Tag Archive: Lone Nile of Sudan


June 10, 2020

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court called the surrender of Sudanese militia leader Ali Kushayb to the war crimes tribunal “a pivotal development” for victims awaiting justice and urged Sudan to hand over former president Omar al-Bashir and two others wanted by the court.

Bensouda also called on Abdallah Banda, commander of the Justice and Equality rebel group in Sudan’s western Darfur region who remains at large, to follow Kushayb and surrender to the ICC. The ICC said Kushayb, who is charged with 50 crimes against humanity and war crimes in the devastating conflict, surrendered to authorities in a remote corner of northern Central African Republic, near the country’s border with Sudan, and arrived at the court’s detention center in The Hague, Netherlands, on Tuesday evening.

Bensouda told the U.N. Security Council that she hopes Kushayb’s surrender sends an unequivocal message that her office will not stop pursuing alleged perpetrators of the world’s worst crimes “no matter how long it takes or the obstacles placed in our path.”

The vast Darfur region was gripped by bloodshed in 2003 when rebels from the territory’s ethnic central and sub-Saharan African community launched an insurgency accusing the Arab-dominated government in Khartoum of discrimination and neglect.

The government responded with a scorched-earth assault of aerial bombings and unleashed local nomadic Arab militias known as the Janjaweed, who are accused of mass killings and rapes. Up to 300,000 people were killed and 2.7 million were driven from their homes.

The Darfur conflict took place under the three-decade autocratic rule of al-Bashir, who has been charged with genocide by the ICC for allegedly masterminding the campaign of attacks. Al-Bashir’s rule ended in April 2019 when the military ousted him after mass street protests by a pro-democracy movement which began in late 2018.

A power-sharing agreement signed in August 2019 between the military and protesters created a joint civilian-military transitional ruling “sovereign council,” but the civilians are struggling to assert authority in the face of the military’s power.

Bensouda said she placed a courtesy call to Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok about the surrender of Kushayb, a senior Janjaweed commander, and was encouraged by their “open and helpful conversation.”

“I remain hopeful that a new chapter of constructive ICC-Sudan engagement rooted in mutual respect and a genuine commitment to bringing justice for the victims of heinous crimes committed in Darfur may be on the horizon,” she said, stressing that a dialogue between her office and the government “is imperative.“

Bensouda noted that al-Bashir is serving a two-year sentence for a conviction relating to financial corruption and that Sudan’s public prosecutor has also reportedly announced additional charges relating to the 1989 coup that brought him to power. She said she is also aware of recent reports that the government anti-corruption body recently confiscated assets valued at $4 billion from al-Bashir, his family and associates.

Bensouda said two other suspects sought by the ICC are reportedly in government custody awaiting charges by the public prosecutor, Abdel Raheem Hussein and Ahmad Harun. She expressed concern at reports that both suspects are ill with the COVID-19 virus, saying “I trust that adequate measures are being taken by the authorities to attend to their health in detention.”

The prosecutor stressed that the 2005 Security Council resolution that referred the situation in Darfur to the ICC and subsequent orders from ICC judges state that “Sudan remains under an international legal duty to surrender all the suspects subject to an ICC arrest warrant to the court without delay.”

Kushayb will be the first Darfur suspect to be tried at the court, and Bensouda thanked all parties involved in his surrender especially the governments of Central African Republic, Chad, France and the Netherlands and the U.N. mission in the Central African Republic.

“A window of opportunity has been opened,” Bensouda said. “We must collectively seize it. Let us work together to finally bring justice to the victims of Darfur.” Sudan’s U.N. Ambassador Omer Mohamed Siddig told the council the government read the ICC statement on the surrender of Kushayb, who fled Sudan and went into hiding in the Central African Republic. “Definitely, his trial will indeed be a remedy to the victims,” Siddig said.

But the ambassador gave no indication that the government will hand over the other suspects in its custody to the ICC, telling the council: “Al-Bashir and those implicated in Darfur crimes will face justice and be tried accordingly.”

