, North Darfur, by a UNAMID helicopter and taken to Nyala, South Darfur. Both are reportedly in good health.

In Kalma Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp, five IDP sheikhs (leaders) who fled to UNAMID’s local police center on 25 July remain in the Mission’s facility at the camp. They had sought refuge after allegedly receiving threats for opposing the Doha negotiations.

Tensions are high in the camp after fighting broke out on 24 July between IDP representatives who attended the latest round of Doha talks and those who did not participate. One person was injured, but no fatalities were reported. Two suspects were also arrested by the Sudanese authorities for the attempted assault of a sheikh who attended the conference.

UNAMID has increased its presence in the camp and is working with community leaders and local authorities to help resolve the situation.
26 Jul 10 - Security situation update
Report from UN-AU Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) - Monday, 26 July 2010:
26 July 2010 - The situation in Kalma Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp is calm but remains tense following events on 24 July when gunmen identifying themselves as members of the Sudan Liberation Army-Abdul Wahid faction (SLA-AW) began shooting indiscriminately, protesting the involvement of several IDP leaders in the Doha talks. Although no fatalities were reported, one person was injured. UNAMID has increased its presence in the camp and is working in collaboration with local authorities and community leaders to defuse tensions.

No further incidents have been reported in the past 24 hours.
Kalma IDP camp leaders threatened over Doha participation
Report from UN-AU Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) - Sunday, 25 July 2010:
25 July 2010 - Sporadic shooting was heard around midnight yesterday at Kalma Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp, in South Darfur. According to UNAMID police, gunmen identifying themselves as members of the Sudan Liberation Army-Abdul Wahid faction (SLA-AW) began shooting indiscriminately from about 0020 hours until 0130 hours.

Kalma camp has over 100,000 IDPs and is the second largest in the world after Graida camp in South Darfur. Tensions had been rising in the settlement since the conclusion of the latest round of Doha talks last week, with a number of IDPs claiming that they were not fully represented.

One person sustained a gunshot injury, but no fatalities have been reported. Two suspects have been arrested by the authorities for the attempted assault of a sheikh (tribal leader). Five sheikhs have sought refuge this morning at UNAMID’s nearby location, fearing for their lives. UNAMID peacekeepers have increased their patrols in the area and the Mission is currently negotiating with the camp’s leaders to prevent a further escalation of violence.

Two hundred and fifty representatives of Darfur’s civil society attended the negotiations, which began on 12 July. The 60 representatives of IDPs and refugees had been in Doha, Qatar, since 27 June to attend a separate two-day meeting held the next day aimed at addressing their concerns. All envoys were elected by their constituents after months of deliberation, gatherings and training workshops, many of which were facilitated by UNAMID.
Ardamata IDPs report harassment, seizure of farmland
Report from UN-AU Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) - Sunday, 25 July 2010:
25 July 2010 - Leaders in Ardamata IDP camp, near El Geneina, West Darfur, have approached UNAMID with reports that a number of residents who left the camps to cultivate crops on their lands were harassed by armed men.

IDPs claimed that they were physically assaulted in four locations less than 10 kilometers outside El Geneina. The armed men reportedly destroyed the seedlings and replanted the farmlands, having claimed them as their own.

With the beginning of the rainy season this month, IDPs all over Darfur have received seeds and farm tools and many felt safe enough to leave the camps regularly to farm their lands. UNAMID brought the matter to the attention of local authorities and will meet with them about helping to prevent similar incidents in the future in order to encourage IDPs to voluntarily return to their regions.
Sudanese singer and Darfur native, Omer Ihsas, performs the final match of the Nelson Mandela Cup, organized by UNAMID in El Fasher, Darfur, western Sudan

Abu Shouk

Photo: Football players from Abu Shouk playing the final match of the Nelson Mandela Cup, organized by UNAMID. (Albert Gonzalez Farran/UNAMID)

Omer Ihsas

Photo: Sudanese singer and Darfur native, Omer Ihsas, performs the final match of the Nelson Mandela Cup, organized by UNAMID in El Fasher. (Albert Gonzalez Farran/UNAMID)

Abu Shouk

Photo: Football players from Abu Shouk playing the final match of the Nelson Mandela Cup, organized by UNAMID. (Albert Gonzalez Farran/UNAMID)

