Home | Press Releases    Thursday 11 July 2013

Rights groups decry new law allowing military trials of civilians

separation
increase
decrease
separation
separation

Human Rights Watch

Sudan: New Law Allows Military Trials of Civilians

Repeal Amendments to Armed Forces Law

July 9, 2013

(Nairobi ) – New amendments to Sudan’s Armed Forces Act that allow prosecution of civilians in military courts are contrary to international human rights standards, Human Rights Watch and the African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS) said today.

President Omar al-Bashir should not sign the amendments into law but instead should return the measure to parliament to revise consistent with Sudan’s international legal obligations.

“Sudan needs to bolster its civilian justice system to improve respect for human rights,” said Daniel Bekele, Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “Giving more judicial powers over civilians to the military will take Sudan in exactly the wrong direction.”

The amendments, passed by parliament on July 2, 2013, allow the government to prosecute in military courts “anyone who commits a crime against the state’s security.” This is defined broadly as: the formation of an armed group to wage war against the state, or incitement to do so; armed attacks on security forces or incitement to do so; and taking up arms to commit an act that threatens the stability and security of the country.”

The amendments also allow military courts to try civilians for various crimes under Sudan’s 1991 criminal code. These include “undermining the constitutional system,” “leaking of classified information,” and “publication of false news.” These provisions are very broad and have been used by the authorities to target perceived opponents of the ruling National Congress Party and curb the right to free speech.

A prominent independent journalist, Faisal Mohamed Salih, was charged with the publication of false news and defamation in May 2011 after he published an article calling for an independent investigation into the alleged torture and rape of the activist Safia Ishag Mohamed by members of the Sudanese National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS). The authorities have increasingly used this and other laws to prosecute journalists for writings considered to fall outside of “red lines” drawn by the ruling party.

Trials of civilians before military courts will invariably violate Sudan’s obligations under international law to provide fair trials, the two organizations said. The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, in interpreting the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, has said that military courts “should not, in any circumstances whatsoever, have jurisdiction over civilians.”

The United Nations Human Rights Committee, which monitors compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Sudan is party, has stated that trials of civilians by military courts should occur only under extremely limited circumstances and when the regular civilian courts are unable to undertake the trials.

“The amendments to the Armed Forces Law undermine the due process protections in Sudanese criminal law, are ill-defined, and may be used to target perceived political opponents even more harshly,” said Osman Hummaida, executive director of ACJPS. “Bashir should immediately return the law to parliament for revisions to prohibit the trial of civilians before military courts, strengthen the right to a fair trial, and require that any civilians in military custody be immediately turned over to civilian authorities.”

http://www.hrw.org/news/2013/07/09/sudan-new-law-allows-military-trials-civilians

Comments on the Sudan Tribune website must abide by the following rules. Contravention of these rules will lead to the user losing their Sudan Tribune account with immediate effect.

- No inciting violence
- No inappropriate or offensive language
- No racism, tribalism or sectarianism
- No inappropriate or derogatory remarks
- No deviation from the topic of the article
- No advertising, spamming or links
- No incomprehensible comments

Due to the unprecedented amount of racist and offensive language on the site, Sudan Tribune tries to vet all comments on the site.

There is now also a limit of 400 words per comment. If you want to express yourself in more detail than this allows, please e-mail your comment as an article to comment@sudantribune.com

Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

Comment on this article


 
 

The following ads are provided by Google. SudanTribune has no authority on it.


Sudan Tribune

Promote your Page too

Latest Comments & Analysis


South Sudan: Justice remains elusive, one year on 2014-12-17 04:17:40 By Elizabeth Deng December 16 2014 - A year after the outbreak of violence in Juba last December, hopes of accountability for abuses linked to the conflict remain distant. Despite repeated calls (...)

President Salva Kiir has betrayed his people and the nation 2014-12-17 04:15:00 By James Gatdet Dak December 15, 2014 - After many painful decades of destructive war of liberation against successive oppressive regimes in Khartoum, people of South Sudan gained their hard won (...)

Sudan protects terrorists 2014-12-15 04:29:57 By Kimberly Hollingsworth* December 15, 2014 - Sudan used to be the heart of Africa; now, Sudan is the heart of international terrorist organizations. Sudan is the hub for training extremists. (...)


MORE








Latest Press Releases


Norway grants US $1.9 million for humanitarian needs in Darfur 2014-12-16 06:47:08 The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) - KHARTOUM Norway helps provide nutritious food to malnourished families in Sudan 14 December 2014 KHARTOUM – The United Nations World Food Programme (...)

Darfur Association "disheartened" by ICC decision to not meet them 2014-12-14 05:50:13 12 December 2014 RE: DPANY Requests/Direction of the OTP in the Situation of Darfur Dear Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, We, the Darfur People's Association of New York, are disheartened by your (...)

REDRESS calls for the immediate release of Sudan’s distinguished human rights lawyer 2014-12-10 09:02:53 December 9, 2014 ­­ — REDRESS, and many other individuals and organisations around the world, are extremely concerned by the continuing secret detention of Dr. Amin Mekki Medani. On Saturday, 4 (...)


MORE

Copyright © 2003-2014 SudanTribune - All rights reserved.