Sunday, June 30, 2019

Boundaries Commission hands over its final report on South Sudan to IGAD

HERE is a copy of a tweet by IGAD showing the Independent Boundaries Commission #IBC handing over their final report on #SouthSudan to the #IGAD Executive Secretary. More on this at a later date. 
To see tweet, click here:

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Darfur Sudan war history by Julie Flint & Alex de Waal - Secret World of Friedhelm Eronat and Darfur oil

Darfur Sudan war history by Julie Flint and Alex de Waal

SINCE 2003 when war broke out in Darfur, western Sudan, the humanitarian tragedy in Darfur has stirred politicians, Hollywood celebrities and students to appeal for a peaceful resolution to the crisis. 

Beyond the horrific pictures of sprawling refugee camps and lurid accounts of rape and murder lies a complex history steeped in religion, politics, and decades of internal unrest. 

Julie Flint and Alex de Waal have written the definitive history of the Darfur conflict. Very detailed and thoroughly documented from first hand sources, the book will quickly become a classic and will correct some of the outside misperceptions of who did what to whom and why. Arguments/dp/1842779508

Image Darfur: A New History of a Long War (African Arguments) 2nd Edition (April 1, 2008) by Julie Flint and Alex de Waal

The book 'Darfur' traces the origins, organisation and ideology of the infamous Janjaweed and other rebel groups, including the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM). It also analyses the confused responses of the Sudanese government and African Union. This thoroughly updated 2nd Edition also features a powerful analysis of how the conflict has been received in the international community and the varied attempts at peacekeeping. 
Julie Flint is a highly regarded film-maker and journalist with many years of experience living in Darfur and travelling in Sudan where she has many Sudanese friends. Alex de Waal is one of the foremost experts on Sudan and the Horn of Africa and executive director of the World Peace Foundation.

Look inside and see more reviews at Amazon here:
- - -

The Secret World of Friedhelm Eronat and Darfur oil

HERE from the archive of this site Sudan Watch are three must-reads on the secret world of the Chelsea oil tycoon Friedhelm Eronat. The three investigative reports give a good insight into the real reason behind for the Darfur war, to clear the way for oil. “Oil is not a commodity,” Eronat said. “It’s a political weapon.”
- - -

Friedhelm Eronat's oil deals in Darfur, Sudan - Secret World of the Chelsea Oil Tycoon
By Adrian Gatton, London Evening Standard
May 26, 2005
- - -

Friedhelm Eronat is behind Cliveden Sudan and Darfur oil deal - It's blood for oil in Southern Sudan
June 09, 2005
Here is a transcript of UK Channel 4 News' Jonathan Miller's report entitled "Briton involved in Sudan oil drill" - below which is a rare photograph of Friedhelm Eronat, courtesy Channel 4 News.
Photo: Friedhelm Eronat
- - -

Invisible hands: The secret world of the oil fixer (Ken Silverstein)
“Oil is not a commodity,” Eronat said. “It’s a political weapon.”
Invisible hands: The secret world of the oil fixer
July 15, 2009
By Ken Silverstein, Harper’s Magazine, March 2009  
- - -

Friday, June 28, 2019

UNSC: Extends UN-AU in Darfur, Sudan four months

GOOD news. Yesterday (27 June) the UN Security Council unanimously agreed to extend the mandate of the UN-AU peacekeeping operations in Darfur, western Sudan for four more months until 31 October 2019. 

Quick search: "About UNAMID. The African Union - UN hybrid operation in Darfur was formally established by the Security Council on 31 July 2007 through the adoption of resolution 1769, referred to by its acronym UNAMID, under Chapter VII of the UN Charter. UNAMID formally took over from AMIS on 31 December 2007."

Thinking back to 12-16 years ago brings memories of horrifying violence in Darfur. What an ordeal everyone there, including the fledgling African Union, went through. Sadly, many brave peacekeepers (I lost count after 100) lost their lives in Darfur.

I saw a tweet yesterday posted by a Sudanese teenager saying 'their' revolution started six months ago is what put Sudan on world map and raised awareness of issues. It made me wonder what teachers and parents of such young folk say about wars in Darfur and S. Sudan. If my memory is correct, there weren't many people in Khartoum showing concern for their countrymen suffering in Darfur and S. Sudan.
Image credit Associated Press (AP) from report by Edith M Lederer, 28 June 2019, UN puts brakes on peacekeepers' pullout from Sudan's Darfur. To read the report click here:
- - -

Sudan and South Sudan - Security Council, 8566th meeting

27 Jun 2019 -  Adoption of a resolution extending the mandate of the UN-AU Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) until 31 October 2019. 
Special report of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission and the Secretary-General of the United Nations on the strategic assessment of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (S/2019/445).

