Monday, June 27, 2022

Russian Wagner mercenaries in South Darfur, Sudan after attacks on gold miners

From: Radio

Published Sunday 26 June 2022 

Darfur Bar Association: Russian Wagner mercenaries in South Darfur after attacks on gold miners

The Darfur Bar Association (DBA) has confirmed the presence of Russian ‘Wagner’* mercenaries in South Darfur, which it claims to have documented ‘since last year’. The mercenaries are specifically accused of attacks on artisanal gold miners in Um Dafug locality, close to the border with the Central African Republic (CAR).

In a statement on Friday, the DBA says that it has documented pictures of mercenaries in cafes and in the streets and valleys of Um Dafug, and has heard testimony from relatives of people in South Darfur who were allegedly killed by Wagner mercenary elements in the border areas with CAR.

In its statement, the DBA places moral responsibility on “everyone involved in granting concessions to companies and the Rapid Support Forces for gold mining in the Sengo area in exchange for a share supplied by the Central Bank of Sudan” for “allowing companies to exploit the wealth of the area’s residents without their participation.”

The DBA cites as an example the exploitation of gold in the Sengo area “under the cover of obtaining the concession and supplying the state’s share to the Central Bank".

The RSF, commanded by Deputy Chairman of Sudan’s Sovereignty Council Gen Mohamed Hamdan ‘Hemeti’ Dagalo, has long been associated with the control of gold mining in Darfur.

The RSF has built up a vast business empire that captures not only a large part of the country’s gold industry but also has huge interests in many sectors of the Sudanese economy. The anti-corruption NGO Global Witness published a report in 2019 about the financial networks behind the RSF.

According to political analyst Magdi El Gizouli, Hemeti’s visit to Russia in March this year was “arranged by the Russian Wagner mercenaries in order to find a way out for their ally in Sudan, and to ensure his continuation in power so that they can continue to plunder the country’s resources”.

The Sudanese Company for Mineral Resources announced last week that it provided the state treasury with more than 45 million dollars in ten days, an unprecedented amount. The company said in a press statement that it was able to procure roughly 100,200 kilograms of gold from the traditional stock exchange in the Gold Building in Khartoum.

Gold mining in Sudan

The current amount of gold prepared for export is unprecedentedly high as the company procured more gold in ten days than is usually exported by the country in one year.

At the moment, Sudan contributes roughly 90 tonnes of gold to the global market per year, making it the 10th largest gold producer in the world. Most of this gold is mined in the Hassai Gold Mine in Red Sea state, where iron ore and other base metals are also mined.

Gold can also be found in North and South KordofanDarfurNorthern SudanRiver Nile state, and other places along the Nile River and Blue Nile River. Other mineral reserves in the country include chromite, gypsum, phosphates, zinc, lead, nickel, aluminium, and cobalt.

Stiffer control

Gold export is important for Sudan’s economy. In an interview with Radio Dabanga’s Sudan Today programme, Professor of Economics at El Nilein University in Khartoum Dr Hasan Bashir explained that export volumes could have been 10 times the size of current exports and highlighted the continued smuggling of large quantities of gold from the country.

Sudan is the second largest gold producer in Africa. The production however is often driven by unregulated, artisanal (individual subsistence) mining, and routine gold smuggling across international borders is a constant problem. Estimates are that between 50 per cent and 80 per cent of Sudan’s gold is smuggled out of the country. It is also known that proceeds have been used to finance the internal conflict.

To combat this problem, the Central Bank of Sudan announced stiffer control measures in March this year.

* The Wagner Group is a Russian paramilitary organisation, variously described as a private military company, a network of mercenaries, or a de facto private army of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Darfur: Sudan's Janjaweed on the attack again

NOTE from Sudan Watch editor: Further to a news report from The Telegraph reprinted here at Sudan Watch yesterday (Tue 23 May), the following report from BBC News dated 4 weeks ago, states that: 

"A major city in Sudan's Darfur region has been under fierce attack - days after thousands of people arrived there seeking safety after their own town was set ablaze by horse-riding Arab militias known as Janjaweed. 

For the first time in Geneina's history, the hospital has been completely evacuated. All health institutions in the city are closed," the country's Central Committee for Sudanese Doctors says on Twitter.

Even during the height of the Darfur conflict that started in 2003 - a war that has left about 300,000 people dead and more than two million homeless - Geneina's hospital in West Darfur kept operating.

Darfur is rich in gold - and there are accusations Janjaweed incursions are part of attempts to gain control of more land for prospecting."

Read more below about why Sudan's Janjaweed is on the attack again in Darfur, southwest Sudan. Click on a link in report to see video of a group of men. Yellow highlighting is mine for easy future reference. 

Incidentally, the labels at the end of each post, and a search box in the sidebar here, can be used to search Sudan Watch's archive. Due software improvements over the years, it takes a little time and patience to unearth old reports. In the early years, it was so dangerous reporting on Sudan, I would condense 10-20 reports within a single post so the reports couldn't be picked up by search engines and attract attention. 

