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Sudan Tribune

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Darfur rebels reject Bashir’s call for reconciliation

April 8, 2009 (PARIS) — Darfur rebel groups slammed the Sudanese President’s call for reconciliation in Darfur and asked him to cooperate with international justice.

President Omer Hassan Al-Bashir – who is wanted by the International Criminal Court – pledged yesterday in a speech delivered in Zalingei, West Darfur, to investigate and prosecute those who committed war crimes in the region.

However, he said that trials and compensations can only be commenced after reconciliation is achieved.

Ahmed Hussein Adam, the spokesperson of the rebel Justice and Equality Movement downplayed Bashir’s offer saying such statement are “nonsense” because they had been repeated in the past but never been implemented.

Abdelwahid Al-Nur, the leader of the Sudan Liberation Movement added that tribal reconciliation is a process well known by Darfur people to settle traditional conflicts but “genocide and crimes against humanity committed by the regime should be tried by the ICC because they were committed by the government.”

“What Bashir says is irrelevant” said Al-Nur.

The SLM founder also stressed that the first thing Khartoum should start with is to disarm its militia and then they could speak about reconciliation or compensation. He pointed out that nobody can return to his homeland or village without the disarmament of militia, because “the Janjaweed will attack them to collect their compensations even if so-called reconciliation conferences are held.”

Adam also said that Bashir launches such promises just to avoid international pressure after the ICC decision. He stressed that justice is part and parcel of the peace process.

The Sudanese government has mobilized local militias and conducted counter-insurgency campaigns in Darfur since 2003. According to the UN, some 300,000 people were killed and 2.7 displaced as a result of this repression.

On March 4, the ICC pre-trial chamber issued an arrest warrant for the Sudanese president on war crimes and crimes against humanity. The government immediately retaliated by ordering some 13 international non-governmental organizations out of the country.
The two rebel officials said Bashir has to reverse his decision and allow the return of the expelled aid groups. They pointed to the critical situation created by the eviction of the aid groups and deplored the international lack of action in this regard.

Adam stressed that these ousted groups are administrating 60% of the international aid to the Darfur people while Al-Nur underscored the need for water and health service saying that Darfur needs more aid groups because the camps are receiving news waves of IDPs.

The UN humanitarian official, Ameera Haq last month said that the government and UN partners are working to cover gaps. However she stressed that the “risks of increased morbidity and mortality are high.” Haq underlined the need for concrete plans in order to bridge the gaps in the coming weeks.

The Sudanese government said at different times since March 4, that its decision is irreversible. Also the Sudanese president Omer Al-Bashir said he intends to “sudanize” the humanitarian activities by the end of the year.

(ST)