After the meeting, the 10 Security Council members that are parties to the Rome Statute that established the ICC welcomed the surrender, arrest and transfer of Kushayb to the tribunal, calling it “very significant development to advance justice for the victims in Darfur.”

Belgium, Dominican Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Niger, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, South Africa, Tunisia and the United Kingdom also renewed their resolve “to stand united against impunity.”

June 09, 2020

BANGUI, Central African Republic (AP) — In a significant breakthrough in the pursuit of justice for crimes in Darfur, Sudanese militia leader Ali Kushayb, who is charged with 50 crimes against humanity and war crimes in the devastating conflict, has been arrested more than 13 years after a warrant was issued for him and transferred to the International Criminal Court in The Hague, authorities said Tuesday.

Kushayb surrendered to authorities in a remote corner of northern Central African Republic, near the country’s border with Sudan, International Criminal Court spokesman Fadi El Abdallah said. He later added that Kushayb arrived at the ICC’s detention center Tuesday evening.

In the Darfur conflict, rebels from the territory’s ethnic central and sub-Saharan African community launched an insurgency in 2003, complaining of oppression by the Arab-dominated government in Khartoum.

The government responded with a scorched-earth assault of aerial bombings and unleashed militias known as the Janjaweed, who are accused of mass killings and rapes. Up to 300,000 people were killed and 2.7 million were driven from their homes.

The court’s prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda said Kushayb’s surrender and transfer into the court’s custody nearly two decades after the Darfur conflict raged was “a powerful and somber reminder that the victims of atrocity crimes in the Darfur region of Sudan have waited too long to see justice done. The victims in the Darfur situation deserve to finally have their day in court.”

The ICC charged Sudan’s ousted former president Omar al-Bashir with genocide for allegedly masterminding the campaign of attacks. Al-Bashir has not been turned over to the court to face trial. Kushayb’s detention sets the stage for the court to hold its first trial focused on the Darfur conflict.

Brad Brooks-Rubin, managing director of The Sentry, a watchdog group co-founded by George Clooney, called Kushayb’s detention “a modest triumph for the cause of accountability for atrocity crimes in Africa.”

“This represents a glimpse of hope for people in Darfur and around the world who desperately seek justice and security but are too often forgotten,” he said. According to the ICC’s arrest warrant, Kushayb is accused of commanding thousands of Janjaweed militia back in 2003-2004 and acting as a go-between for the militia and Sudanese government. The ICC says he “personally participated in some of the attacks against civilians” and allegedly “enlisted fighters, armed, funded and provided food and other supplies to the Janjaweed militia under his command.”

Among offenses listed on his arrest warrant are murder, rape, persecution and pillage. No immediate date was set for Kushayb to appear before the court. At his initial appearance, judges will seek to confirm his identity and that he has read and understood the charges against him and his rights. The next stage will be a preliminary hearing, likely to be months from now, at which prosecutors will attempt to convince judges that their evidence is strong enough to merit putting Kushayb on trial. He faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment if convicted.

Central African Republic Attorney General Eric Didier Tambo confirmed to The Associated Press that Kushayb had been extradited to The Hague in the Netherlands on Tuesday after being brought to Bangui the day before. It was not immediately known how long he had been in Central African Republic.

Kushayb and al-Bashir evaded arrest on war crimes charges for more than a decade amid reluctance by other African nations to carry out arrest warrants. Al-Bashir, who is accused of crimes including genocide, traveled abroad freely and it was not until after he was deposed last year that Sudanese authorities agreed to extradite him to The Hague. However, the ex-president has not yet been turned over to the ICC.

Human Rights Watch welcomed Kushayb’s detention. “Today is a landmark day for justice for victims of atrocities committed across Darfur and their families,” said Elise Keppler, associate director of the group’s International Justice Program. “The world watched in horror as Sudan’s government carried out brutal attacks on Darfur civilians, killing, raping, burning and looting villages, starting in 2003. But after 13 years, justice has finally caught up with one major fugitive of the crimes.