From: BBC News [reprinted at Sudan Watch, Tue 24 May 2022]


Published 26 April 2022 

Darfur: Why are Sudan's Janjaweed on the attack again?

IMAGE SOURCE, AFP. Caption, Rapid Support Forces expanded out of the Janjaweed and some of its members have been involved in the recent violence

A major city in Sudan's Darfur region has been under fierce attack - days after thousands of people arrived there seeking safety after their own town was set ablaze by horse-riding Arab militias known as Janjaweed.

"For the first time in Geneina's history, the hospital has been completely evacuated. All health institutions in the city are closed," the country's Central Committee for Sudanese Doctors says on Twitter.

Even during the height of the Darfur conflict that started in 2003 - a war that has left about 300,000 people dead and more than two million homeless - Geneina's hospital in West Darfur kept operating.

An aid worker in Geneina told the BBC that he and his colleagues were staying at a safe house and gunfire could be heard across the city.

Many families who already live in camps in the south of the city after fleeing from the Janjaweed in the past are panicking and leaving their makeshift accommodation.

The recent violence began 80km (50 miles) east of Geneina in Kreinik on Friday and more than 200 have been killed in clashes.

What sparked the clashes?

The fighting was caused by a dispute between Arab nomads and members of the Massalit community, who have clashed over land for decades.

It began after two Arab nomads were killed near Kreinik, a town that has become home to many displaced ethnic black Massalit communities over the last two decades - people who were driven from their rural villages by Janjaweed raids.

IMAGE SOURCE, GETTY IMAGES. Caption, Many people have been driven out of their settlements over the last two decades

In retaliation for the nomads' deaths, early on Friday morning Arab fighters raided Kreinik, leaving nine people dead and 16 injured.

Then on Sunday, a more co-ordinated attack was launched, this time backed by Sudan's Rapid Support Force (RSF), a paramilitary force that grew out of the Janjaweed.

The attackers arrived in 4x4 vehicles mounted with machine guns, known as "technicals", motorbikes, camels and horses, a statement issued by the Kreinik Voluntary Youth group said.

An unverified video shared on social media shows a large group of Arab fighters on pick-up trucks and motorcycles as they set on their way to attack. Men in RSF fatigues could be seen in the clip.

The town was set alight and local sources said schools and clinics were not spared - six teachers were killed in the raid.

A hospital supported by the medical charity Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) was targeted.

"Three people, including two medical workers, were killed. The hospital´s pharmacy was also looted," MSF said in a statement.

Why didn't the security forces stop the attack?

For many years, UN peacekeepers were trying to keep the peace, but they withdrew at the end of 2020 after their mandate expired - their presence resented across the divides. But even when they were deployed, they would not have been able to stop an attack of this ferocity.

Maintaining peace and security in Darfur is now supposed to be carried out by a joint force made up of the police, army, the RSF and the rebel groups which signed a peace deal in 2020.

But behind the scenes - they are all have competing ambitions and in no way represent a united front.

For example, the police have many non-Arab Massalit members and the RSF has many former Janjaweed members - some of whom have been caught up in the recent fighting.

The local unit tasked with protecting Kreinik withdrew from its positions before the attack, according to local activists.

Why did the fighting spread to Geneina?

The Janjaweed and RSF were chasing a group of fighters from Kreinik to Geneina - and it led to the rampaging of the hospital and general chaos as ethnic tensions flared.

IMAGE SOURCE, BBC. Caption, Geneina is the traditional capital of the Massalit kingdom - a symbol of black power in Darfur, so is viewed with disdain by the Janjaweed, who have been accused of ethnic cleansing in Darfur.

Conflict first erupted in Darfur in 2003 when mostly non-Arabs took up arms against the government, complaining about discrimination and a lack of development.

The government retaliated by mobilising Janjaweed to fight the rebels, unleashing violence that caused global outrage that led to the deployment of peacekeepers and international arrest warrants.

It is the third time Geneina has come under attack since 2019 - a time of change for the country as Omar al-Bashir was ousted as president after nearly 30 years in power.

In March this year violent clashes left dozens dead and injured as well as several villages burnt in the Jebel Moon area to the north of Geneina.

Darfur is rich in gold - and there are accusations Janjaweed incursions are part of attempts to gain control of more land for prospecting.

Adam Rajal - a spokesman for the IDPs Co-ordination Committee, a group that liaises between all the camps for those who have fled their home since 2003 - suggests it is also an attempt to dismantle the camps.

He implies that perpetrators of alleged war crimes in Darfur are worried by the fate of a former Janjaweed leader whose trial has recently begun at the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Ali Muhammad Ali Abd-al-Rahman, also known as Ali Kushayb, denies charges of committing crimes against humanity. He is the first person to be tried by the ICC over the conflict - and Bashir too is wanted by the court for war crimes and genocide, which he denies.

"The target is to depopulate towns and dismantle the camps… these IDP camps are the most visible proof of the crimes of genocide, ethnic cleansing, crimes against humanity and the war crimes perpetrated by the previous regime," says Mr Rajal.

Why is the RSF so powerful?