To see a film of the meeting click here:

Thursday, June 27, 2019

ICC: Violence against civilians in Darfur Sudan must stop and all ICC Darfur suspects must stand trial

UN Photo/Olivier Chassot

Report from UN
19 June 2019

‘Now is the time to act’ for victims of violence in Sudan, ICC Prosecutor urges UN Security Council

The UN Security Council must “seize this moment” presented by the current turmoil in Sudan, to provide justice at long last for the victims of violence in Darfur, and those who have suffered at the hands of the brutal military crackdown earlier this month.  

That is according to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Fatou Bensouda, who said she had a “clear message to convey: now is the time to act. Now is the time for the people of Sudan to choose law, over impunity, and ensure that the ICC suspects in the Darfur situation, finally face justice in a court of law.” 

She said the Council now had a “unique opportunity to decisively and effectively” address the wrongs committed by the security forces aligned with former President Omar al-Bashir in the Darfur region between 2003-2008, when around 300,000 were killed and 2.7 million civilians driven from their homes, according to UN figures.  

She called for the immediate cessation of violence against civilians in the capital Khartoum and elsewhere, since the 3 June wave of attacks against protesters calling for a return to civilian rule, in opposition to the ruling Transitional Military Council (TMC). 

All arrest warrants for the five suspects charged with the grave crimes within the ICC’s remit – genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity – remain outstanding, she told members. Both deposed president Bashir, and two others, are now said to be in custody she said and are legally obliged to be transferred by the TMC. Only if they could show willing to prosecute them for the same crimes, could they remain in Sudan, she said. 

Mass killings in Darfur, Al-Bashir should face justice, says ICC - Al-Bashir taken from Kober prison to prosecutor's office in Khartoum Sudan, formally charged with corruption and money laundering

Here is a copy of an AFP report
Published Sunday 23 June 2019
By Channels Television
Sudan Killings: Al-Bashir Should Face Justice, Says ICC

June 23, 2019 (AFP) - The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court on Wednesday [19 June] demanded that deposed Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir stand trial for the mass killings perpetrated in Darfur.

“Now is the time for the people of Sudan to choose law over the impunity and ensure that the ICC suspects in the Darfur situation finally face justice in a court of law,” prosecutor Fatou Bensouda told the UN Security Council.

Bashir, who has been in jail in Sudan since a military coup ended his 30-year rule in April, was indicted by the ICC in 2009 in connection with fighting in the western region of Darfur.

More than 300,000 people have died there and 2.5 million others have been displaced since 2003, according to UN figures.

Bashir appeared in a court in Khartoum on Sunday to hear corruption charges levelled against him. He also faces possible murder charges for the deaths of demonstrators killed during the protests that led to his downfall.

The generals who now rule Sudan have so far ruled out transferring Bashir to the ICC, which accuses him of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

The ICC prosecutor said that after the tumultuous events of recent months, Sudan “is now at a crossroads with the opportunity to depart from its previous policy of complete non-cooperation.”

He urged the country to “embark on a new chapter by signalling a new commitment to accountability for the victims” in Darfur.

“I am ready to engage in dialogue with the authorities in Sudan to ensure that the Darfur suspects face independent and impartial justice, either in a courtroom in The Hague or in Sudan,” said Bensouda.

“Continued impunity is not an option,” she said. “The victims of the Darfur situation deserve to finally have their day in court.”

The ICC has issued five arrest warrants in connection with the Darfur case. As well as Bashir, two suspects, Abdel Raheem Hussein and Ahmad Harun, have reportedly been arrested in Sudan, Bensouda said.

Several members of the Security Council, most of them European states, have backed Bensouda’s calls for Bashir to be brought before the international court and for the new authorities in Khartoum to cooperate with the ICC.

- - -

Sudan's Deposed Dictator Makes First Appearance Since Ouster

Photo: Omar Hassan al-Bashir, Sudan’s deposed leader, leaving the prosecutor’s office in Khartoum on Sunday 16 June 2019.
Credit Umit Bektas/Reuters

Article from The New York Times

By Declan Walsh
Published Sunday 16 June 2019

KHARTOUM, Sudan — Sudan’s deposed dictator, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, was taken from a prison in the capital Khartoum to face corruption charges on Sunday in his first public appearance since he was ousted from power in April.

Appearing in a white robe and turban, as he did for much of his 30 years in power, Mr. al-Bashir was led through the gates of Kober prison, a notorious facility where he once sent his own enemies.

