|Sudan Peace Act |
Released by the Bureau of African Affairs
April 21, 2004
Report to Congress
SUBJECT: Presidential Determination on the Sudan Peace Act
Consistent with section 6(b)(1)(A) of the Sudan Peace Act (Public Law 107-245), I hereby determine and certify that the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement are negotiating in good faith and that negotiations should continue.
You are authorized and directed to notify the Congress of this determination and to arrange for its publication in the Federal Register.
GEORGE W. BUSH
Consistent with Section 6(b)(1)(A) of the Sudan Peace Act (Public Law 107-245), as enacted into law on October 21, 2002, the President has determined and certified “that the Government of Sudan (GOS) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) are negotiating in good faith and that negotiations should continue.” The President has made this determination and certification on the basis of the following considerations:
(1) The talks have achieved substantial progress toward a comprehensive peace agreement.
The negotiations have achieved tangible results on the four major issues in the negotiations: security arrangements; wealth-sharing; power-sharing; and the three conflict areas of Abyei, Nuba Mountains, and Southern Blue Nile.
Resolution of the remaining issues on power-sharing and the two areas (Nuba and southern Blue Nile) will result in a framework on the outstanding issues. The parties can then move on to signing of a comprehensive peace accord and work out remaining details on security arrangements and implementation modalities.
(2) The parties’ perseverance demonstrates a commitment to peace, but they lack a sense of urgency.
While negotiators have proven their durability by sticking with the talks over these many months, we are clearly disappointed that the parties have not yet reached an agreement. Several months ago, they failed to capitalize on the momentum generated by the accords on security and wealth-sharing. More recently, they failed to build on the compromise Abyei proposal tabled by the United States and to use it as a means to facilitate a final package agreement on the remaining issues. The difficult and stagnant pace reveals a minimalist approach by both sides that is manifest in an exercise of zero-sum tactical maneuvers and results in tentative progress. Indeed, frequent promises of flexibility and compromise are hampered by a dedication to self-preservation by both sides that hinders the prospect that the best formula for peace will emerge for the people of Sudan.
The current strategy of engagement employed by both sides must change for Sudan to attain the full measure of what this unique and perhaps singular moment in history is offering. Even if a framework agreement is signed immediately, the existing atmosphere foreshadows a similarly rugged and uninspired effort to implement the terms of a comprehensive agreement. This would be unacceptable. Unlocking political stability, economic prosperity, and the protection of individual rights requires a genuine peace built on constructive arrangements. Our confidence is waning that the mutual courage necessary for such an ultimate outcome will be forthcoming. Nevertheless, in the interest of providing the people of Sudan our every effort at a better future and recognizing the progress to date, the United States will maintain its support for the current peace process for now – but we strongly urge the Government and the SPLM to move forward with greater diligence and purpose.
(3) Government-supported atrocities in Darfur and hostilities in other areas have caused a major humanitarian crisis and stimulated renewed skepticism about Government intentions.
The situation in the Darfur region of western Sudan has opened a new chapter of tragedy in Sudan’s troubled history. Large-scale attacks by GOS-supported Arab “jingaweit” militia against African civilians has created a major humanitarian emergency in Darfur, with estimates of almost one million people displaced. We have strongly condemned these atrocities. While the conflict in Darfur is not specifically linked to the negotiations between the GOS and SPLM, it has serious implications, and threatens to overshadow the north-south peace process. Moreover, the government’s actions in Darfur weaken our confidence that it is committed to achieve peace throughout the country. The President made it clear in a recent statement that he “continues to hope for peace for the people of Sudan and for normalization of relations between Sudan and the United States. However, the Government of Sudan must not remain complicit in the brutalization of Darfur.” Working with the African Union and European Union, the United States helped bring about a ceasefire agreement in Darfur on April 8. The United States continues to call upon the Government to ensure an end to all violence and to allow unrestricted access for humanitarian assistance. It appears that the violence there has somewhat diminished; we are determined to establish an effective international monitoring mechanism. All the parties must actively engage in the established process for reversing the situation in Darfur.
In the South, the parties have generally respected the cessation of hostilities agreement signed in fall 2002. An IGAD-led Verification and Monitoring Team (VMT) has been formed to monitor compliance by both sides, as well as allegations of violations by both sides. However, the attacks perpetrated by GOS-allied militia against civilians in the Malakal area of southern Sudan raised serious questions regarding the Government’s intentions. The VMT and U.S.-supported Civilian Protection and Monitoring Team (CPMT) are focusing intensively on the situation in Malakal. This underscores the importance of the international observer role in supporting the peace process.
At the same time, the proposals to test the parties’ interest in moving toward peace that the United States put forth in late 2001 have created a positive climate for peace. The cease-fire in the Nuba Mountains has contributed to a sense of normalcy and provides a model of peace for the rest of Sudan. The investigations of the Civilian Protection and Monitoring Team have generally helped deter attacks.
The United States has continued to work closely with the Inter-governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), which is hosting the peace talks. We particularly appreciate the dedicated efforts of the IGAD mediator, General Lazaro Sumbeiywo. We have also continued to work closely with the international observers to the talks. General Sumbeiywo is pushing the parties to conclude the framework accord within the coming days, and then to move quickly to sort out details on security arrangements and implementation modalities in preparation for the signing of a comprehensive peace accord within the next two months. The international observers are working closely with IGAD to urge the parties to resolve the remaining issues quickly. Both Vice President Taha and Chairman Garang have expressed their commitment to continuing the talks in order to reach a framework accord within the coming days. Special Envoy Danforth, who is lending his considerable dedication, energy, and intellect to this effort, has provided his assessment that, in view of the prospect of a possible framework accord within the coming days, the United States should remain supportive of the talks.
(5) The talks are at their final stage and must be brought to conclusion within the very near future.
While a framework agreement has not been reached during the current round of discussions, Vice President Taha and Chairman Garang have made progress on the remaining issues of the two areas of Nuba Mountains and Southern Blue Nile, and power-sharing. The important issues with respect to the autonomy, within the north, of the Nuba Mountains and Southern Blue Nile have been worked out, but significant details remain to be resolved. Specifically, the parties have not yet agreed on mechanisms for sharing political power in those two areas. Most of the issues on power-sharing, including with respect to the presidency, percentages for shared power, and restructuring of security organs, among others, have been resolved. The parties have not yet agreed on how to handle the question of the status of sharia in the national capital. As part of our efforts to facilitate a settlement, therefore, we have discussed with the parties U.S. ideas for a compromise proposal to resolve the national capital issue.
The two sides are clearly close to a framework agreement on the outstanding issues. The issues have been discussed exhaustively. Vice President Taha and Chairman Garang must now come to grips with the difficult political decisions necessary to conclude the deal. The two sides are exchanging constructive ideas and have drafting teams working on specific language.
We have made clear to Vice President Taha and Chairman Garang that the peace talks must be brought to a successful conclusion. Failure to reach an agreement within the very near future will inevitably contribute to a rise in tensions on the ground from frustrated constituencies and elements potentially hostile to an agreement. The parties have arrived at an historic moment of opportunity to end the civil war. Each side needs to demonstrate the political will to seize what lies within their grasp. This is a matter of the coming days, not months. Given the progress that has been made and the clear opportunity for an agreement that will result in peace and fundamental democratic change, it is essential that United States remain engaged at this final stage of the peace process.
Just over two and one-half years ago the President appointed me Special Envoy for Peace in Sudan, and asked me to explore whether the United States might play a useful role in bringing a just and lasting peace to that country. During that time the United States has been intensively engaged in an effort to move the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement toward peace. The United States has worked with other interested countries in Africa and Europe to help facilitate a peace agreement. We have collaborated closely with the Inter-governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), which has continued to host the peace talks. The persistence and dedication of IGAD mediator General Lazaro Sumbeiywo have kept the parties engaged in an effort to achieve results. Tremendous progress has been made, but I am deeply disappointed that the parties have not yet concluded a peace accord.
Since my last assessment for the Sudan Peace Act determination in April of 2003, I have made three trips to the peace talks in Kenya, as well as to Sudan, neighboring countries, and Europe to support the peace process.
I am gratified that engagement by the United States has helped achieve major results:
At the same time, the proposals to test the parties’ interest in moving toward peace that the United States put forth in late 2001 have, in general, helped to create a positive climate for peace.
The signing of agreements on security issues and wealth-sharing last fall was a major breakthrough, which gave the peace talks considerable momentum. The security accord contains the unprecedented provision for the maintenance of separate military forces while at the same time demonstrating a commitment to peace and unity through the creation of joint integrated units. The wealth-sharing agreement contains provisions for equitable distribution of petroleum revenues between north and south, as well as the establishment of a single currency and other mechanisms designed to encourage economic development and unity.