News from SRS (Sudan Radio Service):

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Ocampo announces ICC's verdict before indictment - Darfur peace talks progress in Doha - Libya will rein in JEM leader - Sudan's Bashir visits Chad

Quotes of the Day
"According to my understanding of the decision, the [International Criminal] Court did not find [Sudanese] President Bashir guilty of these crimes. Rather, it considered that there were reasonable grounds to suppose that he might be guilty. This is an important distinction. While the Prosecutor will argue, in court and in public, that Bashir is guilty, I am surprised that he is announcing a verdict of the Court before there has been an indictment (so far we have an arrest warrant — any indictment will follow a confirmation of charges hearing) let alone a trial." - Dr. Alex de Waal OBE, Making Sense of Sudan, 18 July 2010

“The absence of both the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and the Sudan Liberation Movement of Abdel Wahid at the negotiation table and the ongoing fighting in Darfur are putting at risk the chances for a definitive and stable peace.” - Joint UN-AU mediator Djibril Bassolé, 20 July 2010

"Everything that went on between Chad and Sudan was an accident. We regret it enormously. Now we have turned the page. We are working together for the interest of our two nations." - Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir (Ref: CRIENGLISH.com 22 July 2010 - Sudanese President al-Bashir on 1st Visit abroad since Genocide Warrant)

Source: further details below.
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Joint UN-African Union mediator reports progress in Darfur peace talks
Report from UN News Centre - Wednesday, 21 July 2010 - excerpt:
The negotiations taking place in Doha aimed at bringing an end to the conflict in the Darfur region of Sudan are making good progress, according to the joint United Nations-African Union mediator.
Djibril Bassolé said the talks between the Government of Sudan and some rebel groups are “advancing well” and noted the inclusive nature of the peace process, with Darfur civil society, including internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees, participating actively and constructively.

At the same time, he noted that the main Darfur rebel groups are not participating in the talks in the Qatari capital.

“The absence of both the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and the Sudan Liberation Movement of Abdel Wahid at the negotiation table and the ongoing fighting in Darfur are putting at risk the chances for a definitive and stable peace,” Mr. Bassolé said in a statement issued to the press yesterday after meeting in Juba with Sudan’s First Vice President, Salva Kiir Mayardit.

The mediator said he encouraged Mr. Kiir to help bring all remaining rebel groups to the talks.

He added that ongoing fighting in Darfur is putting at risk the chances for a definitive and stable peace, echoing what Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stated in his latest report on the joint African Union-UN mission in Darfur, known as UNAMID.

Mr. Ban noted that violence flared between Sudanese Government forces and JEM in May, in breach of a cessation of hostilities agreement signed earlier this year, making May the deadliest month since the establishment of UNAMID in 2007.

He urged the Government and JEM to immediately cease their ongoing military confrontations and commit to the peace process, stating that the rebel group’s withdrawal from the Doha talks has undermined the goal of a rapid resolution of the conflict. [...]
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Wanted Sudan's Bashir arrives in Chad
From Reuters - Wednesday, 21 July 2010
(Reporting by Moumine Ngarmbassa; writing by David Lewis)
N'DJAMENA - Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir arrived in Chad Wednesday, the first time he has visited a full member of the global court demanding his arrest for war crimes and genocide.

A Reuters witness saw Bashir exit the plane and be welcomed by Chadian President Idriss Deby.

Sudanese officials have said they are confident Deby would not turn Bashir over to the International Criminal Court, which accuses him of rape, torture and murder in Sudan's remote Darfur region.
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Sudan's President Bashir defies arrest warrant in Chad
Report from BBC News - Wednesday, 21 July 2010 at 21:02 - excerpt:
Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir is visiting neighbouring Chad, in defiance of calls from the International Criminal Court (ICC) for his arrest.

The trip is the first time Mr Bashir has set foot on the soil of a court member since the ICC called for his arrest on war crimes charges in 2009.

Chadian officials said Mr Bashir, who denies the charges, would not be arrested.

Chad and Sudan have often clashed bitterly over the Darfur conflict.

According to the rules of the ICC, which has no police force and relies on member states to make arrests, Chadian forces are required to arrest Mr Bashir during his stay in the country.

Earlier this month, the ICC added genocide to the charges against Mr Bashir.

