Tuesday, February 27, 2007

ICC Prosecutor Identifies First Darfur Suspects

The International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor's case against two Sudanese leaders for atrocities in Darfur is a first step in ending the impunity associated with horrific crimes there, Human Rights Watch said today. Earlier today, the ICC prosecutor asked Pre-Trial Chamber I to issue summonses for two suspects to appear before the court. "The ICC prosecutor's request sends a signal to Khartoum and 'Janjaweed' militia leaders that ultimately they are not going to get away with the unspeakable atrocities," said Richard Dicker, director of Human Rights Watch's International Justice program. "We urge the prosecutor to explain the significance of his action today to the communities devastated by crimes in Darfur."

The prosecutor is seeking summonses for State Minister for Humanitarian Affairs Ahmed Haroun and "Janjaweed" militia leader "Ali Kosheib," (a pseudonym for Ali Mohammed Ali). Read more >>>

Monday, February 26, 2007

ICC Set to Open New Darfur Chapter

Prosecutors about to present evidence relating to war crimes and crimes against humanity in western Sudan.

By Katy Glassborow and Jan Coebergh in The Hague, and Stacy Sullivan in Washington (TU No 490, 26-Feb-07)

Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, on February 27 will present evidence to pre-trial judges implicating named individuals in the Darfur crisis, which he hopes will prompt judges to release warrants of arrest.

In a statement released last week, Moreno-Ocampo said the evidence relates to war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Darfur region of Sudan.

The key question is whether evidence will lead to tough genocide charges against high-ranking officials from the Government of Sudan, GoS, or the janjaweed militia, or will involve lesser charges against rebel leaders. Read more >>>

Sunday, February 25, 2007

The tragedy of Darfur - double standards being applied

Why is it that - in contrast to the attention given to the Middle East conflicts - Arab media and politicians are largely ignoring events in Darfur? Moataz El Fegiery and Ridwan Ziyada look for answers

For many people in the Arab world the "humanitarian catastrophe" unfolding in Darfur just doesn't exist - and the simple reason for that is that the Arab media has ignored it. So it's little wonder that there has been no unease or disapproval voiced at the ignorance exhibited by the Arabs on the subject of crimes against humanity in this region of Sudan.

What makes things worse is a suspicion that what we are faced with here is the kind of unscrupulousness that borders on a denial of history; one need only recall the role of some Arabs in the African slave trade.

Let's assume for the moment that Arab governments' displaying a less than clear cut commitment to the human rights issue in Darfur is only to be expected - in fact it is just about the last thing an Arab government is going to place on its list of foreign policy priorities - but what about Arab journalists, intellectuals, political activists and artists? How is their behaviour, particularly those whose job it is raise public awareness of such things on behalf of the United Nations, to be explained?

Turning a blind eye on the Darfur crisis

How can they justify their silence on events in Darfur? No explanation, no honestly expressed shock at what is happening in Darfur has been forthcoming. The only rent in this curtain of silence being the statement of 17 October 2006, when at least some few Arab intellectuals were prepared to express their disapproval of "the silence of the Arab world in the face of the humanitarian catastrophe in Darfur." Read more >>>

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Darfur: Documentory of the crisis

Documentory about Darfur Crisis. Or click on the underlined words.

Prosecutor to Present Evidence of Crimes in Darfur

Situation: Darfur, Sudan

On Tuesday, 27 February, Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo will submit evidence, in connection with named individuals, of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur. The Prosecutor will file his evidence with the ICC judges and then brief the press. Please note the following schedule of press events:

14h00 hrs - Press Conference, ICC Media Centre. The Prosecutor will summarise his evidence, discussing the crimes and the named individuals, and answer questions from journalists.

To attend the press conference, journalists must apply for media accreditation from the ICC no later than Monday, 26 February at 12h00. (Please see instructions below.)

Eurovision will broadcast the live press conference internationally via satellite. Specific instructions on how to receive the transmission will be provided in a follow-up media advisory on Monday, 26 February. Read more >>>

Darfur's Humanitarian Crisis

Two examples: In Nyala, South Darfur, last month five U.N. staff members were badly beaten by police, and one female staff member was sexually assaulted. According to the U.N. report, this indicated "that those allocated to protect humanitarian workers, the government, were unable or unwilling to do so.”

On Dec. 18 in Gereida, South Darfur, targeted attacks were directed against six humanitarian compounds. All staff members were forced to withdraw and one was sexually assaulted. This withdrawal compromised the delivery of aid to over 130,000 displaced persons.