Unfortunately, the parties were unable to capitalize on these achievements to finish discussions on power-sharing and the three areas. In order to break the impasse on the sensitive issue of Abyei, the U.S. presented a compromise proposal in March that was accepted by both sides, provided that it is part of a comprehensive package. We urged the parties to use this as the basis for reaching a package on the remaining issues. This has not happened, and the momentum that should have been seized to complete a framework agreement has been lost to familiar inflexibility and delay.
Most of the issues with respect to the Nuba Mountains and Southern Blue Nile have been worked out, although significant details remain to be resolved. The parties have worked out most of the issues on power-sharing. The parties, however, remain unable to resolve the question of the status of Sharia in the national capital. As part of our efforts to facilitate a settlement, we have discussed with the parties ideas on the national capital issue and have urged them to seriously consider this as the basis for a compromise.
As this is written, Vice President Taha and Chairman Garang are engaged in discussions to resolve the remaining issues. I am encouraged that the two remain intensively engaged, but I am concerned that their failure to reach agreement on the few remaining issues will result in increased tension as they frustrate their constituencies’ hopes for peace. The exchanging of ideas and drafting of language that is taking place in Naivasha is necessary but insufficient to reach an accord. What is required is an increased display of leadership from both sides that enables them to commit to an accord that makes them partners in peace.
As I have pointed out to both Vice President Taha and Chairman Garang, the longer the peace talks drag out, the greater the potential for trouble on the ground. A tragic example of this was the recent attacks against civilians in the area of Malakal in southern Sudan perpetrated by militias allied to the government.
As the President has indicated to President Bashir and in your public statement, the horrendous tragedy of Darfur threatens to overshadow the peace process. On the instructions of the President, I raised the issue of Darfur both with President Bashir and with Vice President Taha, stating that the normalization of relations that should follow a successful peace agreement cannot occur as long as the disaster of Darfur persists. While the conflict in Darfur is not tied directly to the peace talks between the GOS and SPLM, it has significant implications. The violence perpetrated in Darfur by the government and government-supported Arab “jingaweit” militias against African civilians raises serious questions about the government’s commitment to abandon its practices of the past and begin a new chapter of resolving conflict through peaceful means. It further puts into question its commitment to improve its human rights practices, which will be necessary for sanctions to be reviewed and lifted should peace be reached. We welcome the ceasefire signed between the government and the armed opposition in Darfur on April 8. The pace and diligence of its implementation will be a likely indicator of the seriousness the government will give to a North-South agreement. This ceasefire in Darfur must be followed up quickly with establishment of a robust international monitoring mechanism.
When I presented the compromise proposal on Abyei, I made clear that the United States expected the parties to reach an agreement on all the outstanding issues expeditiously. I indicated that, in my assessment to the President for the Sudan Peace Act, I would clearly indicate which party – or parties – was at fault if no agreement was reached.
Because the two sides have made substantial progress, and because Vice President Taha and Chairman Garang are currently engaged in face-to-face negotiations, I cannot at this time conclude that either side is negotiating in bad faith. The differences between the two sides are few, and the participation of the United States has been crucial to progress made to date. Therefore, I recommend that the United States go the extra mile and give the peace process a last chance to succeed.
There is no reason why the Government of Sudan and the SPLM cannot reach an agreement on the remaining components of a comprehensive peace accord within a matter of days. In a very short time, it will be clear whether Vice President Taha and Chairman Garang are willing and able to make the political decisions necessary to resolve the outstanding issues.
Sudan Peace Act Section 8 Report
This report is submitted pursuant to Section 8 of the Sudan Peace Act (P.L. 107-245 (“the Act”). It provides:
“A description of the sources and the current status of Sudan’s financing and construction and pipelines for oil exploitation, the effects of such financing and construction on the inhabitants of the regions in which the oil fields are located, and the ability of the Government of Sudan to finance the war in Sudan with the proceeds of the oil exploitation.”
A. Financing and Construction of Oil Infrastructure and Pipeline
Oil exploration in Sudan began offshore in the Red Sea in the 1950s and 1960s. Chevron undertook significant exploration and development in southern Sudan between 1975 and 1990, after Chevron employees came under attack by rebels in the civil war; the company left Sudan under USG advisement. Chevron’s efforts did not produce oil, despite over $1 billion in investment.
With Chevron’s departure, the Government of Sudan cancelled company’s contracts, citing Chevron’s failure to adhere to the required development and investment schedule. In 1993, Sudan signed a Production Sharing Agreement with State Petroleum Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Arakis Energy Corporation of Canada. Apparently, Arakis could not leverage the financial resources to develop the region and the agreement stagnated until the Chinese National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), and Petronas of Malaysia became involved in 1996.
In March 1997 a new consortium, the Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company (GNPOC), finalized agreements to explore and develop oil reserves previously identified by Chevron. GNPOC is currently made up of CNPC, 40%; Petronas, 30%; ONGC Videsh of India, 25% (purchased in March 2003 from Talisman Energy of Canada); and Sudapet of Sudan, 5%. Sudapet is government owned and operated and is listed as a minority holder in Sudan’s oil exploration and production agreements.
Subsequent to the formation of the consortium, GNPOC entered into agreements with the Government of Sudan for oil exploration and production sharing, and for construction of a 1600km pipeline from the Heglig and Unity oil fields to Port Sudan. GNPOC is estimated to spend $350-450 million per year on exploration and development, and slightly less on operating costs, including drilling upstream wells, pipeline operations, and improvements in pumping capacity.
The pipeline was completed in 1999 with an original capacity of 250,000 barrels/day (b/d). This was expanded to around 300,000 (b/d) in March 2003. Contracts for two other pipelines, one linking Block 6 and the Al-Jeili refinery near Khartoum, the other linking Khartoum and Port Sudan, were signed in 2003 to CNPC and ONGC, respectively. (CNPC has the contract for the Block 6 to al-Jeili pipeline, while ONGC has the contract to expand the existing pipeline from Khartoum to Port Sudan). These pipelines should help realize the government’s hopes of raising oil output to possibly 500,000 b/d by the end of 2005.
India’s ONGC Videsh, China National Petroleum Corporation and Malaysia’s Petronas now dominates Sudan’s oil industry. GNPOC production represents most of Sudan’s current oil output, but there are other consortia active in Sudan. Petronas of Malaysia bought out the shares of Lundin Oil of Sweden in the consortium with rights to exploration in Block 5A, south of GNPOC’s blocks. Petronas is joined by ONGC (The Indians bought out OMV last year) and Sudapet in the consortium.
The Khartoum oil refinery, which opened in June 2000, was built as a joint venture with CNPC. In August 2003, CNPC won a contract to upgrade this refinery, doubling its output capacity to 100,000 b/d. Also in 2003, ONGC announced its agreement to upgrade the Port Sudan refinery, increasing its capacity from 24,000 b/d to 70,000 b/d. Construction on both these projects should start in 2004. Total of France has rights to exploration in the southernmost Block 5 Central and has stated its intention to recommence activities once a peace agreement is signed.
B. Oil Revenues and Uses of Such Oil Revenue by the Government of Sudan
According to the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), the Government of Sudan should receive and average of $1.2 billion per year in oil revenue until the end of the decade. These figures were based on the assumption that the civil war would continue and there would be no revenue sharing with the South. However, the GOS and the SPLM signed a wealth sharing agreement in January, as part of a projected but not concluded peace accord, that detailed the division of sharing, including the sharing of oil revenue.
The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) 2004 Country Report for Sudan notes that international oil prices have remained very high, with the benchmark dated Brent Blend averaging just over US$31/barrel over the first ten weeks of 2004. This is some 25% above the five-year average of just under US$25/b and even higher than the average of US$28.8/b generated in 2003, which was the strongest full-year performance in some 20 years.
High oil prices are also driving up Sudan’s export earnings. The Bank of Sudan has released new external account data, which show that Sudan generated a small trade surplus of some US$34m during the first nine months of 2003. Export earnings strengthened considerably year on year, reaching just under US$1.5bn. In part the gain reflects steady year-on-year growth in production, which, despite a pick-up in domestic demand, generated a significant rise in petroleum and petroleum product export volumes. A more important factor, however, was the strength of international oil prices during the period, which rose by 15-20% during the first nine months of the year. Prices remained very strong over the final quarter of 2003, suggesting that when full-year figures are released they will show an equally robust year-on-year expansion.