The governor of Darfur's regional government Minni Minawi, a former rebel leader, has accused the authorities in Khartoum of not doing enough to rein in the RSF.

But the paramilitary force wields a lot of power in the junta, and its leader Lt-Gen Mohamed Hamdan "Hemeti" Dagolo, is Sudan's deputy leader.

Originally a Chadian Arab, he grew up in Darfur - and has expanded the RSF's membership to include fighters from across the country.

Observers say he is also using the inter-communal violence in Darfur to further his political ambitions.

The Janjaweed has long been accused of recruiting Arab fighters from Chad and other Sahel countries - encouraging them to bring their families as part of attempts to change the political constituency in Darfur.

Gen Hemeti has never commented on the allegations or on the recent violence in West Darfur, but in his public statements he calls for Darfur's diverse communities to live in peace.

More on the Darfur conflict:

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Monday, May 23, 2022

Is Darfur sliding back into hell? Spate of violence in ‘ungovernable’ Darfur, Sudan stokes fears of war

NOTE from Sudan Watch editor: Sadly, here we are again… (Thanks CW!) 

Is Darfur sliding back into hell? 

Spate of violence in ‘ungovernable’ region stokes fears of war. 

Hopes for lasting peace scatter as the region barrels towards a series of tit for tat tribal attacks – a grim echo of a not-so-distant past. 

A local power struggle is ongoing in Darfur. 

As the Sudanese currency tanks, the control of gold supplies has become incredibly important and many experts believe that Hemeti is the most powerful man in the country. 

He is also perhaps Russia’s top ally in the region, and spent a week in Moscow at the beginning of the Ukraine invasion. Read more:

Tens of thousands of people have been displaced – a grim echo of the past

From: The Telegraph, UK


Published Monday 23 May 2022; 4:21pm

Is Darfur sliding back into hell? Spate of violence in ‘ungovernable’ region stokes fears of war

Hopes for lasting peace scatter as the region barrels towards a series of tit for tat tribal attacks – a grim echo of a not-so-distant past

It was the first genocide of the 21st century. A once peaceful land governed by traditional leaders split along tribal fissures and turned into a killing field the size of France. Some 300,000 people were shot, brutalised or starved to death.

After two decades of horrors in Iraq, Syria, Myanmar, Ethiopia and now Ukraine, the name Darfur has fallen out of the international consciousness – a distant memory of famished children and men on horseback with Kalashnikovs that the world would rather forget.

But last month, events in southwestern Sudan scattered hopes of a lasting peace and sent Darfur barrelling towards a series of tit for tat tribal attacks.

On April 22, the small town of Kreinik and some 16 villages around it in the West Darfur region were surrounded by hundreds of armed men. Some came on horses, others on motorbikes or in Toyotas decked out with high calibre machine guns.

The men came from the Arab Reizegat tribe. The townsfolk were mainly members of the black ethnic Massalit community. Two Arabs had been recently killed in the town and the gunmen were out for revenge.

The attackers went on a killing spree and then stormed into the Geneina, the region’s capital. The UN said more than 1,000 armed Reizegats swept into the town. According to the governor of the region, the vastly outgunned regular government forces withdrew into the local garrison.

The Reizegats pillaged the town and by the time it was all over, some 200 people had been shot or butchered including medical staff at the main hospital. Tens of thousands had been displaced, a grim echo of a not-so-distant past.

“It is destined to continue and escalate. I don’t expect the violence to subside any time soon. Darfur is ungovernable right now for any armed security force,” said Suliman Baldo, at the International Centre for Transitional Justice and a top expert on Darfur. But why now? Why is Darfur slipping backwards after years of peace negotiations and tens of billions of dollars spent on peacekeeping and humanitarian efforts?

Unresolved tribal competition

The borderland area between Sudan, South Sudan, Chad and the Central African Republic is probably the most ungoverned space on earth. Much of what’s going on is a mystery – but there are clearly several factors at play behind the spate of violence.

First, a local power struggle is ongoing. While Darfuri history and communal relations defy simplistic stereotypes, a key factor at the root of the recent spate of violence is a longstanding and unresolved tribal competition for access to resources, according to Mr Baldo.

Darfur is not the endless barren desert portrayed in glossy NGO brochures pleading for funding. Parts of the region are incredibly wealthy with good pasture, arable land and vast quantities of gold.

As Sudan’s tattered economy struggles with global shocks of the pandemic, war in Ukraine and a regional drought, competition over these scarce resources is increasing.

“This is strongly reminiscent of the conflict we’ve seen in Darfur before running along tribal and racial fissures,” said Jonas Horner, an independent expert on Sudan. “The root causes of those conflicts were never addressed.”

Events some 700 miles away in the Sudanese capital are also playing a major role.

For much of the last century, Darfur has been a periphery area that elites in the bustling metropole Khartoum have tried to dominate for resources. The current situation in Khartoum is tense and experts say power struggles are spilling out into the periphery.

Sudan’s old Islamist dictator, Omar al-Bashir – who once played different Darfuri groups against each other and terrorised Darfur with bands of Arab janjaweed militiamen – was swept away in a revolution in 2019 after almost four decades in power.