Kushayb’s arrest underscored the importance of the International Criminal Court, which has faced fierce criticism from the United States. “Justice is not always immediately possible, making the ICC’s role as a permanent court so critical,” she said. “ICC arrest warrants have no expiration date, but do rely on cooperation from states to be enforced.”

Mike Corder reported from The Hague, Netherlands. Krista Larson in Dakar, Senegal, contributed to this story.

December 19, 2019

CAIRO (AP) — Amnesty International on Thursday urged Sudan’s new transitional government to deliver on the people’s demands for sweeping change as the country marked the first anniversary of mass protests that led to the ouster of former president and longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir.

A year ago, the first rally was held in Sudan to protest the soaring cost of bread, marking the beginning of a pro-democracy movement that convulsed the large African country. That led, in April, to the extraordinary toppling by the country’s military of al-Bashir, and ultimately to the creation of a joint military-civilian Sovereign Council that has committed to rebuilding the country and promises elections in three years.

To mark the anniversary, activists have organized protests in cities across the country. “The transitional authorities must honor the commitments they made to restore the rule of law and protect human rights,” Seif Magango, Amnesty’s deputy director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes said in a statement. “The Sudanese people deserve nothing less.”

The global rights group said Sudan’s new government has shown positive signs of progress during its fragile transition to democracy, citing the repeal of a decades-old Islamist moral policing law and dissolution of the former ruling party — moves that have helped the Sovereign Council distance itself from al-Bashir’s disgraced rule.

Over the weekend, a court in Sudan convicted al-Bashir of money laundering and corruption, sentencing him to two years in a minimum security lockup. The image of the former dictator in a defendant’s cage “sent a strong message, on live TV for all of Sudan to see, that we are on the route toward justice,” said Sarah Abdel-Jaleel, a spokeswoman for the protest organizers.

But in the view of protesters, Abdel-Jaleel added, “al-Bashir has not been held to account.” The deposed ruler is under indictment by the International Criminal Court on far more serious charges of war crimes and genocide linked to his brutal suppression of the insurgency in the western province of Darfur in the early 2000s. The military has refused to extradite him to stand trial in The Hague.

Amnesty also called on the new government to hold security forces accountable for killing scores of people in their efforts to stifle protests against military rule, especially those behind a deadly crackdown on a huge sit-in outside the military headquarters in the capital, Khartoum, in June. Since last December, nearly 200 protesters have been killed.

The government recently appointed independent judges to oversee investigations into the killings, a major achievement for the protest movement. But even the most high-profile cases have shown no signs of official action, said Amnesty’s Sudan researcher Ahmed Elzobier. Families still find it very difficult to bring cases against security officers, he added.

Sudan is under heavy international and regional pressure to reform. With the economy on the brink, the new government has made it a mission to get Sudan removed from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism so that it can attract badly needed foreign aid.

Many pro-democracy protesters say the revolution remains unfinished. The poverty, high prices and resource shortages that catalyzed the original uprising continue to fuel frustration. “We’re looking at a deep state that for thirty years has been plagued by corruption and economic crisis,” said Abdel-Jaleel. “But if the nation is given an opportunity to achieve democracy and development and peace, that will be an achievement for the world, not just for Sudan.”

June 17, 2018

Militants from the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) headed by Minni Minnawi are fighting alongside Khalifa Haftar’s forces in the Libyan city of Derna, Sudanese news website Bajnews reported Saturday, confirming that a number of them were killed.

The news website quoted a cousin for one of the militants as saying that his relative was killed with other Sudanese rebels while fighting under Minnawi armed group to support Haftar’s forces in Derna.

The website added that the family of the killed militant is currently receiving condolences on his death in Darfur.

The Sudanese Government has accused the armed rebel movements of fighting in Libya in exchange for military equipment and money; however, the SLM movement denied these allegations and confirmed their presence on Sudanese territory.

Source: The Libya Observer.