The Government of Sudan states that oil revenues are placed in the Central Bank. They are pooled with other revenue sources and used for general government expenditures. Government budgets have grown in direct proportion to oil revenue since 1999. General budget expenditures indicate an increase in civil servant salaries, development projects, and other expenditures. Since the Government of Sudan’s line-item budget and resource allocation (how oil revenues are spent versus tax or other revenues) non-transparent, it is assumed that an increase in government revenue translates into at least increased military expenditures. Although, Human Rights Watch reported in late 2003 that Sudan spent more than 60% of its 2001 oil revenues ($580.2 million) to buy weapons, the magnitude of this oil based spending cannot be fully verified in the absence of more transparency in the budget.
In its December 2003 report, the IMF indicated that oil sector transparency has improved over the past two years and that “the Auditor General has been auditing the accounting of Sudan Petroleum Corporation (SPC) since 2001. The collection and accounting of oil revenue has improved and the frequent occurrence of arrears in the transfer of oil revenue from the SPC to the budget has been resolved. Starting in January 2003, all netting operations were eliminated and replaced by budgeted cash payments, including for pipeline fees. Finally, the authorities have agreed to audit the accounts of all the subsidiaries of the SPC, and will initiate a program to align their accounting systems with international standards as recommended by the Auditor General. To further show that it is managing oil revenues relatively well and budgeting for changes in oil prices, the Government of Sudan established an oil savings account in 2002 to insulate the economy and to protect government expenditures when oil prices fall.
C. Effects of Oil Infrastructure on Local Populations
The effects of oil infrastructure on local populations remain a matter of intense speculation. Groups and individuals, some of whom are pro-SPLA and others reputable NGSs, report that vast areas have been depopulated and human rights violations have increased. Many of the oil companies deny such allegations. The Canadians have sent several delegations to these areas over the past few years. Their reports indicate that the population around oil facilities had increased because of greater security from the depredations of the SPLA or other guerrilla groups and the presence of some amenities (e.g. health clinics, water etc.)
The Civilian Protection Monitoring Team (CPMT) has also documented the Government’s recent military actions in the Western Upper Nile. CPMT reported in January that civilians continued to flee attacks and fighting in the region, which are ongoing despite the recent signing of the revenue sharing agreement between the Government and the SPLM.
“A description of the extent to which that financing [referred to in paragraph (1)] was secured in the United States or with involvement of United States citizens.”
Executive Order 13067 of November 3, 1997 blocks the property and interests in property of the Government of Sudan in the United States or held by U.S. persons and generally prohibits most trade and transactions by U.S. persons with Sudan, unless otherwise authorized by the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). Specifically, most financial dealings with Sudan are prohibited, including the performance by and U.S. person of any contract, including a financing contract, in support of an industrial, commercial, public utility or governmental project. This includes transactions that facilitate Sudan’s financing and construction of infrastructure and pipelines for oil exploitation.
Since the imposition of economic sanctions in 1997, Sudan has been effectively prohibited from securing financing of infrastructure and pipelines for oil exploitation in the United States or with the involvement of U.S. citizens. Prior to the imposition of sanctions in 1997, the Department of State did not review the financing of petroleum-related activities in Sudan from the United States or with the involvement of U.S. persons.
In January 2004, however, the Administration issued a license to an American company to purchase Sudanese-origin oil so that the company could remain in business consistent with domestic laws of the country in which it was operating. Those laws require that all domestic retail distributors of petroleum products purchase oil products from the state-owned petroleum distribution company. A U.S. government license became necessary when the state-owned entity indicated that it was likely to begin importing oil from Sudan. On March 21, 2004 the U.S. Company reported that it had not needed to purchase any Sudanese-origin oil under this license so far. The license does not authorize any transactions regarding the financing of Sudan’s infrastructure of pipelines for oil exploitation. The Administration retains the discretion to review (and rescind) the license as circumstances warrant.
“The best estimates of the extent of aerial bombardment by the Government of Sudan, including targets, frequency, and best estimates of damage.”
From the time the Government of Sudan signed the October 15, 2002 Memorandum of Understanding on cessation of hostilities with the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, it has ceased to employ the tactics of aerial bombardment in southern Sudan, in the strict sense of dropping bombs from fixed-wing aircraft. The Verification Monitoring Team (VMT) has not verified any reports of aerial bombardments during the period under review. VMT could also find no conclusive proof to substantiate the SPLM/A March claim that two GOS helicopter gun-ships bombed several villages around Nimne in western Upper Nile. There is no other credible evidence that the Government carried out aerial bombing attacks in southern Sudan between April 1, 2003 and March 31, 2004. Aerial bombardments were a major feature of the Government’s actions in the south prior to October 15, 2002.
There are, however, allegations that Government helicopters are supporting pro-government militia in the recent outbreak of hostilities around Malakal in the eastern Upper Nile area. Further, witnesses claim that GOS regulars from Malakal have been supporting the attacks with artillery/mortar rounds fired from barges and steamers along the Bahr al Ghazal River. The militia reportedly engaged in a scorched earth campaign against the local inhabitants, which included the burning of villages, murders, rapes and other atrocities. The Civilian Protection Monitoring Team (CPMT), which made onsite inspections of the razed villages, characterized the attacks as the most systematic destruction and displacement of civilians it has observed since CPMT came into existence in August 2002. These actions were also in clear violation of the 2002 cessation of hostilities MOU.
There is, on the other hand, substantial evidence that the Government of Sudan has used aerial bombardment in Darfur (Western Sudan) to support the government-supported “Jingaweit” militias against primarily African opposition and insurgent groups, and against the civilian population. Darfur has witnessed a long history of conflict between the mostly agrarian African residents and the primarily nomadic Arab herders. Since early 2003, Darfur has been the scene of fierce fighting between the Justic and Equlity Movement (JEM) and the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) and Sudanese forces and the Jingaweit. The African population of Darfur is generally Muslim. Opposition groups claim that the Government is determined to establish Arab dominance in Darfur, and is using the Jingaweit militias as a proxy army to accomplish the objective.
Under intensive international pressure, particularly from the U.S., the GOS agreed to direct discussions with opposition/rebel organizations from Darfur, under the mediation of Chad’s President Deby, and in the presence of U.S. and other international observers. A forty-five day, renewable “humanitarian ceasefire” was agreed to on April 8, 2004. The U.S. and others will be carefully monitoring implementation, and will work diligently with the parties to solidify the peace.
The Government appears to be feigning ignorance about the violence in Darfur – widespread rape, looting, killing, maiming, the sacking of villages, and the destruction of livelihood -- which is being meted out by the militia. The cost in human suffering is staggering -- over 850,000 persons are currently displaced or have fled into Chad as refugees. In an early April report, Human Rights Watch accused the GOS of complicity in the crimes being committed against African civilians, who share the same ethnic identities with rebel forces in western Sudan.
International experts and observers have warned that continuing escalation of the conflict, coupled with Government’s reluctance to allow humanitarian access portends a human tragedy of epic proportions. The USG has denounced the targeting of civilians in Darfur. It has also engaged the GOS at the highest levels on the Darfur crisis and has repeatedly urged the Government to bring the Jingaweit under control, arrange a humanitarian cease-fire and allow the humanitarian community access to the region
(Attached is a summary map of aerial bombings during the reporting period as prepared by the Department of State’s Humanitarian Information Unit)
Government troops reportedly burned and looted the ancient Fur village of Jalla in March 2003 in an effort to control a SLM stronghold. Government aircraft subsequently bombed the village. There were minimal civilian casualties as residents had evacuated the village.
According to the Sudan Organization Against Torture (SOAT), GOS armed forces bombed Mahajrea village in Southern Darfur state on April 4. SOAT reports that two helicopters and one Antinov aircraft were used in the attack, which killed four civilians.
Freedom Quest International of Canada reported in September 2003 that GOS Antinov planes and gunships launched attacks against civilian population in villages surrounding Geneina near the Chadian border on August 27, 2003. According to the Freedom Quest report, these attacks resulted in the death and displacement of hundreds of civilians, mostly women and children. In this same report Freedom Quest said an Antinov aircraft dropped bombs on Habeela-kejengessy and other nearby villages south of Geneina, which killed 27 villagers. Another 33 persons were wounded.
Amnesty International (AI) reported attacks against Karnoi in North Darfur in June 2003 and that Tina and Kutum were bombed in July 2003. AI also says that other villages in northern Darfur during this period, and up until November 2003. AI reported in February 2004 that the Sudanese Air Force had bombed villages and small towns near the border with Chad. These villages included Habila, Karainik, Moqarni, Mornay, Gurnyu, Majmeri, Effendi Urbi, Liri Kastara, and Nuri. The killing of villagers and destruction of homes reportedly forced civilians to seek refuge closer to the border. AI reports the bombing appears to have been indiscriminant, and at least one bomb was dropped near a school and resulted in deaths.