A liberal former UN-staffer, Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, was charged with guiding Sudan along the road to full democracy as part of a complex transitional government. But he was ousted in a coup in October 2021.

Now two major groups are tussling for control. On one hand, is the Sudanese Armed Force (SAF), headed up by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan – who is now the de-facto head of state and in many ways represents the old interests of the old centralised elites.

On the other hand there is Hemeti, a Darfuri warlord from the same Arab Reizegat tribe who carried out last month’s massacre. Hemeti heads up a well-armed militia movement called the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), which was formed out of the old janjaweed raiders and controls some of Darfur’s major gold mining areas.

Locked in a simmering struggle

As the Sudanese currency tanks, the control of gold supplies has become incredibly important and many experts believe that Hemeti is the most powerful man in the country. He is also perhaps Russia’s top ally in the region, and spent a week in Moscow at the beginning of the Ukraine invasion.

Both the SAF and RSF are locked in a simmering struggle which keeps coming perilously close to outright conflict. There are multiple eyewitnesses and media reports indicating that uniformed RSF soldiers supported the Rizeigat Arabs when they attacked the Massalit last month.

Even though the SAF forces have a duty to protect Sudanese civilians, they did not want to confront the RSF in Darfur – most probably because it could have escalated into an even larger fight.

Mr Baldo said the recent attacks shows just how incompetent and ethnicised Sudan’s security forces are, and how little control the Sudanese state has in rural areas.

“The massacre is an indictment of the military-led government in Khartoum, in place since the October 25, 2021 coup. When the military seized power their claim was that they – as security forces – needed to step in to provide security,” Mr Horner said.

“Recent evidence in Darfur and elsewhere sees them failing completely in their most fundamental task,” he added.

Russian mercenaries could also be a factor in the recent spate of violence. Mercenaries working for the Wagner group are involved in diamond and gold mining in the Central Africa Republic and have been accused of carrying out massacres close to the Sudanese border.

This could be feeding into local power dynamics in the Darfur area, upsetting a complex web of local interests in ways which are not fully understood.

Another factor is Chad. The country’s former dictator Idriss Déby used to be the West’s go-to strong man in Central Africa. Mr Deby’s well-trained desert army helped keep a lid on many of the nastiest groups in the region for years, guaranteeing his dictatorial regime strong Western support.

But since Mr Déby was killed last year, allegedly while fighting with his troops on the frontline, his son Mahamat Idriss Déby has struggled to fill his father's shoes. The Chadian security forces are struggling to exert the same amount of influence in Chad’s borderland areas.

This could, Mr Horner says, be giving oxygen to some of the more violent groups in Darfur.

PHOTO AND CAPTION: Darfur has fallen out of the international consciousness – a distant memory that the world would rather forget CREDIT: Zohra Bensemra/Reuters

PHOTO AND CAPTION: A child refugee from the Darfur region of Sudan pictured at a refugee camp in Chad in 2004 CREDIT: Scott Nelson/Getty Images

PHOTO AND CAPTION: A local power struggle is ongoing in Dafur CREDIT: MARCO LONGARI,/AFP

PHOTO AND CAPTION: Supporters of Sudan's former President Omar Hassan al-Bashir protest in Khartoum in 2008 CREDIT: MOHAMED NURELDIN ABDALLAH /REUTERS

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Friday, January 21, 2022

FULL TEXT: Resolution 1593 (2005) adopted by the UN Security Council at its meeting on 31 March 2005

NOTE from Sudan Watch Editor: Further to the ICC Prosecutor's two statements on Darfur, Sudan (see below) given to the UN Security Council at a meeting of the Council held in New York on Monday 17 January 2022, here below, for easy reference, is a copy of Resolution 1593 (2005) adopted by the Council at its meeting on 31 March 2005.

Links to a copy of the document in downloadable pdf format and available in several languages can be found at the end of this post. I have used yellow to highlight para 8 referenced in the Prosecutor's 34th report dated 17 January 2022 and in the Council's Resolution 1593 (2005).

Sudan Watch Wed 19 Jan 2022: 

Statement of ICC Prosecutor, Karim A.A. Khan QC, to the United Nations Security Council on the Situation in Darfur, pursuant to Resolution 1593 (2005)

Sudan Watch Thu 20 Jan 2022: 

FULL TEXT: ICC 34th report pursuant to para 8 of UNSC resolution 1593 (2005), 17 January 2022


United Nations

Security Council 

Distr.: General 31 March 2005

Resolution 1593 (2005)

Adopted by the Security Council at its 5158th meeting, on 31 March 2005

The Security Council,

Taking note of the report of the International Commission of Inquiry on violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law in Darfur (S/2005/60),

Recalling article 16 of the Rome Statute under which no investigation or prosecution may be commenced or proceeded with by the International Criminal Court for a period of 12 months after a Security Council request to that effect,

Also recalling articles 75 and 79 of the Rome Statute and encouraging States to contribute to the ICC Trust Fund for Victims,