His appearance quelled months of speculation among many Sudanese who suspected that, contrary to assertions by the country’s military leaders, Mr. al-Bashir was being quietly detained in luxury or had even managed to flee the country.

Security officials escorted Mr. al-Bashir, 75, to a vehicle that took him to the chief prosecutor’s office, where he was formally charged with corruption and money laundering. He did not speak to reporters waiting outside the jail.

Last month, Mr. al-Bashir was charged separately with involvement in the killing of protesters during the street demonstrations that led to his ouster on April 11. He did not appear in public then.

His predicament is a sharp contrast with the fortunes of his former enforcer, Lt. Gen. Mohamed Hamdan, a militia leader groomed by Mr. al-Bashir who in recent weeks has emerged as one of the most powerful figures in Sudan.

General Hamdan faced global condemnation after June 3 when his paramilitary unit, the Rapid Support Forces, stormed through a protest site in central Khartoum, killing at least 118 people in a frenzy of shooting, rape and pillage, according to witnesses and doctors’ groups. General Hamdan’s troops now control Khartoum, causing many to view him as the country’s de facto leader, even if he is formally outranked by an older general.

But General Hamdan, known as Hemeti, appeared to be laying the groundwork for a political campaign this weekend when he addressed thousands of supporters at events in and around Khartoum, behaving in a political style that bore striking similarities to that of Mr. al-Bashir.

On Saturday, General Hamdan drove in a long, heavily armed convoy to Garrhi, nearly 40 miles north of Khartoum, where he addressed supporters in a dusty clearing near the Nile.

Photo: Lt. Gen. Mohamed Hamdan, top right, the deputy head of the military council that assumed power in Sudan after the overthrow of Mr. al-Bashir, seemed to be laying the groundwork for a political campaign during a rally in Garawee, Sudan, on Saturday.
Credit Associated Press

He claimed that Western leaders were part of an unspecified plot to undermine him.

As he arrived under a blazing sun, he stood on top of a military vehicle, waving a stick at the cheering crowd in a manner that was reminiscent of Mr. al-Bashir. In his speech, he was sharply critical of the Sudanese Professionals’ Association, which led the protests that forced Mr. al-Bashir’s ouster.

“Askariya! Askariya!” his supporters yelled during the speech, using the Arabic term for “army rule.”

Hundreds of soldiers surrounded General Hamdan as he spoke, positioned on buildings and trucks or sitting in pickups armed with heavy guns. After the rally, the vehicles sped off behind the general in a long trail of dust.

On Sunday, General Hamdan addressed a gathering of supporters in Khartoum.

The Transitional Military Council, which formally rules Sudan, wants to dampen a wave of withering global criticism as the extent of the violence on June 3, including numerous rapes and scores of bodies flung in the Nile, increasingly comes to light.

General Hamdan has been less apologetic. In an interview with The New York Times last week, he professed to disliking politics — “I hate politicians,” he said — but added that his ascent to power was necessary for stability. He showed few signs of intending to vacate power.

“The country needs the Rapid Support Forces more than the Rapid Support Forces need the country,” he said.

That growing prominence could put General Hamdan at odds with the regular army, stoking fears of further instability as Sudan maneuvers through the turbulent post-Bashir era.

Another test will be Mr. al-Bashir’s forthcoming corruption trial.

Officials raided his Khartoum homes in the days after his ouster, confiscating bundles of cash in dollars, euros and Sudanese currency. That money — millions of dollars — is now a central part of the case prosecutors are building against him. An additional 41 officials from his government also face corruption charges.

Mr. al-Bashir is not, however, in any immediate danger of answering to the charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity that he faces at the International Criminal Court in The Hague over his role in the conflict in the western region of Darfur.

The international court issued an arrest warrant for Mr. al-Bashir a decade ago. But Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the head of the Military Transitional Council, who also served in Darfur, said Mr. al-Bashir would never be extradited to face those charges in a foreign court.

A version of this article appears in print on June 17, 2019, on Page A4 of the New York edition with the headline: Sudan’s Deposed Dictator Emerges for First Time Since Ouster. Order Reprints. Subscribe.


Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Eastern Africa Standby Force EASF is watching Sudan closely, playing an advisory role, ready to deploy if situation turns genocidal - #watch_Sudan_on_June30th

Article from The 
Published: Saturday, 22 June 2019 
Standby force is watching Sudan closely
The Eastern Africa Standby Force (EASF) is monitoring activities in the country

Photo: Members of Sudan's Rapid Support Forces (RSF) paramilitaries are seen in the back of a technical (pickup truck mounted with a machine gun turret) during a rally in the village of Qarri, about 90 kilometres north of Khartoum, on June 15, 2019. (Credit Photo by - / AFP)

In Summary
  • EASF has put aside $2.6 million as part of the peace funds.
  • The Force is funded by Nordic countries as well as annual contributions by the 10 member states, paid on a pro-rata basis depending on the size of the country’s economy.
The Eastern Africa Standby Force is watching developments in Sudan and is ready to deploy if the situation turns genocidal.