Agence France Presse (AFP) reported on January 29 that Sudanese jets bombed the Chadian side of the border town of Tine, killing several civilians and seriously wounded others. Many of the wounded were treated by Doctors Without Borders (MSF) who reported serious injuries from flying shrapnel. MSF noted that the victims were mostly women and children and elderly men obviously civilians seeking shelter from the violence in Darfur. The Sudanese bombs were directed at the dry riverbed in which these people were seeking shelter. Many of the survivors fled to seemingly more secure refuge inside Chad; well away from the border, but also far from desperately needed life sustaining supplies, particularly food and potable water. They have little clothing to protect them from the harsh environment or medicine to treat the wounded and the sick.
AFP also reported on December 2, 2003 that Sudanese air raids killed 47 civilians in western Darfur. A December 15, 2003 CNN reported the killing of 25 by air raid on December 11.
According to yet another report by AFP, on approximately March 8 or 9 GOS aircraft bombed Derbat village, located in the eastern part of Jabel Marrah. Forty civilians were reportedly killed including 17 women and 14 children.
The UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Khartoum received reports in early March 2004, on several incidents in which civilians were killed or injured in Darfur. According to these reports, 85 civilians were killed and 101 injured, almost all were attributed to the bombing of villages, by GOS aircraft and to attacks by the Arab militia.
“A description of the extent to which humanitarian relief has been obstructed or manipulated by the Government of Sudan or other forces.”
U.S. and international providers of humanitarian assistance to affected populations have faced three kinds of obstacles: 1) Attacks against relief operations, which cause civilians to fear receiving assistance; 2) Denials of or obstacles to humanitarian access, including procedural impediments; and 3) Insecurity, causing difficulty in the delivery of humanitarian access.
From 1989 to 2003, the Government of Sudan (GOS) had repeatedly and systematically denied humanitarian assistance to many areas of southern Sudan. Militias aligned with and supported by the GOS and regular GOS forces also frequently attacked relief centers with Antonov bombers, helicopter gunships, and ground forces. At times, these attacks took place during distributions of humanitarian assistance, causing the southern Sudanese to avoid relief centers for fear of being attacked.
On October 15, 2002 the GOS and Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) signed a Memorandum of Understanding, for a cessation of hostilities and unhindered humanitarian access. In January 2003, the parties agreed to a process whereby the UN would notify each party of the locations where it would deliver assistance, but would no longer require “permission” to deliver assistance. As a result of these agreements, humanitarian access and the flow of needed assistance have dramatically improved, leading to a similar improvement in the quality of life of southern Sudanese. Areas without regular humanitarian access for years were finally receiving life-saving assistance. Greater humanitarian access demonstrated to Sudanese communities the positive effect of the cessation of hostilities, reinforcing peace.
In other areas, however, severe obstacles have continued to limit humanitarian access. Attacks on relief centers, general insecurity, denial of access, and denial of permits by GOS have been obstacles to delivery of assistance in Darfur and the area around Malakal. In the case of Darfur, these problems have had catastrophic results.
Humanitarian Access in Darfur
U.S. Government sources have reported that over 750,000 people are displaced in Darfur and nearly 1.2 million are now affected by the war. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees reports more than 110,000 have fled to Chad as refugees from Darfur. The international community is only able to access a small portion of the people affected by this crisis, largely because the GOS is only allowing access to a few areas under its control and no access to other areas. At current rates of accessibility, even were all the resources needed actually available, the ongoing militia operations and GOS bureaucracy that systematically obstructs implementing agencies make effective humanitarian operations impossible. We strongly hope that the signing of a humanitarian ceasefire agreement by the Government and the Darfur rebel movements will lead to much fuller access to all affected populations, but it is too early to tell how quickly and completely this agreement will be implemented.
Ongoing attacks against civilians and relief centers. Protection of civilians has become the overriding humanitarian concern in Darfur. IDPs and other conflict-affected populations describe recurrent and systematic attacks against their towns and villages, burning of buildings and crops, arbitrary killings, gang rape, and looting. The GOS has used aerial bombardments and helicopter gunships to terrorize civilians who it says are harboring SLM/A or JEM forces. Jingaweit militia riding in large groups on horse or camelback attack villages with impunity. Relief workers have witnessed the looting and burning of villages by Jingaweit, while GOS police and military forces in the area do nothing to stop the violence. The lawlessness and terror aimed at civilians has destroyed their assets and prevents them from gathering wood, foraging natural foods or attempting to prepare for the next planting season.
The pattern that has emerged is that the militias attack the population, burn homes, loot all valuables, rape women (often in front of the remaining villagers), and tell the inhabitants to find new places to live. They often shoot several people at close range to either handicap or kill them. Some prisoners are taken to herd the livestock of the Jingaweit. The militias then patrol the village to destroy or damage the water sources and irrigation systems, and eliminate livelihoods and coping mechanisms normally used by the population. Thus, if all of the IDPs were able to return home tomorrow (which is virtually impossible because of continuing insecurity), they would have no ability to support themselves. This would leave hundreds of thousands of people in a very precarious situation. U.S. Government officials who have recently visited the area believe that even in the best circumstances with a cessation of hostilities and GOS facilitation, there will be massive additional loss of life.
Although vulnerable people need food, shelter, blankets, medicine, and water, many residents are fearful to receive assistance, and some have actually refused aid because they fear it may attract further GOS militia attacks. Numerous accounts of GOS militia looting relief supplies after distribution in IDP camps and conflict-affected villages have reached relief workers in Darfur.
Restricted humanitarian access to IDPs and conflict-affected residents. Due to the GOS impediments that delay travel permits and block relief operations in Darfur, humanitarian access to vulnerable populations outside of the state capitals of Geneina, Al Fasher, and Nyala is extremely limited. Some humanitarian organizations, including the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), have been denied permits to set up offices and are regularly delayed or denied travel permits by the GOS to most areas. Aircraft, vehicles, communications gear, and other logistical supplies sent to Sudan to support the U.N. relief mission in Darfur were delayed in Khartoum for almost three weeks. Distributions are restricted to areas where the GOS has permitted the regrouping of IDPs, such as Kutum in North Darfur. Contested areas remain inaccessible. As there appears to be a GOS strategy to regroup populations into designated areas, the humanitarian assistance provided by the international community could effectively only further dispossess communities. Therefore, we are insisting that adequate security be provided and that IDPs be permitted to return voluntarily to their home areas.
The rainy season, due to begin in late May, will make it more difficult for relief operations to reach vulnerable populations in Darfur and eastern Chad. Delivery of humanitarian assistance will become more challenging and more expensive, especially if a large air operation is required.
Insecurity disrupts humanitarian operations. Insecurity along roads has disrupted relief operations and further limited humanitarian access in Darfur. Trucking and fuel prices in Darfur have increased dramatically due to concerns about security on key transit routes. According to the office of the U.N. Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator (UN RC) in Sudan, the area in and around Kutum, 110 km northwest of Al Fasher, remains the only site in North Darfur with significant humanitarian operations.
Humanitarian Access in Other Parts of Northern Sudan
Restricted humanitarian access to IDPs and conflict-affected residents. Beginning in early March 2004, IDPs from North and West Darfur began to arrive in Khartoum. Most of these IDPs had been driven by GOS militia attacks from their homes in Mornei, Garsilla, and Zalengi, in West Darfur. There have been a series of confrontations with the GOS regarding where the IDPs would be permitted to resettle. The GOS initially ordered the IDPs to move from Mayo camp where they had first settled and either return to Darfur or disperse elsewhere. Officials from donor governments and NGOs were not allowed to visit the IDPs nor provide assistance to them. In fact, in one incident where Sudanese students tried to assist the IDPs, clashes broke out and police fired live ammunition and tear gas into a civilian crowd. Residents reported that seven people were killed. USG officials were able to ascertain that the GOS had forcibly relocated IDPs from Mayo camp to a walled compound North of Khartoum. The entrances and exits to the compound were under armed guard, and IDPs told the UN that they could not leave the compound. The GOS has told aid agencies that they may not work at this new site.