Taking note of the existence of agreements referred to in Article 98-2 of the Rome Statute,

Determining that the situation in Sudan continues to constitute a threat to international peace and security,

Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,
1. Decides to refer the situation in Darfur since 1 July 2002 to the
Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court;

2. Decides that the Government of Sudan and all other parties to the conflict in Darfur, shall cooperate fully with and provide any necessary assistance to the Court and the Prosecutor pursuant to this resolution and, while recognizing that States not party to the Rome Statute have no obligation under the Statute, urges all States and concerned regional and other international organizations to cooperate fully;

3. Invites the Court and the African Union to discuss practical arrangements that will facilitate the work of the Prosecutor and of the Court, including the possibility of conducting proceedings in the region, which would contribute to regional efforts in the fight against impunity;

4. Also encourages the Court, as appropriate and in accordance with the Rome Statute, to support international cooperation with domestic efforts to promote the rule of law, protect human rights and combat impunity in Darfur;

5. Also emphasizes the need to promote healing and reconciliation and encourages in this respect the creation of institutions, involving all sectors of Sudanese society, such as truth and/or reconciliation commissions, in order to complement judicial processes and thereby reinforce the efforts to restore long- lasting peace, with African Union and international support as necessary;

6. Decides that nationals, current or former officials or personnel from a contributing State outside Sudan which is not a party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court shall be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of that contributing State for all alleged acts or omissions arising out of or related to operations in Sudan established or authorized by the Council or the African Union, unless such exclusive jurisdiction has been expressly waived by that contributing State;

7. Recognizes that none of the expenses incurred in connection with the referral including expenses related to investigations or prosecutions in connection with that referral, shall be borne by the United Nations and that such costs shall be borne by the parties to the Rome Statute and those States that wish to contribute voluntarily;

8. Invites the Prosecutor to address the Council within three months of the date of adoption of this resolution and every six months thereafter on actions taken pursuant to this resolution;

9. Decides to remain seized of the matter.


Source: United

View the original document in downloadable pdf format here:







Thursday, January 20, 2022

FULL TEXT: ICC 34th report pursuant to para 8 of UNSC resolution 1593 (2005), 17 January 2022

Report : 17 January 2022



1. On 31 March 2005, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 1593 (2005), referring the Situation in Darfur since 1 July 2002 to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (“ICC” or “Court”). The Security Council invited the Prosecutor to address it every six months on actions taken pursuant to this Resolution. 

2. This is the thirty-fourth report to the Security Council on the activities of the Office of the Prosecutor (“OTP” or “Office”) in the Situation in Darfur, covering the period of July to December 2021. It is the first report of the Prosecutor Karim Asad Ahmad Khan QC to the Security Council under Resolution 1593 (2005) since he assumed office on 16 June 2021. 

3. The Prosecutor reiterates his position that situations referred by the Security Council must be given greater prioritisation. It therefore follows that the Situation in Darfur constitutes an important priority for the Office. Since assuming office, Prosecutor Khan has initiated a comprehensive review of the Darfur file and all cases before the Office, including an assessment of the state of evidence in the cases where the Court has issued warrants of arrest. 

4. The Prosecutor has also commenced a review of the structure, content, and purpose of his reports to the Security Council with a view to more effectively meeting the expectations of the Council and providing a roadmap for the completion of such referrals. 

5. In keeping with his commitment to respect the core principle of complementarity enshrined in the Rome Statute, the Prosecutor further instructed the Office to explore all possibilities and options available under the Rome Statute and Resolution 1593 (2005), to expedite accountability for the crimes subject to the ICC’s jurisdiction committed in Darfur. 

6. In August 2021, immediately upon reviewing the Darfur case files and in light of that review, Prosecutor Khan travelled to Khartoum, Sudan. During that mission, the Prosecutor met with the Sudanese authorities at the highest level to confirm his commitment to delivering justice for victims and survivors in Darfur, and to seek enhanced cooperation from the Government of Sudan to strengthen the evidentiary foundations of the cases for which the Court has issued warrants of arrest. 

7. The Office has undertaken several subsequent missions to Sudan, however recent political and security developments in the country have complicated follow-up investigative initiatives, and this remains a cause for concern moving forward. 

8.  The present report sets out the main developments during the reporting period, including in relation to investigation, cooperation and complementarity strategies to secure justice for the victims of atrocity crimes committed in Darfur. As set out below, important progress has been made, notwithstanding the significant ongoing challenges. 


9. Given Prosecutor Khan’s prior representation of Mr Abdallah Banda Abakaer Nourain (“Mr Banda”) as his defence counsel before the ICC, the Prosecutor and the Office have taken all necessary legal and practical measures to protect the integrity of the proceedings from any risk or perception of a conflict of interest. 

10. Directly upon assuming office as ICC Prosecutor, Prosecutor Khan voluntarily recused himself pursuant to article 42(6) of the Rome Statute, from all cases where a conflict of interest may be perceived to arise due to his prior participation in ICC proceedings as defence counsel. As a consequence of his voluntary recusal from the Banda case, the Prosecutor has not had access to any non-public filings and non public evidence, and will have no involvement in discussions or decisions related to this case. The Prosecutor has delegated his functions to the Deputy Prosecutor for the purposes of the Banda case.