But the Sudanese president seemed more focused on improvements in relations between the two neighbours than on the possibility of his incarceration.

"Chad and Sudan had a problem in the past. Now this problem is solved. We are brothers," the Associated Press news agency reported him as saying.

During the conflict in Darfur, rebel groups based in both countries have launched attacks on their rivals from behind the sanctuary of their own borders.

Khartoum accused Chad and its President Idriss Deby of supporting anti-government rebels in Darfur.

In turn, Chad insisted that Sudan was backing rebels attempting to overthrow Mr Deby.

However, the two presidents met earlier in 2010 for the first time in six years, announcing they were ready for a full normalisation of ties.

Despite the issue of the ICC charges against Mr Bashir, the international community is pleased the two countries are now getting on, reports the BBC's East Africa correspondent Will Ross, because it potentially increases the chances of ending the long-running conflict in Darfur. [...]
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Security situation in Darfur
Report from United Nations – African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) - via APO (KHARTOUM, Sudan) - Tuesday, 20 July 2010:
Security situation in Darfur
No significant incidents were reported in the past 24 hours.

UK Special Envoy, Ambassador visit UNAMID
A British delegation led by Mr. Michael Ryder, the United Kingdom’s Special Envoy to the Sudan, and Mr. Nicholas Kay, the UK’s Ambassador to the Sudan, today met with UNAMID Joint Special Representative Ibrahim Gambari and other senior mission officials in El Fasher, North Darfur.
The one-day familiarization visit focused primarily on the political and security situation.

UNAMID patrols
UNAMID military forces conducted 101 patrols including routine, short-range, long-range, night and humanitarian escort patrols covering 85 villages and Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps.

UNAMID police advisors conducted 173 patrols in villages and IDP camps.
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Libya's Gaddafi says will rein in Sudanese rebel
Report from Reuters - Monday, 19 July 2010 6:59pm
By Hamid Ould Ahmed (Additional reporting by John Irish in Paris; Writing by Christian Lowe) :
(ALGIERS) - Libya has told a Sudanese rebel leader staying on its territory he must do nothing to jeopardise peace talks in Sudan, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi says in an interview to be broadcast later on Monday.

Gaddafi has come under pressure from Sudan's government to expel Khalil Ibrahim, leader of the Darfur region's rebel Justice and Equality Movement, given refuge in Libya in May.

"He (Ibrahim) has stayed in Libya and all our brothers in Sudan and Chad are right to be sensitive about that," Gaddafi said in an interview with the France 24 television station and radio stations RFI and Monte Carlo.

"We told him that, to serve peace and to lay down arms, it's forbidden for him to issue orders from Libya or make any comments," Gaddafi said in a recording of the interview provided to Reuters.

"There is a group fighting in Sudan and its leader is in Libya and everybody has the right to make links between the one thing and the other," Gaddafi said.

Gaddafi, who last year held the chairmanship of the African Union, also criticised attempts to try Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir at the International Criminal Court for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Countries which back the prosecution "are using international law and the United Nations to carry out official terrorism," Gaddafi said in the interview.

The Justice and Equality Movement was one of two Darfur rebel groups that took up arms against Sudan's government in 2003, accusing it of neglecting the mainly desert territory.

The group was subsequently involved in peace talks with the government in Khartoum but suspended its participation earlier this year.

Sudan has called on Libya to expel Ibrahim, and it said last month it was closing its borders with Libya, citing a need to protect people from attacks by Darfur insurgents.

Ibrahim was given refuge in Libya after Chad, which had previously allowed the rebel movement to use its territory as a base, changed its policy and refused him entry as he returned from a trip to Libya.

The dispute between Sudan and Libya could cast a shadow over the meeting of African Union heads of state, which takes place in the Ugandan capital later this month.
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Ocampo announces a verdict of the ICC before there has been an indictment

Note the following copy of a comment by Alex de Waal (posted at his blog Making Sense of Sudan in reply to commentary by Pieter Tesch entitled Prosecutor’s African Roadshow Keeps on Muddling Through) regarding an opinion piece authored by ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo (posted at guardian.co.uk "Comment is Free" Thursday, 15 July 2010 20.30 BST entitled Now end this Darfur denial):
Alex de Waal:
July 18th, 2010 at 5:40 am
Writing in The Guardian, “Comment is Free”, on 15 July, Luis Moreno Ocampo asserted, “The genocide is not over.” He went on:
“the court found that Bashir’s forces have raped on a mass scale in Darfur. … The court also found that Bashir is deliberately inflicting on the Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa ethnic groups living conditions calculated to bring about their physical destruction. Millions of Darfuris are living in camps for displaced persons and, at the disposal of Bashir’s forces, experiencing an ongoing genocide.”