In the contested area of Southern Blue Nile, unlike in southern Sudan, the GOS will only allow U.N. staff to areas on a case by case basis. Other international personnel, such as NGOs and donor officials, including U.S. officials, are not allowed into these areas at all. There has been no reason given for this restriction. In mid-February, 2004, the GOS went further and denied all flight clearances for U.N. humanitarian operations in Southern Blue Nile. As well, it required the U.N. to request permission, rather than simply give notification of its plans to deliver humanitarian assistance. As a result, WFP was unable to deliver food assistance to the area for more than one month, and a UNICEF flight carrying a USAID-funded drilling rig for a hospital was denied access into Southern Blue Nile.
Although the U.N. submitted a proposal in January 2003 to both the SPLM/A and the GOS for a cross-border needs assessment for the eastern area near the border with Eritrea, to be followed by a cross-line relief operation serving war-affected groups in the Hamesh Khorib area, neither the GOS nor the SPLM/A have agreed to specifics. In October, 2003, Samaritan's Purse conducted a nutritional survey of children within the opposition-controlled area of the Eastern Front that revealed alarming malnutrition rates. At present, inadequate aid is reaching the most adversely affected populations, and absent a sustained cross-line, cross-border program, these populations will remain highly vulnerable to hunger and disease.
On May 20, 2003, the GOS unilaterally issued a new policy requiring that food assistance be certified as free of genetically modified organisms (GMO). The immediate result of this policy was to block distribution of U.S. food aid. The GOS is now granting time-limited waivers of its certification requirement, but this is a cumbersome and sometimes unreliable process. As waivers expire, continued delivery of U.S. food assistance is jeopardized and at times has been interrupted. Several demarches have urged the GOS to provide formal, written notification of a change in GMO certification requirements. The GOS has responded by merely extending the waivers. Food assistance thus remains in the hands of timely renewals of the waiver by the GOS.
WFP has notified USAID that it anticipates current cereal stocks for Sudan will be exhausted by July, 2004 due in large part to the requirements of 1.18 million conflict-affected people in Darfur, making the continued flow of U.S. food assistance critical.
Humanitarian Access in Southern Sudan
Though the situation has improved dramatically, there have been minor violations of the agreement to allow unimpeded humanitarian access throughout southern Sudan.
Attacks against civilians and relief centers. On February 20, 2004, unidentified armed militia attacked eight U.N. and NGO staff during a relief operation in Nimnim, Western Upper Nile. According to the UN, the relief workers’ temporary compound came under sustained machine-gun, rocket-propelled grenade, and mortar fire. Local SPLM/A forces, who nominally control the area, counter attacked against the attackers. None of the relief workers were wounded, and a U.N. aircraft evacuated the team later that morning. As a result of this attack, OLS suspended relief operations to approximately 30,000 people in the area around Nimnim. This represents the first deliberate attack against relief workers or operations in southern Sudan in this reporting period.
Restricted humanitarian access. In March, 2004, the Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Commission (SRRC), the humanitarian wing of the SPLM, initiated a new policy regarding relief activities in southern Sudan. The SPLM now insists that NGOs hire southern Sudanese for support positions in the South, where there are suitable Sudanese candidates. If a Sudanese cannot be found, then a non-Sudanese may be hired. An arbitration panel agreed with the SPLM position in June, 2003, and the SPLM moved to enforce the requirements in March, 2004. Although the SPLM has advocated the hiring of local personnel for some time, and NGOs might have taken notice of the arbitration decision, the SPLM implemented the policy with little advance notice to NGOs. The SPLM began denying work permits to some non-Sudanese humanitarian staff, restricting the movement of people with expired permits to NGO compounds, and in one case demanding humanitarian resources be handed over to local authorities. These actions took place without an adequate appeals process.
Although the U.S. supports the intent of the SPLM to build Sudanese capacity for the future, U.S. officials discussed the situation with the SPLM leadership in early April, and the SPLM agreed to allow a three-month grace period for NGOs to make appropriate changes and develop an appropriate appeals process. In addition, the entire issue is to be reviewed by SPLM leadership.
Insecurity disrupts humanitarian operations. Insecurity in the Eastern Equatoria region of southern Sudan has increased due to the depredations of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), a Ugandan terrorist group supported by elements of the GOS that has historically used southern Sudan as a base from which to launch attacks against Ugandan civilians and military forces, including the kidnapping of children. On March 5, according to the U.N., the GOS-backed Equatoria Defense Force (EDF) militia, which had been the key GOS link to the LRA, officially merged with the SPLM/A in order to fight the LRA. Insecurity is exacerbating the already poor humanitarian situation in the region.
In Bahr el Ghazal on March 16, according to a report issued by the NGO Pact, intense fighting broke out between the people of Aluakluak Payam, Yirol County and the people of Akot and Pacuong payams in Rumbek County. Although the residents of both areas are Dinka agro-pastoralists, local groups have a tradition of fragile relations and factional discord. Pact reported that the conflict has affected approximately 15,000 residents of Aluakluak and 5,000 from Akot and Pacuong. Fighters looted each others’ seed and food stocks, and urgent humanitarian needs include seeds, food commodities, cooking pots, blankets, and mosquito nets.
A recent outbreak of fighting in the Shilluk Kingdom in Northern Upper Nile has severely disrupted humanitarian operations. The Civilian Protection Monitoring Team has confirmed that GOS militia, GOS regulars, and GOS police have attacked villages around Malakal. Thousands of civilians have been displaced, and many have been killed. NGO compounds and a clinic were looted and razed causing all humanitarian work to stop due to insecurity.
This report is submitted pursuant to Section 11 of the Sudan Peace Act (P.L. 107-245) (the Act). It provides “information about incidents which may constitute crimes against humanity, genocide, war crimes, and other violations of international humanitarian law by all parties to the conflict in Sudan, including slavery, rape, and aerial bombardment of civilian targets.” It focuses on information concerning incidents that have occurred in the period from April 1, 2003 through March 31, 2004.
The information presented here principally concerns attacks against civilians and forced displacement of civilian populations. These categories encompass the major types of relevant incidents that have been reported during the time period covered. The Department is not able to confirm much of the information presented, but has endeavored to identify sources of information and the means, if any, of verification. The Department sought to collect and review available material relevant to the requirement, including information from the U.S. Mission in Khartoum, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and other parts of the U.S. Government; information from and published reports by international and non-governmental organizations; reports by the Civilian Protection Monitoring Team; and press reports. Some of the information presented herein repeats or makes reference to information provided in the report submitted in compliance with Section 8 of the Act.
A. Progress in Sudan Peace Act Negotiations
The Sudan Peace Act was enacted six days after the Government of Sudan (GOS) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) signed the October 15, 2002 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that called for both a cessation of hostilities and unimpeded humanitarian access. Subsequently, the GOS and the SPLM/A signed an addendum to the MOU on February 6, 2003 calling for the creation of a verification mechanism. On September 25, 2003, the parties signed a framework agreement on security arrangements that further advanced the peace process. Based on the progress and good-faith negotiations of the Government and the SPLM/A, the President determined and certified that negotiations should continue on April 21, 2003 and on October 21, 2003.
B. Background – Conflict in Darfur
Tensions remain high between the GOS and the SPLM/A in southern Sudan, and the GOS and two opposition rebel groups in the Darfur region of western Sudan. However, while there are reported incidents which occurred between the GOS and the SPLM/A, the majority of the reported incidents involved the escalating conflict between the Government and these two rebel groups in Darfur. Indeed, the GOS military forces and government-aligned Arab militia, the “Jingaweit,” have jointly embarked on a “scorched earth” campaign in which thousands of innocent civilians have been beaten, raped and killed, villages and food supplies in storage torched, and personal possessions and livestock looted. Amid reports by the United Nations that the GOS is engaging in “ethnic cleansing,” hundreds of thousands of civilians have been forced to flee their homes in an attempt to reach temporary safety in refugee and displaced person camps in other areas of Sudan and neighboring Chad.
The rebel insurgency is led by the Sudanese Liberation Army/Movement (SLA/M) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM). Both groups claim that their efforts are in direct response to continued marginalization and lack of adequate attention to the region’s needs by the Government in Khartoum. Discontent among the regional inhabitants reached a boiling point in February 2003 as the SLA, and shortly thereafter the JEM, formally voiced their socio-political demands to the Government for the region. In April 2003, the SLA/M launched their rebellion in a surprise attack on al-Fashir, the capital of North Darfur, temporarily seizing control of the airport and destroying several Government aircraft and helicopters. The attack awoke the GOS to the seriousness of the conflict. Since then, it has shifted focus away from the ongoing conflict with the SPLM/A and the Government decided to seek a military rather than a political solution to the rebel insurgency in Darfur. Countless reports of crimes against humanity, war crimes and other serious breaches of international humanitarian law perpetrated by the government-aligned militias, and to a much lesser extent, the SLA/M and JEM and the government itself , have ensued. Confrontations between rebels and Government forces have been particularly violent, combining looting, targeting of civilians, and the burning and destruction of villages by land forces and aerial bombardment, as the Government has continued to deploy considerable military force.