11. As referenced above, immediately upon reviewing the Darfur case files, Prosecutor Khan visited Sudan from 10 to 13 August 2021, making Sudan the first Situation country he travelled to as Prosecutor. During this visit, the Prosecutor met with the Chairman of Sudan’s Sovereignty Council, General Abdel Fattah Abdelrahman al-Burhan; the then Prime Minister, H.E. Abdalla Hamdok; Vice-Chairman of the Sovereignty Council, General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo; then Foreign Minister, H.E. Mariam Al-Mahdi Al- Sadig; then Minister of Justice, H.E. Mr Nasredeen Abdulbari; then Acting Attorney General, H.E. Mr Mubarak Mohammad Osman; and other senior members of the Transitional Government at the time. 

12. Prosecutor Khan also met with Darfuri representatives and Sovereignty Council members, Dr El Hadi Idris, Head of the Sudan Revolutionary Front and General Al-Tahir Hajar, Chair of the Sudan Liberation Forces Alliance. 

13. The focus of these meetings was to reaffirm the Prosecutor’s commitment to prioritise efforts to bring justice to Darfuri victims and survivors through the successful prosecution of those cases where there are outstanding warrants of arrest issued by the Court, and thereby potentially bring closure to this Security Council referral. The Prosecutor further called upon the Government of Sudan to deepen its cooperation with his Office, and the Court as a whole, to achieve this end. 

14. In particular, the Prosecutor requested access to documents, archives, witnesses and other evidence in relation to the Darfur cases, as well as unhindered access to the territory, including to crime scenes. Importantly, the Prosecutor emphasised that any surrender of suspects in Sudanese custody should be preceded and accompanied by tangible cooperation; notably access to, and provision of, relevant evidence. The Prosecutor also highlighted the importance of Sudan fulfilling its obligations under Resolution 1593 (2005), the Juba Peace Agreement, and the Rome Statute.

15. During his official meetings in Khartoum, the Prosecutor echoed his previous public statements that, with respect to the principle of complementarity, he was open to considering and engaging on all potential options available under the Rome Statute that would provide meaningful and effective justice to the survivors of the Darfur crimes. At the same time, the Prosecutor underscored that the integrity of independent investigations and any subsequent judicial process was of paramount importance. 

16. Prosecutor welcomed the commitment by General al-Burhan, and all government officials with whom he met, to fully support the ICC, and in particular, to cooperate with the investigative activities of the Office. Practical steps were agreed that included Sudan’s commitment to facilitate the establishment of a full-time presence of the Office in the country. The Prosecutor further welcomed the decision at the time, conveyed to him by the then Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, that Sudan intended to ratify the Rome Statute. 

17. The Prosecutor’s visit concluded with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (“MoU”), on 12 August 2021 which, for the first time, extended the Government of Sudan’s cooperation with the Office to include commitments to cooperate in relation to each of the four suspects not currently in ICC custody. Importantly, the Government of Sudan has reassured the Office, in recent weeks, that this MoU continues to remain in effect. 

18. In this reporting period, the Prosecutor also met with representatives of Darfuri civil society, including Darfuri victim and survivor groups. In these meetings, the Prosecutor provided an update on the status of investigations and judicial proceedings, and reaffirmed the Office’s commitment and responsibility to promote accountability for the crimes committed in Darfur. It was emphasised that to discharge this responsibility, the Office would redouble efforts in the Darfur Situation and strive to independently and impartially investigate cases in relation to each of the suspects against whom warrants have been issued by the Court.


Status of suspects

19. Mr Banda remains a fugitive from the Court and his exact whereabouts are unknown. 

20. In addition to Mr Banda, three ICC arrest warrants remain outstanding in the Darfur Situation, pertaining to the cases of Omar Hassan Ahmad Al Bashir (“Mr Al Bashir”), Ahmad Muhammad Harun (“Mr Harun”) and Abdel Raheem Muhammad Hussein (“Mr Hussein”). 

21. Since July 2020, Mr Al Bashir has been detained in Khartoum and is currently on trial domestically for charges relating to the 1989 military coup that brought him to power. The trial has been adjourned several times and as yet a final judgement has not been reported. Mr Hussein is believed to still be in custody and on trial for charges relating to the 1989 military coup. Mr Harun also remains in detention in Sudan. To the best of the Office’s knowledge at the present time, none of these three ICC suspects has been charged with the same criminal conduct as that which forms the basis of the ICC warrants against them. 

22. An update in relation to the case of Mr Ali Muhammad Ali Abd-Al-Rahman, also known as Ali Kushayb (“Mr Abd-Al-Rahman”), who surrendered to the Court in June 2020, is set out below in Part 5, “Recent Judicial Activities”. 

23. An update on the Office’s effort to ensure accountability for ICC suspects who remain at large is set out below in Part 7, “Cooperation and Complementarity”. 