Link: https://www.libyaobserver.ly/inbrief/sudanese-rebels-are-fighting-alongside-dignity-operation-libya%E2%80%99s-derna.

January 31, 2018

Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan have agreed to establish railways and roads to connect them to each other, Khartoum’s Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour said yesterday.

The presidents of the three countries met on the sidelines of the 28th ordinary AU Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, yesterday where they “agreed to establish railways and roads connecting the three countries,” Ghandour said in a press statement.

They also agreed to establish a joint financial fund to support these projects, he added.

Remarking on the talks regarding Ethiopia’s dam, Ghandour said a joint political, security and technical committee which includes the ministers of foreign affairs and irrigation, as well as directors of the security and intelligence services from the three countries will be formed in order to provide technical studies for the heads of the three countries related to filling the dam’s lake and how it will operate in a way that does not affect Egypt and Sudan’s share of Nile water.

The Sudanese minister said that Khartoum and Cairo have also agreed to form a committee of foreign ministers and security and intelligence chiefs who will meet in Cairo during the next two weeks to discuss all outstanding issues.

“The presidents of the two countries stressed that the relationship between Egypt and Sudan is eternal and must be maintained,” he said.

Source: Middle East Monitor.

Link: https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20180131-roads-trains-to-link-sudan-egypt-ethiopia/.

January 16, 2018

Turkey’s Ambassador to Khartoum Irfan Neziroglu said yesterday that “the agreements signed between my country and Sudan have entered into force”.

Speaking to the Sudanese Media Center, the Turkish ambassador said as soon as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan left Sudan the agreements entered into force.

He stressed that his country “wants to rebuild and revitalize the island of Suakin”.

“We have already begun to do so by reconstructing four buildings on this island, including Al-Shafei Mosque, the customs building and other buildings,” he said.

He condemned statements which criticized Turkey’s role in Sudan saying: “I wonder when the presidents of other countries visit Sudan, why do they not get upset? Why were they upset when the Turkish president came?”

During his visit to Sudan in late December, Erdogan offered to reconstruct the island of Suakin. Egyptian and Gulf media have since said this is a threat to regional security.

The two countries signed 21 cooperation agreements in the fields of economy, tourism, infrastructure, military cooperation, agriculture and others during Erdogan’s visit.

Source: Middle East Monitor.

Link: https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20180116-ambassador-turkey-sudan-agreements-enter-into-force/.

December 27, 2017

The two-day visit to Khartoum by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to meet his Sudanese counterpart Omar Al-Bashir this week, marks a new phase in the relationship between the two countries. It also appears to affirm that a consensus on the Palestinian issue may have been given a new lease of life.

The relationship between the two countries dates back 500 years when the Ottoman Emperor Sultan Selim I and his army — equipped with the latest technology of the day, bayonets of gunpowder — crushed the sword-wielding forces of the 300-year Mamluk dynasty, just outside the Syrian city of Aleppo on 24 August 1516. The victory marked the beginning of the Ottoman conquest of Arab lands and led to a period of Islamic world dominance. Inadvertently, it set the stage for yesterday’s historic meeting between the successor to the Ottomans and the inheritor of the ancient African Nilotic Kush civilization.

Clearly, the two men and nations have taken divergent paths when dealing with international and domestic issues, but today Sudan and Turkey appear to be more ideologically matched than at any time in the recent past, and their alliance may prove to be key in applying a new dimension to the Palestine-Israel crisis. More than one hundred years after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and almost 60 years after the independence of the Republic of Sudan, Erdogan and Al-Bashir shook hands firmly on the tarmac at Khartoum International Airport in the middle of guests and dignitaries eager to be part of the historic event.

Just two weeks-ago, the two men were also together in Istanbul with other heads of state at the extraordinary summit called by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to reject US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Fifty years ago, it was Omar Al-Bashir’s predecessors who presided over the Khartoum Summit convened by the Arab League in response to the crushing defeat of Arab armies at the hands of Israel in the Six-Day War. The 1967 summit passed a resolution proclaiming no to peace with the Zionists, no to recognizing the State of Israel and no to negotiations. Sudan’s official position since then has been in support of the Saudi-backed Arab Peace Initiative, which proposes normalized relations with Israel in return for the complete withdrawal of occupation forces from the West Bank, Gaza Strip and most of East Jerusalem, along the 1949 Armistice Line, which was the de facto border in 1967.