EASF Director Abdillahi Omar Bouh told The EastAfrican that while there are still no signs of genocide and Sudan has not invited the regional force to intervene, they are playing an advisory role.

“Our mandate is that we first support peace for three months to avoid genocide, then the international community takes over. We have achieved full operational capability and can deploy in 14 days. However, the decision to deploy is a political one and it has to come from the summit of the EASF member states or the African Union,” said Dr Bouh.

He said that the EASF had been scheduled to be deployed in Gambia in 2017, but since the AU was keen to save money, they decided that it was cheaper to use the Economic Community of West African States because of proximity.

With 5,200 troops on the ready from July, the EASF can be deployed anywhere on the continent and not only in East Africa.

EASF has put aside $2.6 million as part of the peace funds. The Force is funded by Nordic countries as well as annual contributions by the 10 member states, paid on a pro-rata basis depending on the size of the country’s economy. For instance, Kenya pays $800,000, Uganda $400,000 and Djibouti $200,000.

Currently, only Seychelles, Ethiopia and Uganda have paid their dues, while other members are waiting for the beginning of their financial year in July. EASF member states are Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda.

One of the key challenges EASF has been facing is that three countries — Burundi, Comoros and Djibouti — are yet to ratify the agreement that established the force in 2014. In addition, the mandating process for the legal framework for deployment is yet to be tested.

Other challenges are sustaining the funding in case of deployment, and the dual membership of the members in the competing interests of the East African Community and the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (Igad).

Head of peace operations Major General Albert Kendagor said that EASF remains aware of the developments in Sudan and that there are high level consultations going on involving the AU and Igad.

On June 20, the Igad Council of Ministers held its first meeting on Sudan in Khartoum. The council announced that it will play a leading role in the negotiations between the Transitional Military Council (TMC) and the opposition Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) to transfer power to civilians.

In May, the military junta and the opposition agreed that a technocrat government appointed by the FFC would administrate the country during the three-year transitional period.

They also agreed that the opposition coalition will appoint 67 per cent of the 300-member parliament.

But early this month, TMC leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan abandoned negotiations with the protesters and instead declared that the elections will be held in the next nine months.

The TMC now wants half of the government and controlling rights, plus half of the parliamentary membership.

To view the original article, and more about the author, click here:
More by this Author FRED OLUOCH
- - -

On June 30th, the people of Sudan plan to hold a mass protest in hopes of forcing the Transitional Military Council to step down and hand over power to a civilian government. To view the above tweet click here:
To see above tweet click here:
- - -

Strong message to  from Ambassador James about 30 June 2019 
 - - -

8,560th Security Council Meeting: Reports of Secretary-General on Sudan and South Sudan held 25 June 2019

NOTE from Sudan Watch Editor: I watched the following film last night. It felt strange listening to briefings eloquently spoken while I connected them to many miles of reports and images that have flown up into space and around the world since the Darfur war erupted in 2003 and war ravaged South Sudan.

I thought back to the days when this blog Sudan Watch started in 2004. The internet and blogging technology were in their infancy, there was no Twitter or Instagram, a map of Darfur was nowhere to be found online. We used dial-up modems to get online, sometimes it took minutes or hours or not at all. Here is the "Sound of dial-up internet" (The first comment at that page made me laugh: "Get off the internet, I'm on the phone")

Now, here we are, sixteen years later, millions of Sudanese lives destroyed, listening to incredible heartfelt words of peace. Each person giving a briefing seem to me to be genuine in the words they were conveying in a sombre arena with great technology: see the teleconferencing briefing from a great woman in Juba! 

Hopefully, longtime readers of Sudan Watch will watch this Security Council meeting on Sudan and South Sudan, imagine being there, think about the words being spoken and what it took to get them there. Who could predict it'd take sixteen long years to see a meeting such as this taking place.

Note, the diplomatic language used during one of the briefings referencing Messrs Kiir and Machar and the telling words used. They have until November to show if they are willing to let down the people of South Sudan. Greedy (expletive) gun-toting (expletive) rebels, they make my blood boil. They have destroyed and shattered millions of lives while feathering their own nests, travelling the world, staying in swanky hotels, getting feet kissed by the Pope who went down on his knees to beg for peace and for the killings to stop. Note that the speaker for South Sudan, in his briefing, spoke of Mr Machar not returning from Rome with Mr Kiir, it doesn't sound like the two are hurrying to meet. God help them.