We were told that morale against humanitarian workers is at an all-time low. Humanitarian workers are becoming the objects of attacks, both from the rebel factions and the government. Read more >>>

The Darfur conflict: four years on

The Darfur conflict: four years on

The 23rd of February 2007 marks four years of brutal conflict between the Government of Sudan and rebel groups in the western region of Darfur. Throughout this time hundreds of thousands of people have died, with estimates of the mortality rate ranging from 200,000 to 400,000.
The violence has displaced over 2.5 million people from their homes. Those who have survived attacks on their villages have often sought refuge in the sprawling IDP camps that have multiplied in Darfur, or alternatively have tried to find shelter across the border in refugee camps in eastern Chad, also plagued by 'spillover' violence from Darfur. Read more >>>

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Khartoum Accommodated: US "Lowers the Bar" for Regime's Génocidaires

By: Eric Reeves

During a recent interview on PBS’s “NewsHour” (February 16, 2007), US special envoy for Sudan Andrew Natsios gave clear evidence of a Bush administration strategy to back away from meaningful efforts to pressure Khartoum over its continuing responsibility for genocidal destruction throughout Darfur and eastern Chad. In essence, the US effort is to “lower the bar” for Khartoum in complying with international “demands”---indeed, to lower the bar so far that short of all-out assaults on the displaced person camps, the regime will be judged to be performing acceptably. Such a strategy of course obviates the need to deploy the conspicuously vacuous “Plan B” Natsios threatened in late 2006 if Khartoum did not comply with various “demands” by January 1, 2007. This deadline has come and gone, and as The Washington Post has made clear (February 7, 2007), “Plan B” has so far entailed positioning four US Army colonels on the Chad/Darfur border and a threat to inconvenience Khartoum by obliging conversion of its various commercial enterprises (including oil exports) from dollar-denominated to Euro-denominated contracts. “Plan B” is a bluff, but one that won’t be revealed as such if never deployed.

Other elements of “Plan B” remain classified, according to Natsios during recent Congressional testimony. But Natsios’ implicit characterization of these classified elements of “Plan B” as military in nature is hardly supported by recent Congressional testimony from senior Pentagon officials:

“Senior US defense officials say they are not planning any military intervention to end the killing and suffering in Sudan’s Darfur region. Read more >>>

ICC to name Darfur war crimes suspects next week

By Emma Thomasson

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - The International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor will name the first suspects accused of committing war crimes in Sudan's Darfur region next Tuesday, the prosecutor's office said on Thursday.

Chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said in December his investigators had found evidence of rape, torture, murder and sexual violence in Darfur. His announcement is keenly awaited to see if he charges government figures as well as rebels.

Experts say around 200,000 people have been killed and about 2.5 million others driven from their homes in Darfur since 2003, when rebels took up arms against the government, charging it with neglect. Khartoum says only about 9,000 people have died.

"Moreno-Ocampo will submit evidence, in connection with named individuals, of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur," his office said in a statement, adding that the prosecutor would hold a news conference at 1300 GMT on February 27. Read more >>>

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

AU says Janjaweed massing in Sudan

By Aziz el-Kaissouni

KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Janjaweed militias have been concentrating forces to the north of el-Geneina, the capital of Sudan's West Darfur state, an African Union military source said on Tuesday, corroborating a U.N. report.

Janjaweed is the local name for militia forces drawn mainly from the nomadic Arab tribes of the area and blamed for much of the killing in Darfur over the past four years.

The AU source, who asked not to be named, said: "They are massing (north of el-Geneina) ... They have vehicles with machineguns on top and they're Janjaweed. We can't say what their intentions are." Read more >>>

Natsios: ‘Chaos’ in Darfur Clouds Prospects for Political Solution

Interviewee: Andrew S. Natsios
Interviewer: Robert McMahon, Deputy Editor

The crisis in Darfur enters its fifth year with prospects for peace more remote than ever. A huge displaced population remains under threat from militias nominally controlled by the Sudanese government while the international community attempts to broker a settlement between Khartoum and rebel leaders in the area.
The U.S. special envoy assigned to help resolve the crisis, Andrew Natsios, says the situation could soon grow even more unstable as the central government loses control and rebel groups in the region splinter. But he says Washington will maintain pressure on Khartoum to protect noncombatants while trying to forge a political settlement, which he says “is the only way to put Darfur back together again.” Read more >>>

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Nomads attack Darfur refugees

Violence now comes from neighbouring tribes, not janjaweed

GAGA, Chad - Fatma Daoud wrapped a plastic bag as a makeshift bandage around her hand, using a corner of her brightly colored robe to wipe the blood from the knife wound that had cut her to the bone.