Much has also changed on the Arab stance with regard to Palestine, but at Sunday’s news conference the message from Erdogan and Al-Bashir was again another series of emphatic “noes” that seems to represent the view of most other countries around the world: No to Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital; no to the movement of embassies; and no to the effective takeover of Islam’s third holiest shrine, Al-Aqsa Mosque, and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Old City. Erdogan reflected — understandably with a sense of satisfaction — on last week’s non-binding UN General Assembly vote declaring Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel to be null and void; the vote was 128 in favor of the resolution, with 35 abstentions and only 9 countries voting against. The issue, he said, is one which affects humanity, not just Muslims.

Sources have told MEMO that the two leaders share the view that the issue of Jerusalem could result in a closing of the damaging Sunni and Shia divide. The two leaders have good relations with Tehran. MEMO has been informed that they are persuaded by President Hassan Rouhani’s offer of unity on the Palestinian issue and intend to work towards achieving regional and world peace. The two sides understand that having a unified stance with Iran on the Palestine issue would put them on a collision course with the US insistence that Sunni states should view Tehran as an enemy and a threat to Israel’s interests.

Many people regard Erdogan and Al-Bashir with respect for their pro-Palestine rhetoric and believe that they hold the key to galvanizing global support for the cause. Sudan’s Islamic movement controls up to 80 per cent of the government and regards the question of Jerusalem as a “red line”, as do others. Prominent Muslim scholars refer to Erdogan in religious terms as a “reformer”, the likes of which are promised to appear every hundred years according to some Islamic traditions.

For the moment, though, the priorities of Erdogan and Al-Bashir are to boost bilateral trade, help Turkey establish a foothold in Africa and continue to help each other on domestic issues. Erdogan’s arrival at Khartoum Airport was preceded by that of 200 Turkish businessmen who have signed deals expected to boost the value of bilateral trade to over US$ 10 billion in the next ten years. Sudan is seen as a gateway to Africa helping Turkey to increase its diplomatic, military and economic presence across the continent. The strategy seems to be working; in 2005, Turkey had 12 embassies in African states, whereas it now has 39 major diplomatic missions.

For its part, Turkey has supported Sudan politically over the years in the efforts to get US sanctions lifted. The Turkish President and his government praised Sudan’s defense of the state after the attempted coup on 15 July 2016. Under Ankara’s direction, Sudan has closed schools once run by the FETO Gülen movement and helped to secure the arrest of Turkish nationals suspected of financing the movement’s coup attempt.

The two-day visit ended on note of great optimism, not least for the economic future of the two nations. It also sent out signals of strong leadership that will be central to the direction taken by the Palestinian issue and the Muslim world in general.

Source: Middle East Monitor.

Link: https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20171227-a-sudan-turkey-alliance-promises-a-new-direction-for-the-muslim-world/.

October 12, 2016

Sudanese President Omar Hassan Al-Bashir has promised his supporters what he called a “new Sudan without tribalism,” Anadolu has reported. He made the promise in a speech to thousands of his supporters in Green Square, Khartoum. They had gathered to declare their support for the recommendations of the National Dialogue, which was approved on Monday.

Removing the tribal checkbox on official papers is one of the highlights of the recommendations. The dialogue was boycotted by the main opposition factions. According to the president, “From now on, our identity is just Sudanese, with no tribal references as part of it.” He repeated his call to opponents to sign up to the National Dialogue.

Identity is one of the six themes covered by the dialogue sessions. Many Sudanese associate it with the country’s civil wars since its independence from British rule in 1956.