The attacks on civilians have occurred within a political context of negotiations between the SLA/M and the GOS. A 45-day ceasefire, mediated by Chad President Idriss Déby, was negotiated on September 6, 2003 and later extended to December 4, 2003. A third round of peace talks between the parties collapsed on December 16, 2003, less than a day after they started. In any case, diplomatic negotiations and the ceasefire agreement seem to have had little impact on cessation of hostilities or commission of atrocities as reports of ongoing conflict between the rebel insurgency and the GOS persisted. Indeed, the number and severity of the attacks escalated after the peace talks collapsed in December 2003. A new round of peace talks between the SLA and GOS began at the end of March, which led to the parties reaching a new 45-day ceasefire on April 8, 2004. While the level of violence may have substantially diminished, unconfirmed reports at the time of this writing stated that scattered Jingaweit attacks on civilians and GOS aerial bombardments had continued.
III. Information Concerning Possible Violations of International Humanitarian Law
Clashes involving government-backed militias and Government forces resulted in an increasing number of deaths and displacement of civilians, particularly in Darfur, but also in some areas of southern Sudan. All parties in the conflicts in southern Sudan and Darfur have employed attacks on civilians as a military strategy. However, reports most often implicated the GOS and government-aligned militia in the majority of the incidents.
Senator John Danforth, the President’s Special Envoy for Peace in Sudan, set forth four tests for peace in late 2001. One of the tests was a commitment by the Government and the SPLM to end attacks on civilians, reflected in an agreement signed by both parties in March 2002. The agreement called for the creation of a Civilian Protection Monitoring Team (CPMT) to verify its implementation. The CPMT is equipped with the capacity to investigate allegations of attacks on civilians by either side, and it has provided a modality for verifying reports of attacks that did not exist in the previous history of the conflict. Since it became operational, there has been a reduction in attacks against civilians.
The Verification Monitoring Team (VMT) was also established to supplement an October 2002 cessation of hostilities between the SPLM/A and the GOS. Over the last year the VMT has received nineteen separate allegations of violations of the cease fire agreement from the parties. The VMT has investigated and substantiated six of these allegations.
The CPMT has not yet been able to substantiate the multiple open source reports of numerous abuses by Government-backed militia in Darfur. What can be confirmed is the displacement of hundreds of thousands of civilians who have fled their homes to camps in other parts of Sudan and along a 600 kilometer stretch of the Chadian border, where they are short of food, shelter and other forms of humanitarian aid, suffer from malnutrition and disease, and remain vulnerable to attack by government-supported Sudanese forces and Arab militia.
Most reports of significant episodes of violent attacks against civilians throughout the civil war have included systematic rape as a recurrent element of the attacks. Allegations of rape perpetrated by the GOS military and government-aligned militia groups during conflict in southern Sudan and Darfur continues to reach aid agencies. In southern Sudan, the CPMT reported that nine women were raped between August and December 2003; three of the victims were young girls, ages eleven, twelve and fourteen. The report concluded that strong circumstantial evidence linked GOS soldiers to the rape of these nine women/girls.
By far, the majority of reports of systematic rape occurred in Darfur. Consistent reports from the relief agencies in the field stated that Jingaweit militia are engaging in mass rape while conducting their raids in Darfur. In one incident, the Office of the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for the Sudan reported that Jingaweit militia raped 41 school girls and teachers in an attack on Tawila, a town in North Darfur on February 27, 2004. It further reported that some of victims were gang raped by fourteen men and others in front of their families. Similar patterns of rape and sexual violence were reported by residents subsequent to attacks on their villages in Morney on March 2-4, 2004 and in Kubum on March 19-20, 2004. The International Crisis Group, a non-governmental organization, in a report entitled, “Darfur Rising: Sudan’s New Crisis” stated that the Jingaweit militia brand the women they rape to mark them permanently and further ostracize them from their communities. Eyewitness accounts and victim testimony provided by aid agencies based in the region tell of similar patterns of sexual abuse and rape. These reports provide overwhelming and credible evidence that GOS military and government-aligned militia commit rape during the course of conflict.
A report released by the Kenya-based Rift Valley Institute in May 2003 estimates that there have been over 10,000 children and adults abducted during the civil war who are still missing. Many of these victims were most likely sold into slavery, used as forced labor or drafted into the military. The CPMT reported on several incidents of abductions by both the GOS and the SPLM/A. On December 12, 2003, members of Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) abducted eight civilians from the village of Aburoc. Also, in March two civilians were reportedly abducted by SPLM/A near the village of Deresta, northeast of Kassala and later released.
In addition, humanitarian organizations reported almost daily abductions in Darfur by rebel groups and the Jingaweit militia. In their report entitled “Darfur in Flames: Atrocities in Western Sudan” (Human Rights Watch Report), Human Rights Watch stated that refugees testified that a large number of young boys and girls were being abducted during raids of villages by Jingaweit militia. The report further stated that abductions were not limited to young children. Indeed, people of all ages were being abducted and sometimes killed if they protested. Many of the abducted children reportedly are forced to participate in military maneuvers as child soldiers.
C. Aerial Bombardment of Civilians
The GOS, the only party in the conflict capable of conducting aerial bombardment, has not engaged in aerial bombardment in southern Sudan in the past year. However, with the Government’s attention turning to the rebel insurgency in Darfur, there have been repeated reports of aerial bombings against civilian populations.
Since 2003, strategic use of these aerial attacks in Darfur by the GOS, working in conjunction with Arab militia groups, have paved the way for subsequent Jingaweit raids. Many times, the Government specifically targeted villages where there are a large number of civilians. Reports of aerial bombardments increased after peace talks failed in December 2003. According to multiple sources, the majority of heavy bombing occurred in North Darfur. Aerial bombardments have occurred in and around Anka, Baashoum, Gooz, Habeela-Kejengessy, Jalla, Kabkabia, Karnoi, Kutum, Moun, Sana Haya, Swani, Saliea, Silaya, Sherya and the Jabel Marrah mountains. To a lesser extent, there have been reported bombings in West and South Darfur, including Dar Zagawa, Habila, the Kornei region, and near the Chad border in villages in and around Tine and El Geneina.
In many cases, innocent civilians have been killed as a result. In instances where aerial bombardments did not kill civilians, it had the effect of instilling fear as hundreds of thousands of civilians fled to other parts of Sudan or to the Chad border. The bombings also destroyed village infrastructure such as water sources, hospitals and schools.
Aerial bombardment operations are unsophisticated in nature--boxes filled with metal scrap are pushed out of Antonov cargo airplanes. Because of the lack of sophistication, bombings are very imprecise and indiscriminate. It is difficult to determine to what extent civilians were deliberately targeted, harmed as a consequence of indiscriminate bombing, or accidentally harmed in the course of an attack specifically directed against a military target. Section 8 of the Act specifically requires reporting on aerial bombardment. The Department has provided a separate report responding to Section 8(3), which should be read in conjunction with this report.
D. Attacks on Civilians and Forced Displacement
Various types of violent actions against civilians in Darfur, and on a more limited scale in southern Sudan, have been used to compel displacement from their communities, including aerial bombardment, killing, rape, abduction, burning of shelters, and looting of property necessary for livelihood. To a significant extent during the conflict, and particularly in Darfur, intentional attacks on civilians have been aimed at forcing the displacement of civilian populations. Much of the available reporting blends these categories of incidents, and they are therefore treated together here. This section divides the incidents reported during the last year by region: southern Sudan and Darfur. Since April 1, 2003 most reported incidents of attacks on civilians and forced displacement have occurred in the Darfur region.
i. Incidents in Southern Sudan
Because the GOS has concentrated on a counterinsurgency movement to quell the rebel movement by the SLA/M and JEM, the majority of reports of incidents which may constitute violations of international humanitarian law occurred in Darfur. However, there were incidents demonstrating that tension still remains between GOS and the SPLM/A in southern Sudan.
Beginning in mid-March 2004, reports of violence between the parties increased in the Shilluk Kingdom in the Upper Nile region. Government-supported militia conducted the military raids, which were often supported by local government security forces. According to the VMT and CPMT, the recent fighting in the Shilluk Kingdom had displaced between 25,000 - 40,000 people.