To visit the UN multimedia website and above 1.45 hr long film, available in six languages, click here:
- - -

A Nigerian singer's heartfelt message to Sudan
To see the above tweet and video song clip click here:
- - -

Dear readers of Sudan Watch, apologies for the length of these posts, no time to make them nice and short and polished. It's taking time to read fast-moving news and cut through all the noise. I aim to make posts shorter. Right now, I need posts such as this to be in one place with yellow highlighting for my reference.

Please excuse cosmetic glitches. It's not been easy getting this blog up and running after a six-year hiatus, at the same time as tracking fast-moving news. The site needs more repairs but at least it is functioning. Please don't forget to check your Spam box incase Sudan news is delivered there. I aim to post daily.

If you are a new reader, please subscribe in the sidebar here to get copies of posts delivered free of charge to your mail box. You can read and delete or keep for future reference and forward them on to others. 

Internet is still down in Sudan. People around the world are working hard to communicate during blackout. A few days ago this site received visitors located in Sudan, nothing since. Watch for Sudan news 30 June.
- - -

TMC has settled into its role before elections 

To see above tweet click here:
- - -
Sudan🇸🇩 ♥️ DRC🇨🇩
To visit this tweet click here:

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Sudan Gov RSF Janjaweed - UN cooperation with Arab League ‘pivotal’, UN chief tells Security Council

Sudan: Top UN official demands cessation of violence and rape against civilians by security forces

United Nations (UN) Press Release - June 14, 2019

Despite restrictions on communications in Sudan reports of serious human rights violations have emerged since the beginning of the month.
NEW YORK, United States of America, June 14, 2019 -- Following recent reports of attacks and rape by security forces and paramilitaries against the pro-democracy protesters in Sudan who have been holding a sit-in outside army headquarters in the capital, Khartoum, the United Nations Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Pramila Patten, expressed “grave concern” on Thursday and called for an “immediate and complete” end to the violence.

According to her Office, despite restrictions on communications in Sudan, reports of serious human rights violations have emerged since the beginning of the month.

These include reported rapes and gang rapes of protesters, women’s human rights defenders and women medical personnel working in hospitals near the sit-in perpetrated by the “Rapid Support Forces” or RSF – a paramilitary group run by the Sudanese Government, primarily composed of the Janjaweed, a party to the Darfur conflict – and other militias.

“I demand the immediate and complete cessation of all violence against civilians including sexual violence,” stated Special Representative Patten, noting that the RSF have consistently been listed in the UN Secretary-General’s annual report on conflict-related sexual violence.

“[They] should take effective measures to prevent and punish sexual violence in accordance with relevant Security Council resolutions, including resolution 2467,” she added.

After the three-decade autocratic rule of President Omar al-Bashir ended in a military takeover in April, talks faltered in May between protesters and the ruling Transitional Military Council over a timetable for civilian rule.

On 3 June, security forces and paramilitaries fired on pro-democracy protesters holding a sit-in outside army headquarters in the capital Khartoum, leaving a number of people dead and many more injured. Three days later, the African Union suspended the participation of Sudan in all its activities until the effective establishment of a civilian-led transitional authority.

Pending verification of the alleged incidents by relevant UN bodies, Ms. Patten highlighted the fact that “the weakness of the rule of law and a general climate of impunity” is further compounding a highly-volatile context.

“I urge the prompt investigation of all credible allegations of sexual violence and accountability for those responsible,” said the Special Representative, adding that she strongly supports the rapid deployment of a United Nations human rights monitoring team to examine the situation on the ground.

She also called upon the international community, including members of the UN Security Council, to use “all possible diplomatic channels with leaders of Sudan to pave the way for a swift transition to a civilian administration and an end to all forms of violence and intimidation against civilians”.

On Tuesday, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), sounded the alarm over the killing and injuring of dozens of minors in the protests backlash.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations (UN).
SOURCE: United Nations (UN)

- - -

UN cooperation with the Arab League is pivotal

GLOBAL problems require global solutions that rely on “essential” partnerships, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres told the Security Council on Thursday (13 June 2019), stating that “our cooperation with the League of Arab States is pivotal”. 
Full story: 
- - -

At Arab League Summit, UN chief reaffirms strong link between UN and people of Arab world
Photo: League of Arab Nations / Video screengrab - United Nations Secretary-General delivers his remarks remarks to the Summit of the League of Arab States, Tunis, 31 March 2019.