Home | Comment & Analysis    Monday 3 March 2008

Darfur, The $64 Question


By Mahmoud A. Suleiman

March 2, 2008 — I share Mr. Majok e Deng‘s sentiments and find his Comment on the Darfur war crimes suspect, Ahmed Haroun, state minister for humanitarian affairs, who is alleged to have attempted to travel on a forged passport for pilgrimage, reported in SudanTribune by Wasil Ali, impressive, appropriate and spot-on. It is more appropriate to bring NCP regime President Omar el-Bashir and his party to The Hague as he is the head of the same government that has presided over the deaths of as many as 400,000 people in Darfur and more than two-and-a-half million driven from flaming villages by the Chinese-backed government of Sudan. Assistant President and former Chief of National Security custodian of “Ghost Houses”, Nafie Ali Nafie, Director of National Intelligence Salah Abdallah Abu Digin (Salah Gosh), and Minster of Defence Major General Abdel Rahim Mohamed Hussein are to be punished for crimes against humanity in Darfur. Salah Gosh and Abdel Rahim Mohamed Hussein have already been named by the UN Panel of Experts charged with investigating crimes against humanity in Darfur. The Panel found that both men had "command responsibility" for the atrocities committed by the multiple Sudanese security services. Abdel Rahim Hussein was found responsible for "coordination of operations between entities within the Sudanese Armed Forces and militia groups" - code language for orchestrating Janjaweed attacks on civilians.

The real power in Khartoum is not the dictator, President Field Marshal Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir, though; he remains totally unmoved by the tragedy in Darfur. He argues defiantly that the death toll is Only 9 thousands and not as described by the Western Neo-colonial Media. He is the incumbent president holding office of the regime; nevertheless, the real power is the cabal of security officers who have run both the Sudanese Islamist movement and the Sudanese state as a private but collegial enterprise for the last 18 years. All the political plots and dirty work is laid by this clique. It seems disingenuous on the part of the elements in the National Islamic Front (NIF) regime to use this obscure unheard-of notorious person, the infamous war crimes suspect Ahmed Haroun, as substitute scapegoat for themselves to avoid prosecution in the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague in the Netherlands. However, the ICC Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo presented evidence showing that Ahmad Muhammad Haroun, former Sudanese Minister of State for the Interior, and Janjaweed militia leader Ali Kushayb, (also known as Ali Muhammad Ali Abd-Al-Rahman) “jointly committed crimes against the civilian population in Darfur. The crimes were allegedly committed during attacks on the villages and towns of Kodoom, Bindisi, Mukjar and Arawala in west Darfur between August 2003 and March 2004. Furthermore, according to the ICC, Mr. Haroun, currently Sudan’s state humanitarian affairs minister, said during a public meeting that as the head of the “Darfur Security desk,” he had been given “all the power and authority to kill or forgive whoever in Darfur for the sake of peace and security.” Mr. Kushayb, an “Aqid al Oqada” (“colonel of colonels”) in west Darfur, was commanding thousands of Janjaweed militia by mid-2003 and the prosecution’s evidence shows that he issued orders to the militia and armed forces to victimize the civilian populations through mass rape and other sexual offences, killings, torture, inhumane acts, pillaging and looting of residences and marketplaces, the displacement of the resident community and other alleged criminal acts. Accordingly, on the 27 February 2007 the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) chief prosecutor named the Sudanese minister Ahmed Haroun and a militia commander Ali Kushayb as the first suspects he wants tried for war crimes and crimes against humanity in Sudan’s conflict-wracked Darfur region. On May 2, 2007, the ICC’s Pre-Trial Chamber issued warrants for arrest of Sudan’s state minister for humanitarian affairs, Ahmed Haroun, and the Janjaweed militia leader known as Ali Kushayb for a series of attacks in West Darfur in 2003 and 2004. Ali Kushayb is reportedly in Sudanese custody on the basis of other charges being brought in national proceedings. Dicker of Human Rights Watch said “Our research indicates that Sudanese officials at the highest levels were responsible for widespread atrocities in Darfur in 2003 and 2004,” “To ensure justice is done, the prosecutor must follow the evidence further up the chain of command.” The government of Sudan (GOS) has so far rejected handing over the two suspects. The International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) circulated a notice for the arrest of Haroun in June 2007. The International Criminal Court (ICC) has stocked a genocidaires,” dossier which contains a list of Darfur war crimes suspects. The Security Council referred the Darfur issue, along with the names of 51 suspected perpetrators, to the ICC in March 2005, after a UN inquiry into whether genocide occurred in Darfur found the Government responsible for crimes under international law and strongly recommended referring the dossier to the Court. Legal rights and liabilities do not abrogate due to time lapse, Legal Experts Say. The Law of the Non impunity by passage of time would be applied to the war criminals in Darfur. Lapse of time will not make the NCP war criminals get away without facing the predicaments of their war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur. The precedents in the law of the International Court of Justice in Serbia for trial of Slobodan Milosevic for his war crimes and crimes against humanity in The Hague in the Netherlands would apply in Sudan. Mr. Milosevic was found dead in his prison cell at The Hague on March 11, 2006. Angry and dismissive, Darfuris who fled their homes to the relative safety of overcrowded makeshift camps continue to demand the Khartoum regime to hand over the two war crimes suspects to the International Criminal Court (ICC). The people of Darfur dismissed as unworthy a trial which Sudan’s special Darfur court set up for Kushayb and others, which has been delayed over an appeal by the defendants. Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Dorti camp outside Geneina, West Darfur state capital say, sarcastically, "How can (President Omar Hassan al-Bashir) try Kushayb when al-Bashir himself is a criminal?!" The Darfur Internally displaced Persons (IDPs) in Kalma camp, South Darfur, say Khartoum fabricates pretexts to dismantle camps. Tribal chiefs disclosed that since August 2007 there were 138 persons killed in Kalma camps following attacks by government of Sudan (GOS) allied militias and former rebels who are now allies of Khartoum government. They added that "Eliasson is marketing Khartoum’s false propaganda and tries every time he comes to Darfur to distort our cause." This was in response to the statements made in May 2007 by the UN Special envoy to Darfur Jan Eliasson who repeatedly expressed concerns over “radicalization and taking up of arms by refugee camp residents in Darfur”. The Darfur displaced and refugees told Sudan tribune from Kalma, South Darfur, that they handed a letter to the representatives of the UN and African Union in the area telling Jan Eliasson that he was not welcome in Darfur displaced camps.