South Sudan, made up mainly of African groups with a majority of Christian and local religions in addition to a Muslim minority, was separated from the north — dominated by Muslim Arabs — in 2011. A national referendum agreed to a peace agreement signed in 2005 to bring an end to decades of devastating civil war.

Bashir launched an initiative for dialogue in early 2014, but its sessions only started this month. Opposition factions boycotted the initiative after Bashir rejected their conditions, especially the release of political detainees and convicts, the abolition of laws restricting freedoms, and an independent mechanism to manage the process, which was held under the president’s chairmanship.

Foreign mediation saw the signing of a road map resulting in negotiations between the government and rebel movements last August, before the talks were suspended for an indefinite period. In the past few days, government officials asserted that they would not get engaged in a new dialogue, and the opposition factions should sign-up only for the recommendations in order to be part of the implementation process. The opposition announced that it does not care about the recommendations and threatened to resort to a popular uprising.

On Tuesday, Sadiq Al-Mahdi, the leader of the National Party, the largest opposition party in the country, said that the opposition factions are “united in their position, and refuse to engage in the regime and its allies’ dialogue.” He stressed that the opposition is committed to a comprehensive dialogue through the road map and the supervision of the African Mechanism, led by the former President of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki.

Source: Middle East Monitor.

Link: https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20161012-bashir-promises-supporters-a-new-tribe-free-sudan/.

By Michel Arseneault

13-10-2011

President Omar al-Bashir says Sudan will go ahead with plans to adopt an entirely Islamic constitution. Bashir had already said that Sudan would adopt an Islamic constitution if the south seceded. But many southerners had hoped he would not go ahead.

Bashir says that 98 per cent of the Sudanese population is Muslim, and that the new constitution should reflect this.

Speaking to students in Khartoum, he said the official religion would be Islam and that Islamic law would be the constitutional source of future legislation.

Under the comprehensive peace agreement signed between north and south, Sudan’s constitution recognizes “the cultural and social diversity of the Sudanese people”.

But many southerners say they no longer feel welcome in the north since the two separated in July.

The General Secretary of the Sudan Council of Churches, says Sudan must recognize religious diversity. Reverend Ramadan Chan Liol adds that it should explicitly protect the non-Muslim minority in the north.

Reverend Chan Liol adds he was surprised to hear Bashir claim that 98 per cent of the population is Muslim because the Sudanese census does not ask citizens to state their religion.

Source: RFI.

Link: http://en.rfi.fr/africa/20111013-sudan-islam.

July 16, 2016

KIGALI, Rwanda (AP) — Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir arrived in Rwanda on Saturday to attend a summit of African leaders, defying an international warrant for his arrest after public assurances from Rwandan leaders that he would not be arrested.

The African Union summit on Sunday is expected to discuss the continent’s uneasy relationship with the International Criminal Court, which some say unfairly targets Africans. Ahead of the summit, some African countries renewed efforts to quit the ICC en masse despite the opposition of some countries like Botswana. Nigeria, Senegal and Ivory Coast have been pushing back as well in recent days.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has led growing criticism of the ICC, calling it “useless” during his inauguration in May, an event that al-Bashir attended. Some countries want a separate African court with jurisdiction over rights abuses.

“Withdrawal from ICC is entirely within the sovereignty of a particular state,” Joseph Chilengi, an AU official, told reporters Saturday. Al-Bashir is wanted by the ICC for alleged atrocities in the country’s Darfur region.

He should be at the ICC answering to charges that include genocide, “not persisting in this game of cat-and-mouse with the court,” Elise Keppler of Human Rights Watch said Saturday night. Rwandan Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo said this week that Rwanda would not arrest al-Bashir.

“Africa doesn’t support criminals, but when justice is involved with a lot of politics we take a pause to separate the two,” Mushikiwabo told reporters. The African Union summit also will discuss South Sudan, where clashing army factions raised concerns of a return to civil war. The chaos threatens a peace deal signed last August between President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar.

United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon, who is attending the summit, has called for an arms embargo.

Muhumuza reported from Kampala, Uganda.