During the week of March 24, 2004, government-backed militia attacked villages on the west bank of the Nile in the Upper Nile region. In the period of two weeks, twenty-two villages were burned and over 12,000 people were displaced and forced to seek refuge in Malakal. Government militia reportedly were complicit in the attack, as troops in the nearby government army garrison did nothing to intervene.
On March 18, 2004, combined forces of government-supported militia, supported by GOS police and security forces from Malakal, attacked the village of Popwojo. The attack was conducted by infantry troops supported by Government gun ships or barges that provided transportation, artillery and mortar support. Several civilians were killed or wounded during the raid and approximately 99 percent of the village was burned.
On March 16, 2004, again combined forces of government-supported militia with the support of Government police and security forces from Malakal, attacked the village of Nyilwak. Eight civilians were killed, 30 wounded and 75 percent of the village was burned and destroyed. Also, the village was looted, cattle stolen, grain-stores burned, and thousands of surviving villagers displaced.
On March 11, 2004, government-backed militia attacked villages west of Awajwok, including Alaki. The attack was reportedly the result of an internal conflict within the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement – United (SPLM/U), in which there had been increased tension caused by the SPLM/U decision to merge with the SPLM. The pro-Government faction of the SPLM/U, reinforced by Government military forces in gunboats along the Bahr al Ghazal River, targeted civilians during the attack, which resulted in an unknown number of people being killed, women raped, villages set afire, and property looted. The CPMT has indicated that it was the most systematic destruction and displacement of civilians it has observed since the CPMT came into existence, and was a clear violation of the October 15, 2002 MOU.
Government-backed militia were involved in two additional raids: one on March 8, 2004, when GOS forces reportedly bombarded the relief center of Nyliwak between Tonga and Malakal in Shilluk; and a second days later on March 10, when it attacked the village of Adodo. Neither the CPMT nor VMT could not verify the number of casualties that occurred as a result of the attacks.
CPMT reports concluded that the SPLM/A and the GOS and government-aligned militia had several skirmishes, some with each other and others involving internal disputes, in which they directly targeted civilians. The CPMT, in a report submitted March 1, 2004, concluded that on November 23, 2003, SPLM/A internal fighting resulted in the deliberate targeting and killing of civilians, and looting of civilian homes, markets and medicine provided by local NGO’s. Fighting broke out between SPLM/A troops stationed in Leal trying to quell violence among civilians. SPLM/A fighters deliberately fired on crowds as civilians and troops fled the scene. CPMT could only confirm nine civilian deaths during the conflict, though other reports stated that as many as fifty people died.
In a report, submitted on October 6, 2003, the CPMT concluded that the SPLM/A injured numerous civilians and looted civilian property in an attack to recapture the town of Akobo, Bieh State on June 6, 2003. Although there was testimony of civilian deaths during the attack, the CPMT could not confirm this. The CPMT reported another SPLM/A attack on the village of Wan Tau on May 27, 2003, implemented in conjunction with an element of a local tribe named Fellata. The attack led to the deaths of an unknown number of people, destruction of civilian property and looting of an unknown number of cattle.
There were also reports of continuing conflict along the Bentiu-Leer-Adok Road between Mirmir and Leer. While there has been a significant reduction in the level of combat along the route, the GOS and the SPLM/A continue to commit violent criminal acts on civilians who travel the road. The CPMT, in a report submitted on August 19, 2003 concluded that the GOS military committed killings, rapes, gang rapes, and looting from the beginning of the reporting period on April 1 to the end of July 2003. For their part, the SPLM/A also looted passers-by of their food as they returned home to SPLM/A held territory. Two other CPMT reports concluded Government wrongdoing: on June 25, 2003 government-aligned militia kidnapped and tortured two men, leading to the death of one; and on July 22, 2003, internal fighting by GOS-aligned militia caused injuries to six civilians and damage to civilian property.
ii. Incidents in Darfur
a. Targeted civilian attacks
Serious allegations are being levied from various sources that events in Darfur have amounted to “ethnic cleansing” of non-Arab tribes from the region. Jan Egeland, the United Nations Undersecretary General for Humanitarian Affairs, stated that “ethnic cleansing” is occurring in Darfur. He reported that government-aligned militia were using “scorched earth” tactics and deliberately destroying food and water supplies in order to make areas uninhabitable. He claimed that this was an effort to systematically depopulate the region of black African Fur, Zaghawa and Massalait tribes. Other international observers and reporters who visited the area to survey the situation had similar observations.
A SLM attack on al-Fashir in late April 2003 in which the rebel group temporarily seized control of the airport awoke the GOS to the insurgency. Since that time, reports have been consistent of tactics that the GOS has been employing to quell the rebel insurgency. Arab paramilitary groups, mainly the Jingaweit, act as a Government proxy.
In late April 2003, there was a reported attack on Mulli in West Darfur by government-aligned militia in which as many as 55 people were killed and many others injured. A few days later, conflict erupted in the Furrnog area in West Darfur in which more than 32 villages were evacuated, four were burned and over 18,000 people were displaced.
As the months progressed, the crisis escalated. In November, Jingaweit militia continued raids on villages in West Darfur in which they burned as many as 32 villages and displaced 7,000 people. In December, Tom Eric Vraalsen, the UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Humanitarian Affairs for the Sudan stated that “the situation is far worse than during [his] previous visit in early September,” evidenced by the increasing number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDP’s) from the region. The Jingaweit reportedly carried out more raids on villages around Zalingei in West Darfur in the first week of January 2004. One report by the Office of the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for the Sudan stated that villages along the Nyala-El Geneina highway to Zalingei had been depopulated and the structures burned to the ground. In another January report, a French reporter who visited Darfur from mid-December to mid-January alleged that government-aligned militia had burned over 2,300 villages in Darfur. Then, in a recent incident, Jingaweit militia attacked Korma in North Darfur on March 19, 2004. Forty-eight people were killed, twenty-two women raped and many others injured. Throughout the Jingaweit campaign, residents who were interviewed by non-governmental organizations told familiar stories of civilians killed, villages burned, and livestock and possessions looted.
The GOS has consistently denied its affiliation with the Jingaweit, claiming that they are armed bandits with whom they have no connection. Despite these claims, there is strong evidence that suggests there is a connection. The GOS has done little to bring the Jingaweit under control or to provide protection for civilians whom they attack. The UN reported that there has been a total disengagement of Government administration and a suspension of all services in non-Arab areas in Darfur. However, no such measures have taken place in Arab villages in the same area. For example, at the South Darfur/West Darfur border, non-Arab Fur towns in the vicinity of Artala have no government services, but Kubum, which is only four kilometers from Artala, has full administrative services complete with schools, health and administrative facilities.
Credible reports stated that the government has actively assisted the Jingaweit during their raids. As mentioned in Section III(C), reports alleged that Government Antonov aircraft and helicopter gun ships had preceded government-aligned militia ground raids on villages. In fact, several reports stated that the Government military has participated with the Jingaweit militia in conducting raids. The International Crisis Group, a non-governmental organization, in their report “Darfur Rising: Sudan’s New Crisis” alleged military involvement in a February 27, 2004 attack on Tawila in North Darfur. Eyewitnesses stated that it was a well-organized attack by horsemen and military in which 67 people were killed, 16 girls abducted, and over 93 other females raped. The attack displaced over 5,000 people--almost the entire village. This example is consistent with details of raids in other non-government organization reports and testimony of IDP’s.
In addition, the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator has reported strong evidence that links the structure and control of the Jingaweit with the GOS. Residents’ testimonies stated that Jingaweit are often dressed in military fatigues; that the same Jingaweit leader, who has GOS ties, has led attacks in Darfur throughout the campaign; and that the Jingaweit’s movement is well-coordinated. One incident reported that over 500 Jingaweit from different areas of Darfur congregated near Jebel Si —something that would be impossible without organized structure and means of communication.
Because most reports have focused on the conduct by the Jingaweit during the conflict, the information on incidents which may have been committed by these groups, and which may constitute violations of international humanitarian law, is limited. In ICG’s report, it stated that the rebels normally staged their attacks against Government targets and personnel. However, more recent reports have suggested that the rebels, though not on the same order of magnitude as the Jingaweit, have engaged in looting, abductions and attacks against civilians. In addition, the Human Right Watch report stated that in November 2003, JEM rebels attacked the town of Kolbous in West Darfur and allegedly killed over twenty civilians and burned seven villages. Reports clearly indicate that rebel groups are engaging in targeted civilian attacks, but the extent of such attacks remains ambiguous. The UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator also reported that the SLA/M likely obtains supplies by looting in villages where there is no GOS presence.
b. Forced displacement of civilians
The intensity and methods of the offensive by the GOS and government-aligned militia in Darfur have forced hundreds of thousands of people from their homes. Though it is hard to obtain precise figures, the United Nations states that there are approximately 750,000 IDP’s in the conflict, and over 110,000 refugees encamped in Chad along the Sudan border near Darfur—startling numbers when the estimated population in the region is six million people. There has also been a report, an incident which occurred in Mayo camp, of direct forcible relocation of IDP’s by the GOS.