The former Sudanese diplomat Francis Mading Deng the Research Professor of International Politics, Law and Society and the new UN Special Adviser for the Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocities after reviewing Robert O. Collins’ Civil Wars and Revolution in the Sudan, concludes: the situation in Darfur will, however, requires more urgent and robust measures to stop the killings, provide sufficient humanitarian assistance, ensure a credible ceasefire and promote a viable political settlement that addresses the genuine grievances of the region. People in of Sudan in Darfur commend H.E. Deng’s sentiments. The World appears to have Left the NIF/NCP government to their own devices. It appears that the International Community is waiting for the National Congress Party regime to voluntarily grant justice to Darfur while Khartoum is playing Judge, jury and executioner. Do we expect ("A leopard change its spots"? Disillusioned analysts and observers wondered and quoted as saying whether it was the end of the era or the justice for the people of Darfur maybe tomorrow when pigs fly?! Human Rights Violation Catastrophe in Darfur is doomed to continue to be committed by with impunity. When the UN Security Council adopted the Resolution 1593 to send Darfur Cases to the International Criminal Court (ICC) just before midnight Thursday 1 April 2005 by a vote of 11 in favour, with Algeria, Brazil, China and the United States abstaining, a statement issued by Mr. Annan’s spokesman after the vote said that the Secretary-General commended the Council “for using its authority under the Rome Statute to provide an appropriate mechanism to lift the veil of Impunity that has allowed human rights crimes in Darfur to continue unchecked. The move was welcomed by the then Secretary-General Kofi Annan as one that would “ensure that those responsible for atrocities in Darfur are held to account.”

The U.N. Security Council (UNSC) Chapter VII Resolution 1593 referring the situation in Darfur to the ICC meant that Luis Moreno Ocampo has to work against a hostile government, yet with no options but to comply. Hence the Chief Prosecutor would investigate individuals in the Darfur case on the basis of evidence irrespective of the political position of the indicted person.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) announced on Wednesday May the 2nd 2007 that it had issued arrest warrants for a Janjaweed militia leader Ali Muhammad al-Abd al-Rahman, also known as "Ali Kushayb" and Ahmad Muhammad Haroun, the state minister for humanitarian affairs, are accused of 41 and 50 counts respectively of crimes against humanity and war crimes. They are alleged to have played lead roles in joint army and militia attacks on four villages in West Darfur in 2003 and 2004, where hundreds of civilians were executed, though Khartoum says it had no intention of handing over them. Will the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) use its powers, outlined in Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, that include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the establishment of international sanctions against regimes, and the authorization for military action for the maintenance of international peace and security? Another sixty-four dollar question ($64 question)

Dr. Mahmoud A. Suleiman is the Deputy Chairman of the General Congress for Justice and Equality Movement (JEM). He can be reached at mahmoud.abaker@gmail.com

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  • 3 March 2008 12:05, by Akol Liai Mager

    War criminal El Bashir with his NIF re-decorated as NCP party’s Wolves must go to Hague sooner or later. They run to smile in toilets thinking that they have inflicted a heavy blow on ICC, but what they don’t know is that their time is countingdown faster. If they try to eliminate few of their wanted men as they did to those sent by El Bashir to attack Egyptian President in Adis Ababa, the list of elinmination will finish with El Bashir himself.

  • 4 March 2008 02:35, by Majok e Deng

    Your excellency Dr. Mahmoud A. Suleiman, I deeply appreciate everything that you are doing for our people in Darfur. You represent what a man is borned to do. I believe you were destined to liberate the people of Darfur and the people of Sudan in general from this despotic and hypocritic Islamic government in Khartoum. I wish you good luck in the process of liberating our great and decent people of Darfur and the entire Sudan.

    Thank you

    Majok e Deng

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