24. Following the 24-26 May 2021 hearing on the Confirmation of Charges in the case against Mr Abd-Al-Rahman, on 9 July 2021, the Office successfully secured Pre-Trial Chamber II’s confirmation of all 31 charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity that had been proffered against him.

25. The confirmed charges brought by the Office against Mr Abd-Al-Rahman relate to alleged crimes committed in Kodoom, Bindisi and surrounding areas in August 2003 (Counts 1-11), including attacking civilians, murder, pillaging, destruction of property, other inhumane acts, outrages against personal dignity, rape, forcible transfer of population, and persecution. The charges also relate to alleged crimes in Mukjar and surrounding areas in February-March 2004 (Counts 12-21) and Deleig and surrounding areas in March 2004 (Counts 22-31), including torture, other inhumane acts, cruel treatment, outrages against personal dignity, murder, attempted murder, and persecution.

26. On 8 September 2021, Trial Chamber I scheduled the opening of the trial against Mr Abd- Al-Rahman for 5 April 2022.


Ongoing investigations

27. At the outset of the reporting period, and upon review of the case files, the Prosecutor allocated additional resources to the Office’s Darfur team, increasing the number of investigators and trial lawyers, and ensuring the requisite skills, including Arabic language proficiency, are available to the team. The Prosecutor further ensured that the team was allocating resources sufficiently across all cases within the Darfur file. Additionally, the Prosecutor appointed a pro bono Special Adviser, whose portfolio is devoted solely to Darfur, to enhance investigative and cooperation efforts. Special Advisers to the Prosecutor are persons with outstanding professional credentials and expertise in their fields and provide advice to the Prosecutor within their respective mandates as Special Advisers.

28. During the reporting period, the Office conducted multiple missions to Sudan and interviewed a number of witnesses. In line with the MoU referenced above, and in an effort to improve efficiency and reduce costs, the Office had finalised plans to deploy an investigation team to be based full-time in Sudan. With the cooperation of the Government of Sudan, this team was planning to work closely with the relevant Sudanese authorities to advance the Office’s investigations. 

29. The insecurity that followed the events of 25 October 2021, compelled the Office to suspend this deployment and to immediately pause its investigative activities in the country. While a team from the Office was able to travel to Khartoum in December 2021 to discuss cooperation matters, the interruption of investigative activities in Sudan has been a significant setback for the investigation and cooperation activities of the Office in regard to all cases in this Situation. It is essential that the Office is able to deploy a team to Sudan as envisaged, without delay, and with the full support of the Sudanese authorities, in order to resume its investigative work. The sooner investigations can resume, the sooner justice can be delivered for the people of Darfur as contemplated by Resolution 1593 (2005). The Prosecutor respectfully requests the Government of Sudan to redouble its engagement with the Office and to facilitate and enhance such efforts. 

Allegations of ongoing crimes 

30. The security situation in Darfur has deteriorated significantly during the present reporting period. The Secretary-General in his 3 December 2021 report on the Situation in the Sudan and the activities of the United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (“UNITAMS”), noted the deteriorating security environment in the country, highlighting that Darfur remains a main focus of tension. 

31. According to various reports from UNITAMS, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, attacks against civilians, often in the context of inter- communal fighting, continued in several locations, in particular in West and North Darfur resulting in civilian deaths, rape of women and girls, forced displacement of thousands, and destruction of property. 

32. This cycle of violence must come to an end. Accountability plays a critical role in this regard. Those who continue to commit violence against innocent civilians must know that there are consequences for their actions. The Security Council has recognised the imperative for such accountability. The Prosecutor calls on the authorities to investigate these reported incidents to establish the facts and to ensure accountability and justice for the victims. 

33. Notwithstanding jurisdiction over the current Situation in Darfur, due to the limited resources available to the Office, the Prosecutor will, at this time, continue to prioritise resources in this Situation in relation to the cases for which there are outstanding warrants issued by the Court. 



34. Cooperation between the Office and the Government of Sudan remains essential if this Situation is to be ultimately closed in line with this Security Council referral. It is important to recall that the Security Council referred the Situation in Darfur to the Prosecutor over sixteen years ago, in 2005. However, it was not until October 2020 that the Office had meaningful access to the territory of Sudan due to former Sudanese President, Mr Al-Bashir’s open hostility to the Court. This complete lack of cooperation, including with respect to the arrest of suspects, led to former Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s decision to hibernate the investigation until such time as cooperation from Sudan and the international community became meaningful. This previous lack of cooperation has presented significant investigative challenges that must be noted and finally addressed.

35. The evidence, in particular in relation to the cases against former President Mr Al-Bashir and also Mr Hussein, must be strengthened. This requires enhanced and genuine cooperation between the Office and the Government of Sudan and other stakeholders. The Sudanese Government undertook a significant commitment in this regard with the signing of the August 2021 MoU that extended cooperation between the Office and Sudan to include all suspects for which the Court has issued warrants of arrest. Progress now requires that these commitments are welded to action and a joint and collective determination to ensure effective investigations and meaningful accountability. 