According to my understanding of the decision, the Court did not find President Bashir guilty of these crimes. Rather, it considered that there were reasonable grounds to suppose that he might be guilty. This is an important distinction. While the Prosecutor will argue, in court and in public, that Bashir is guilty, I am surprised that he is announcing a verdict of the Court before there has been an indictment (so far we have an arrest warrant — any indictment will follow a confirmation of charges hearing) let alone a trial.
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From SRS (Sudan Radio Service)
Wednesday, 21 July 2010


From The New York Times -

Headlines Around the Web

What's This?
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

JULY 17, 2010

Sudan Says Troops Kill Hundreds of Darfur Rebels

MICK HARTLEY

JULY 16, 2010

Experiencing an Ongoing Genocide

NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF: ON THE GROUND

JULY 16, 2010

The Security Council Sits on its Hands

THE GUARDIAN

JULY 15, 2010

Now end this Darfur denial

CBSNEWS.COM

JULY 15, 2010

Sudan Expels 2 Foreign Aid Workers In Darfur

More at Blogrunner »

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Friday, July 16, 2010

Sudan: AU statement re ICC genocide decision - Darfur peace talks in Doha suspended indefinitely

THE African Union (AU), once again, urges the United Nations Security Council to assume its responsibilities and act on the call for the deferral of the process initiated by the ICC against President Omar Hassan Al Bashir in the interest of peace, justice.

I say, people have not done enough learning about Sudan if by now they do not agree with the above or understand and share the African Union's conviction (see communiqué below) that the new and untimely decision by the ICC and its action in general on Sudan are counterproductive, and will complicate the ongoing efforts and increase the risk of instability, with far-reaching consequences for Sudan, the region and Africa as a whole.

Sad to note yesterday's news report (see below) from SRS: "Doha talks suspended indefinitely". However, according to SRS and Voice of America News reports on Thursday (see copy below), a leading member of the Darfur-based Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) says his rebel group will soon send a delegation to hold consultations with southern Sudan’s President Salva Kiir but it is not clear if the NCP will accept Mr Kiir’s mediation.

Quotes of the Day
"The Chairperson of the [African Union] Commission notes that neither the United Nations International Commission of Inquiry, nor the former AU Mission in Sudan (AMIS) and the AU/UN Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) upheld the accusation of genocide in Darfur." Source: AU communiqué, 16 July 2010 (see copy below)
“Peace must not be held hostage to a group or movement or one party. Peace efforts must continue." Source: A negotiator for the LJM, Taj eldin Niam, 14 July 2010 (see SRS report below "Doha talks suspended indefinitely")
AUC's concern over genocide decision
  • The Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union (AU) expresses deep concern about the new decision of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Pre-Trial Chamber I on Sudan and its impact on the ongoing peace processes in Sudan.
  • The AU is of the conviction that this new and untimely decision by the ICC and its action in general on Sudan are counterproductive, and will complicate the ongoing efforts and increase the risk of instability, with far-reaching consequences for Sudan, the region and Africa as a whole.
  • The Chairperson of the AU Commission discussed with the President of the ICC bilateral co-operation.
Source: Two communiqués issued by the AU today (16 July) - see copy below.

Communiqué
From the African Union
Addis Ababa - Friday, 16 July 2010:
The Chairperson of the Commission expresses deep concern about the new decision of the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber I on Sudan and its impact on the ongoing peace processes in Sudan

The Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union (AU) has learned of the decision of Pre-Trial Chamber I of the International Criminal Court (ICC), which, following an application by the ICC Prosecutor, issued a second warrant of arrest against the Sudanese President Omer Hassan Al-Bashir, on charges of genocide.