The 36-year-old woman, a refugee from Sudan's war-torn Darfur, had left her camp in eastern Chad to gather firewood when she was attacked by young Chadian nomads.

"They were three boys, camel herders. They told me to stop collecting wood and then they stabbed me," Ms. Daoud said, calm despite the attack that had happened only minutes before outside the Gaga refugee camp. Read more >>>

More tough talk on Darfur, but no action

Simon Coveney*
The European Parliament, growing increasingly alarmed about the ongoing killings and increasing number of refugees in the Darfur region of Sudan, voted for a resolution on February 14 which calls on the international community to intervene – starting with the United Nations, which so far has only issued statements. Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu also called on the parliament to help stop the bloodshed.

The United States had set a January 1 deadline for Sudan to accept UN peacekeeping troops, which so far have not been allowed into the country, but that also was ignored by the Sudanese government, and observers sent to the country recently were not allowed in either.

Still, Simon Coveney, a Member of the European Parliament from Ireland, said he hoped some tough talk might spur the UN or somebody into doing something, even if the parliament has no authority to authorise troops. Read more >>>

Monday, February 12, 2007

Darfur is Holocaust of Africa

Jordan Ross

The systematic killing of more than 6 million Jewish and other minorities during the Holocaust has gone down in history as one of the most horrific and senseless acts of violence ever to occur.

Many Americans fail to realize that genocide is taking place once again overseas where casualties have the potential to surpass that of the Holocaust. Where is it taking place? Darfur, Sudan.

The perpetrator: the Janjaweed, a militant group of the Abbala.

Although the Sudanese government denies defending Janjaweed’s actions, it has given the group financial assistance as well as participated in joint attacks against the Fur, Zaghawa, and Massaleit in Darfur. Read more >>>

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Deserting Darfur

By Steven Emerson

As the genocide in the Darfur region of western Sudan continues unabated -- the United Nations conservatively estimates more than 200,000 dead and 2 million displaced in the conflict between the government-backed janjaweed militias and the mainly Muslim African tribespeople[1] -- the reaction of Western powers has been shamefully timid. But it seems downright heroic next to the disgraceful response of many self-proclaimed Muslim civil rights groups. Read more >>>

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Sense of frustration on Darfur permeates Security Council

Listen to the News Transcript:

The UN Security Council has expressed frustration at the lack of action to halt violence in Darfur.

That's what US Ambassador Alejandro Wolfe told reporters following a closed door briefing by Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon. Ambassador Wolfe says a general sense of frustration was felt across the council:

"A sense that we've been dealing with this now for many, many months, we continue to find ourselves stymied by questions and stalling tactics on the part of the Sudan government." Read more >>>

Saturday, February 03, 2007


by Andrew McGregor

LOS ANGELES--Author and former State Department official John Prendergast gave a speech at USC’s law school laying out a three-point plan to halt the genocide in Darfur that does not military intervention.

Speaking to a packed auditorium, Prendergast noted that, "between 1 and 500 thousand people have died, but we don’t know exactly because we don’t care enough to know." He later emphasized that, "the crisis is intensifying."

According to Prendergast, "they are starving hundreds of thousands of people to death, and the only defense for this is humanitarian aid." However, the aid agencies are suffering from similar measures that were enacted against the people of Darfur.

European sponsored aid agencies in neighboring Chad are being coerced to withdrawal as the conflict pours over the border. “The Female European employees have been targeted, they attacked them and sexually assaulted them.” The consequence of this can be devastating as, "every time one of these groups leaves hundreds of thousands of people may starve," he said.

In order to stop the genocide Prendergast proposed what he called "targeted" sanctions that function as part of a three-tiered system. The sanctions would include boycotts of specific Sudanese-based oil companies that have international holdings, asset freezes and travel restrictions on senior level officials, and cooperation and support of the International Criminal Court to level indictments. Read more >>>

Friday, February 02, 2007

Who Says 'Save Darfur?'

by Joe Mariani

There is no doubt that Darfur, the western part of Sudan, is in a horrible situation. Members of the Janjaweed milita, a radical Muslim group supported by Sudan's Arab government, roam the land killing, raping, burning and pillaging. About two million people -- blacks, either non-Muslims or not Muslim enough to suit the militias -- have fled their homes for refugee camps, where they are brutalised and terrorised on a daily basis. Read more >>>

Darfur on camera

Do you know what western Sudan looks like? Want to hear what people in Darfur have to say? Have you seen how big a camp for displaced people looks from the air? Ever been inside an aid-worker's office in one of the harshest places on earth?

Two non-governmental organisations have made short films about something you rarely see on TV. Read more >>>