36. It is vital that full effect is given not only to this MoU, but also to Sudan’s obligations to the Security Council under Resolution 1593 (2005) and its domestic obligations under the Juba Peace Agreement. In particular, the Office reiterates that it must be granted full access to the territory of Sudan, including to documents, archives, crime scenes, witnesses, and other evidence in relation to Darfur. 

37. This access is essential to ensure that all the cases are built on the strongest possible foundations. This is especially true in complex cases of war crimes and crimes against humanity and genocide, where significant time has elapsed since the alleged crimes began in 2003. Without such access and full cooperation from Sudan, investigations will have to continue and the successful adjudication of the open cases in the Darfur Situation may continue to be delayed. 

38. The Sudanese authorities have facilitated the issuance of visas to staff of the Office and have continued to provide logistical support to its delegations travelling to Sudan. This cooperation and assistance is fully recognised and greatly appreciated. At the same time, it must be stated that during this reporting period, the Office has made a number of formal Requests for Assistance that, as of the date of this report, have still not been executed. 

39. Progress has only been made in relation to two out of the seven Requests for Assistance, despite numerous follow-up requests by the Office. From the previous reporting period, out of four Requests for Assistance, one was executed, one is partially executed and two remain to be executed. Notwithstanding the challenging events in Sudan during this reporting period, it must still be emphasised that the timely and full execution of these Requests for Assistance remains essential. In short, the state of cooperation must improve. 

40. Another challenge facing the Office in its investigative and cooperation activities has been the turnover of government officials following the events of 25 October 2021. Many of the government officials who were interlocutors with the Office no longer hold their official positions, and this has stymied follow-up requests for support and cooperation. The Office was pleased to be able to conduct its most recent mission to Khartoum from 11 to 15 December 2021 in an effort to re-engage with the Sudanese authorities. While some progress was made on this mission, the Office still awaits notification as to Sudan’s nominated focal points. This has acted as somewhat of a barrier to sustained engagement with various Sudanese ministries and offices whose support is needed to continue and advance cooperation. The Prosecutor hopes that the requested focal points can be nominated by Sudan without delay to help accelerate cooperation and dialogue with the Office, and notes with appreciation efforts underway in this regard. 

41. The Office acknowledges the support it has received for its investigations from various States, in Africa, Europe and elsewhere, including those States that facilitated exemptions to COVID-19 requirements, which would have otherwise hampered these investigations. In particular, the Office is grateful for the support received from ICC States Parties and non-States Parties in Khartoum, including the European Union (“EU”) Delegation and EU member states, as well as Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. The Office is also appreciative of the excellent execution rate of Requests for Assistance sent to a number of States, including Canada, in relation to the Darfur Situation. 


42. During the Prosecutor’s visit to Khartoum, and in subsequent missions and correspondence, the Office has expressed an openness to engage with the Sudanese authorities in relation to potential complementarity approaches, in particular with respect to those ICC suspects who remain in custody in Sudan. 

43. Subject to the requirements of the Rome Statute, the Office is willing, when and where appropriate, to explore and consider viable options that can deliver genuine, transparent, impartial, and effective justice to the victims in the Darfur Situation, without further delay. 


44. The violence and suffering witnessed today in Darfur is a stark reminder of the need to break the cycle of impunity that has plagued Darfur in the past. Justice and accountability for atrocity crimes remain an essential component of Sudan’s quest towards a democratic and rule-based society. These aims cannot be achieved, and the Security Council’s referral of the Darfur Situation cannot come to a close, without the full and effective cooperation of the Government of Sudan. 

45. The Office recognises the significant progress which was underway before the events of 25 October 2021. Just two years ago, it was unthinkable that the Government of Sudan would invite the Prosecutor of the ICC to Khartoum, pledge support and cooperation, and signal an intent to ratify the Rome Statute. A palpable change was underway that, if continued and strengthened, would have led to significant progress in the Office’s investigations and prosecutions with respect to the Security Council’s referral of the Situation in Darfur. Victims and survivors of the Darfur conflict could also sense this momentum. 

46. While Sudan remains in a delicate phase of transition, progress on accountability for past crimes can still move forward. The Office has consistently expressed its readiness to work in partnership to progress the Darfur cases in conformity with the Rome Statute and in a manner that does not negatively impact this transition. For this to be achieved, further genuine and tangible steps must be taken by Sudan, through a frank and positive dialogue with the Office. 

47. The opportunity created by the conclusion of the recent MoU between the Office and Sudan must be fully seized and realised, to urgently secure accountability for suspects in the Darfur Situation against whom ICC warrants have been issued. Pending Requests for Assistance must be executed, full access to Sudan must be granted in a secure and safe environment and all complementarity options must be fully explored. 

48. The Office will continue to prioritise the Situation in Darfur. However, to achieve meaningful accountability, and to enable this Office to bring closure to this referral, the Office counts on the support of Sudan, the Security Council and all States committed to securing long-awaited justice for the victims in the Darfur Situation. | OTP 

Thirty-fourth report pursuant to paragraph 8 of UN Security Council resolution 1593 (2005), 17 January 2022

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