Sudan slams ‘repetitive’ UN reports on South Kordofan’s abuses

August 15, 2011 (Sudan Tribune)

A new UN report has reiterated claims that human rights abuses allegedly committed during the conflict in Sudan’s state of South Kordofan may amount to “war crimes” and “crimes against humanity,” and must therefore be fully investigated.

The Office of the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights released the long awaited report documenting and describing alleged mass atrocities committed in South Kordofan since the conflict there erupted in early June.

South Kordofan’s conflict broke out between Sudan’s army and rebels aligned with South Sudan which gained independence last month. The fighting quickly escalated into heavy aerial bombardment by Khartoum amid reports of attacks targeting the state’s African indigenous population of the Nuba which largely supports the rebels.

The SPLA claimed that Sudan’s army attempted to disarm its fighters though Khartoum on the other hand says it was SPLA units who instigated the fighting after they attacked a police station.

Despite Khartoum’s push for a military solution, it appears that both sides are now deadlocked in a military stalemate.

A UN official last week said that at least 200,000 people in South Kordofan have been killed, injured or forced to flee their homes and land since the fighting erupted.

Entitled “Preliminary report on violations of international human rights and humanitarian law in Southern Kordofan from 5 to 30 June 2011”, the new report underscored the gravity of the acts committed by Sudan’s army and its allied paramilitary forces in the region.

According to the report, “serious” violations of human rights law were committed in South Kordofan, including enforced disappearances aerial bombardments, forced displacement, abductions; house-to-house searches; arbitrary arrests and detentions; targeted killings and summary executions.

“If substantiated [the actions] could amount to crimes against humanity, or war crimes for which individual criminal responsibility may be sought,” the report said.

Identical allegations were cited in greater details in a report prepared by the UN Mission in Sudan.

The report, which leaked to the media in mid-July, spoke of “especially egregious” conduct by Sudan’s army and its allied paramilitary group known as the Popular Defense Forces, saying they “have targeted members and supporters of the SPLM/A, most of whom are Nubans and other dark skinned people.”

UNMIS, whose mandate was terminated by Khartoum on 9 July, recommended the establishment of a commission of inquiry or other appropriate investigative authority, including the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), to conduct a comprehensive investigation into the violence in Southern Kordofan and violations of human rights and humanitarian laws and to identify the perpetrators or those who bear the greatest responsibility, with the view to bringing them to justice.

The ICC is already seeking to prosecute Sudanese individuals thought to bear the greater responsibility for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide it alleges were committed in the course of Sudan’s brutal counterinsurgency in the western region of Darfur, especially between 2003 and 2004.

The Hague-based court has issued arrests warrants for three Sudanese individuals, including the country’s President Omer Al-Bashir.

Al-Bashir denies any wrongdoing and denigrates the ICC as a tool of a Western conspiracy to dismantle his regime.The current governor of South Kordofan Ahmed Haroun is also wanted by the Hague tribunal.

Meanwhile, the new report of the UN on South Kordofan abuses has elicited an angry reaction from Khartoum.

Sudan’s foreign ministry spokesman Al- Obaid Marawih termed the information contained in the UN report as “biased and predicated on no evidence.”

He told Sudan’s official news agency (SUNA) on Tuesday that the parties responsible for issuing such reports must refrain from supporting the “rebellion” and seek to engage in ongoing efforts to restore peace and stability to South Kordofan.

According to Muroah, the new UN report was nothing but a “repetition” of UNMIS’s report. He added that all these reports were a carbon copy of other reports produced by organizations actively supporting the rebels and the war against Sudan’s government.

The government’s spokesman said that the rhetoric about war crimes and crimes against humanity in South Kordofan ignores the facts which show that SPLA elements are the ones who tried to stage a coup against the results of the state’s gubernatorial elections and instigated the fighting by attacking government sites.

He further stresses that it was the state’s duty to repulse the rebellion and prevent it from achieving its political goals through armed struggle.


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