This decision, which confirms AUJs previous concerns, came at a particular time marked by progress in the democratic transformation of the Sudan, following the April 2010 general elections, and renewed efforts towards the completion of the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), including the holding of the self-determination referendum in South Sudan and negotiations on post-referendum arrangements, as well as towards the search for a lasting and inclusive political solution to the crisis in Darfur.

The decision also comes at a time when the AU, through the African Union High Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP), is carrying out consultations with the Government of Sudan and other stakeholders on how best to proceed with the implementation of the recommendations put forward by the AU High-Level Panel on Darfur (ALIPD) on justice, reconciliation and healing. These efforts are informed by the AUJs commitment to fighting impunity, in line with its Constitutive Act and other relevant instruments.

The Chairperson of the Commission notes that neither the United Nations International Commission of Inquiry, nor the former AU Mission in Sudan (AMIS) and the AU/UN Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) upheld the accusation of genocide in Darfur.

The AU is of the conviction that this new and untimely decision by the ICC and its action in general on Sudan are counterproductive, and will complicate the ongoing efforts and increase the risk of instability, with far-reaching consequences for Sudan, the region and Africa as a whole.

It is against this background that the AU, once again, urges the United Nations Security Council to assume its responsibilities and act on the call for the deferral of the process initiated by the ICC against President Omar Hassan Al Bashir in the interest of peace, justice.
Communiqué
From the African Union
Addis Ababa - Friday, 16 July 2010:
The Chairperson of the Commission Discussed with the President of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Bilateral Cooperation

During a recent visit to Addis Ababa, the President of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Judge Sang Hyun Song was received by the Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union, H.E. Dr. Jean Ping.

The two parties exchanged views on ways and means to strengthen cooperation between their respective institutions on the basis of their common value of ending impunity and bring about lasting peace.

In this context, the Chairperson expressed readiness to explore the possibility of establishing an ICC Liaison Office in Addis Ababa, proposal made by the President of the Court during this meeting.
Source: African Union
P. O. Box 3243 Addis Ababa, ETHIOPIA
Telephone (251-11) 551 77 00 Fax (251-11) 551 93 21
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Hat tip: Making Sense of Sudan, Friday, 16 July 2010 - What Is the Position of the AU on the ICC?
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News from SRS - Sudan Radio Service

Thursday, 15 July 2010

  • 15 July 2010 - (Doha) – The peace talks between the government of the Sudan and the Liberation and Justice Movement or LJM in Doha is suspended until further notice.

    The government’s head of delegation, Omer Adam Rahama, spoke to Sudan Radio Service from Al-Doha on Wednesday.

    [Omer Adam Rahama]: “Now the negotiation will stop for a certain period, I can’t say until when but it will stop and the objective is to give a chance to those not attending the talks to attend the negotiations. This is to give a chance to mediators and the international community to communicate with the groups who have not participated - particularly the Justice and Equality Movement and Abdulwahid and others so they can join the peace process.”

    A negotiator for the LJM, Taj eldin Niam, suggested that the peace talks continue.

    [Taj eldin Niam]: “Peace must not be held hostage to a group or movement or one party. Peace efforts must continue. But negotiation could be stopped for a temporary period for more consultations. We are not against that. The LJM suggested to the mediators to communicate with Abdulwahid and Khalil to commit and move to Al-Doha. So we don’t have any objection if mediators suspended the negotiation. We can go to the field and other places to disseminate awareness and communicate with refugees and the displaced. We don’t object, the moment they come, we will continue."

    Speaking to Sudan Radio Service from Cairo, JEM official Mansour Arbab Younis said they will not participate in the Doha talks even if it is delayed.

    [Mansour Arbab Younis]: “The movement will not participate in a chaotic forum, an unjust forum like Doha. The government, mediators and the host country are just making public relations in order to prolong the talks, but the movement is now seriously looking for an alternative forum. We may have arrived at a decision and a new forum could be announced soon.”

    Mansour Arbab Younis was speaking to Sudan Radio Service from Cairo on Thursday.

  • 15 July 2010 - (Khartoum) – The first Vice President and the President of the Government of Southern Sudan Salva Kiir will mediate in attempt to convince the two major Darfur anti-government groups to join peace talks with the government.

    The SPLM deputy secretary general -northern sector, Yasir Arman made the statement during a press conference in Khartoum on Wednesday.