People are constantly moving between their villages and towns that are considered safe, such as Nyala, Zalinge, Mornay, Dereish, and Gerzila, in order to find shelter. At first, IDP’s would assimilate into local communities, but overcrowding has resulted in many people living in makeshift homes in harsh conditions on the outskirts of villages. IDP’s who have assimilated into towns are often out of sight and difficult for international relief organizations to reach. This trend has caused the population of villages to swell, sometimes to four or five times their normal size. For example, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) recently reported that 18,000 people fled to Garsilla in West Darfur, a town of 4,500 people; almost 17,000 people fled to Deleig, a town of 5,000 people; and 13,000 people have sought refuge in Un Kher, a town of 5,000 people. Further complicating matters, as described in Section III(E), the GOS has made it difficult for humanitarian organizations to access IDP’s. Because of the overpopulation in villages, lack of information to the location of IDP’s, and obstruction of access to IDP’s by the GOS, the humanitarian situation has reached a critical level.
MSF, who has been providing humanitarian aid to refugees in the towns of Tine, Birak and Adré in Chad, and in IDP camps in Darfur, offers insight into conditions in which civilians come and the camps in which they live. Civilians come to camps with very little—only the items they were able to carry with them when they were forced from their villages. The humanitarian situation in the camps is severe. Children sleep in makeshift homes while the parent’s sleep outside. Temperatures dip below 41degrees Fahrenheit at night and often top 100 degrees Fahrenheit during the day. The makeshift homes provide little protection from harsh weather elements of sun, rain, sandstorms and wind, there is minimal clean drinking water, and food stocks are scarce or nonexistent. Within this context, it is easy to see that health conditions are quickly deteriorating for the displaced.
There has been at least one reported incident of direct forcible relocation of IDP’s by the Government. On March 17, 2004, reports stated that the Government of Sudan forcibly relocated IDP’s from Mayo camp near Khartoum. During the incident, there were reports that the Government fired tear gas and live ammunition into crowds, injuring several people. The IDP’s were transferred by truck to a walled compound on the road to Dongola, 30 kilometers north of Omburman. At the new camp, IDP’s are virtual prisoners. Armed guards stand at the entrances and IDP’s have been told that they are not allowed to wander far from the site. In addition, the GOS has frustrated relief organization attempts to provide IDP’s with humanitarian aid.
Security for IDP’s and refugees in the camps is a concern. In late February, after they returned from the field, a World Food Programme team reported that Jingaweit militia were raiding IDP camps and taking food and the few material possessions the people had. In some instances, IDP’s are so fearful of Jingaweit raids that they have requested not to receive any humanitarian assistance from relief organizations because of them.
Jingaweit have been mounting cross-border raids on refugee camps in Chad, which also have had the effect of further pulling Chad into the conflict. Zaghawas, one of the non-Arab groups targeted by the Jingaweit in Darfur, are also located in Chad near Darfur. Many refugees have been assimilating into these Chadian Zaghawas communities and living in refugee camps near the Sudan border. Multiple reports have stated that Jingaweit have crossed into Chad in order to loot and terrorize these camps and communities. In return, Chadian Zaghawas have begun to fight back, and as a consequence, President Déby has increased Chad’s military presence along the Sudan border to secure the area. Continued cross-border conflict poses the threat of making this a regional war.
E. Obstruction of Humanitarian Relief
For much of two decades the Government has employed a strategy of blocking or delaying the delivery of humanitarian assistance, which has had devastating consequences for the civilian population of opposition areas of Sudan. It has further undermined efforts of international organizations to verify reports of violations of international humanitarian law. While the Government has cooperated with humanitarian relief work in southern Sudan during the past year, it has not cooperated in Darfur. Large areas and great numbers of people in need of relief are inaccessible because of insecurity in the region and the difficulty of traveling to the area because of Government obstructions and Jingaweit activity. Relief organizations’ presence has been minimal because of these deterrents. On March 31, 2004 the crisis prompted Assistant Administrator of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) Roger Winter to state that USAID humanitarian experts believe that as many as 100,000 are in danger because of a lack of humanitarian access.
Though the rebels are partially responsible for the insecurity preventing adequate humanitarian relief from reaching the region, the majority of reports directed blame at the lack of Government cooperation in granting travel permits and visas, and the complex and confusing bureaucratic procedures to obtain access to Darfur. The GOS has promised to expedite permits so that relief organizations can transport equipment and supplies, but has not followed through. For example, in late February, the International Humanitarian Partnership (IHP), which provides operational support to the United Nations, deployed communication equipment, vehicles and technicians to Khartoum in order to provide relief in Darfur. The IHP team remained in Khartoum until the GOS finally granted permission to travel to Darfur weeks later. Also, in the first week of March, the UN dispatched an aircraft to support aid operations in Darfur. Likewise, it remained grounded for weeks waiting for authorization to travel from the Government.
In addition, relief agencies are deterred because of security risks in the region. In November, Medair reported that four of their staff were abducted while on their way to administer aid to Silea and Kolbous. Twelve days later they were released. On March 13, a commercial truck carrying supplies from the UN World Food Programme was fired on and disabled by unknown assailants. While recent reports stated that the GOS has increased military and police forces to provide protection and greater access to humanitarian organizations, these events exemplify the difficult conditions in which they still work.
Since President Bashir’s February 9 declaration of the end of military operations in Darfur, humanitarian aid access has improved slightly. Several access routes that had been closed for months were reopened. However, access remains severely constrained and, as a result, relief to the area is inadequate. Humanitarian agencies reach only a fraction of the affected people because they have do not have sufficient capacity built up to assist the number of people in need, and because of Jingaweit activity. The Department has provided a separate report relating to Section 8(3), which should be read in conjunction with this report.
F. Treatment of Detainees and Child Soldiers
A practice sometimes used by the GOS is to detain individuals without charging them with an offense and holding them incommunicado. In a September 2003 report, Amnesty International reported that hundreds of people are detained incommunicado, a climate which allegedly leads to abuse of detainees. The report further stated that detainees do not have access to a lawyer, family or adequate medical care. Other Amnesty International reports and press releases released during the year stated similar information. Aside from these open sources, the Department did not obtain information regarding the treatment of detainees by the GOS and the SPLM/A.
Parties on both sides of the conflict have extensively used children as soldiers. The practice has continued throughout the latest reporting period. In a briefing for the Fourth UN Security Council Open Debate on Children and Armed Conflict issued by Human Rights Watch, it stated that an estimated 7,000 – 8,000 children remain as soldiers with the SPLM/A. However, at the same time, the SPLM/A has cooperated with UNICEF to demobilize child soldiers. In January 2004, UNICEF reported that the SPLM/A collected the guns and uniforms of almost 800 children fighting for the rebel group in the Western Upper Nile region. While reports suggest that the Government also uses children as soldiers, no specific information of these abuses has been reported to the department.
IV. Actions by the United States
As peace process negotiations move forward between the Government and SPLM/A, senior U.S. officials have repeatedly pressed the Government to cease attacks against civilians, halt forced displacements, and end restrictions on humanitarian relief. Cognizant of the closing window of opportunity to broker an agreement, efforts have been intensified to reach a comprehensive peace agreement between the parties. Secretary Colin Powell visited Naivasha, Kenya, and met with both sides to assist in moving the peace process forward. Senior U.S. officials, including Acting Assistant Secretary for African Affairs Charles Snyder, US Agency for International Development Administrator and Special Humanitarian Coordinator for Sudan Andrew Natsios, USAID Assistant Administrator Roger Winter and Special Envoy John Danforth have urged all parties to the conflicts in Sudan to end the fighting. In early April 2004, a representative of the Office of War Crimes Issues visited Khartoum and Kenya to meet with Government and SPLM/A officials and non-governmental organization representatives.
The Department of State formed an internal working group to collect and review relevant materials for this report. It will continue to collect data for subsequent reports and will continue to meet with relevant members of the non-governmental organization community. State Department officials will schedule future trips to the region to solicit further information.
The Department will forward this report to the GOS, the SPLM/A, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.