    He said that Salva’s move follows an appeal by the AU-UN joint mediator Djibril Bassoli.

    [Yasir Arman]: “ The First Vice President, the President of the Government of Southern Sudan and the Chairman of the SPLM has received an appeal from Djibril Bassole, the chief mediator of the African Union and United Nations for Darfur, and the chairman of the SPLM decided that the SPLM is going to be fully involved in bringing peace to Darfur, and that he is going to contact Doctor Khalil Ibrahim, the leader of the Justice and Equality Movement and Abdulwahid Mohammed Nur, the leader of the Sudan Liberation Movement and to ask them to send delegations to Juba and that he personally and the SPLM would be involved in trying to strengthen the search for a comprehensive and a just peace in Darfur.”

    The Darfur anti-government group, the Justice and Equality Movement, has welcomed the SPLM’s initiative.

    A senior JEM official, Mansour Arbab Younis, spoke to SRS on Thursday from Cairo.

    [Mansour Arbab Younis]: “Regarding the communication between comrade Salva and the leader of JEM, Dr. Khalil Ibrahim, we think that it is a good move. We will accept the efforts of the SPLM chairman, brother Salva Kiir, and soon the two leaders will meet. We are welcoming this expected meeting.”

    Earlier, the SPLM said that it will distance itself from engaging in Darfur peace talks, accusing the NCP of neglecting the SPLM views and dictating their own vision to solve the conflict.

    JEM suspended talks with the government in May claiming that the government had violated the ceasefire agreement signed between the two parties in February, while Abdulwahid has refused to engage in any peace talks with the government.

    However on Tuesday, Qatar officials and the joint mediation team have decided to suspend the Doha talks between the government and the Liberation Movement for Justice talks.

    The mediators say that in order to reach a comprehensive peace agreement, all parties in Darfur should be involved.


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Sudan Rebel Group Welcomes Salva Kiir's Mediation Role


Voice of America - Peter Clottey - Thursday, 15 July 2010:
A leading member of the Darfur-based Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) says his rebel group will soon send a powerful delegation to hold consultations with south Sudan’s President Salva Kiir.

JEM’s spokesman Ahmed Aden welcomed Mr. Kiir’s decision to act as mediator for an upcoming peace talks between his group, President Omar Hassan al-Bashir’s dominant National Congress Party (NCP), and the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) as well as other Darfur-based rebel groups.

“We welcome it, and I think that President Salva Kiir is in a good position to have [a] successful initiative in this because he has good relations with all the others and all the conflicting parties. We hope that the NCP [will] be wise enough and to have a positive reaction and a positive move to also welcome this move,” he said.

It is however not clear if the NCP will accept Mr. Kiir’s mediation.

Early this year, JEM withdrew from talks with President Bashir’s government after accusing the administration of attacking its positions in Darfur’s western region in the midst of negotiations.

JEM’s chief negotiator Ahmed Tugod said his group was “freezing the talks to protest the government’s cease-fire violation including airstrikes and attacks by ground troops”.

The rebel group also announced its refusal to abide by two previous agreements it signed with the government.

The government is currently holding talks with Justice and Liberty Movement, another Darfur-based rebel group in Qatar’s capital, Doha. The talks are aimed at reaching a peace deal by mid-July.

But, JEM’s spokesman Aden said there would not be peace in Darfur without the full participation of his group.

“There is a deadlock now in Doha. Doha failed completely to help the conflicting parties to reach any kind of agreement. The humanitarian situation on the ground is worsening every day. The NCP and the regime in Khartoum want to [impede] some of the aid workers and make a lot of restrictions on the ground, harassing the IDP’s [internally Displaced People]. So, the situation is very bad… as in 2004 and 2005,” Aden said.

Salva Kiir, who doubles as Sudan’s first vice president, decided to take a personal role in resolving the ongoing Darfur conflict after Djibril Bassole, the joint U.N./African Union mediator asked him to help resolve the crisis.

Mr. Kiir is expected to persuade the rebel groups to join another round of peace talks to resolve the Darfur crisis.

Aden said only a political solution could help resolve the Darfur crisis.

“I think that President Salva Kiir has the ability to help the conflicting parties so that we can find exit strategies to the stalemate and to the deadlock which we are having right now in Darfur and in Sudan in general,” Aden said.

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