Sudan: Prospects of justice after the downfall of Al Bashir

Sudan: Prospects of justice after the downfall of Al Bashir

 

Mohammed Elgizoly Adam: LLM Utrecht University.

Email: gizoli77@gmail.com

 

Sudan is one of the largest African countries and the most diverse country in Africa. Further, it has witnessed the longest civil war on the continent. It is often known, in particular, since 1989 with violence and grave human rights violations including genocide war crimes and crimes against humanity. Since 1989, it has been governed by the most notorious Islamist political party that has substantially relied on the principle of divide and rule. As a result, millions of innocent people have either been killed or forcibly displaced or fled the country.

 

 

Currently, what is happening in Sudan is something beyond anyone’s expectations. It might be the most massive demonstration that modern statehood has ever experienced. The attempt to peacefully overthrown the Islamic regime in Khartoum has begun around 2013. However, the most drastic attempt started in December 2018. Since December more than 80 protesters have been killed, and hundreds have been injured.

 

With no doubt that Al Bashir, the ousted president of Sudan has always been a figure in the infamous international Muslim Brotherhood organization and a pivotal leader in the branch of Sudan so-called National Islamic Front. He is wanted by the ICC for serious crimes committed in the Darfur region. Since 2003, apart from thousands of refugees in neighboring countries, more than 300,0000 people have been killed, and over 2.3 million have internally displaced in Darfur.

AL Bashir was one the longest serving presidents in the continent. It is the Muslim Brotherhood that brought him to power in 1989, 30 years ago. The coup was orchestrated by the well-known brotherhood leader Dr. Al Turabi. The nature of this organization is quite dangerous, in the sense that it is highly organized; it is an elite organization. The Sudan branch was established by students group since 1949. Hence Sudan has been ruled for 30 years by the Muslim Brotherhood organization, and this implies that they are deeply embedded in almost every corner of the Sudanese institutions.

 

The challenges:

 

First, the same political parties that have been oppressed for thirty years, now have to deal with the biggest demonstration in the 21st century. The only thing unit These political parties is the threat from the Muslim Brotherhood organization and the fear of a new military coup. Hence it might be unlikely to agree on a competent leadership to lead this transitional period unanimously, and thus without leadership with a certain quality, the issues of peace and justice will not be addressed adequately.

Second, for grave crimes and gross human rights violation committed in Darfur, the Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains; victims have been waiting for justice for so very long time. As a result, millions of people have been forcibly displaced IDPs, and thousands had to flee the country. Besides, over a million have been killed in these regions over the last two decades. The challenges are associated with how to deliver justice to such a significant number of victims and the prosecution of thousands of defenders in light of incompetent judicial system and corruption.

Third, the possibility to achieve lasting peace in these destroyed regions.

Given the fact that several rebel forces with different capacities and interests have been functioning in and outside these regions for roughly two decades; hence the difficulty lies upon a comprehensive peace agreement that includes all the forces involved.

 

 

 

 

 

The current situation on the ground:

 

After thirty years of oppression, appalling injustice, and poverty that resulted in generations who have been deprived of inherent rights both with positive and negative obligations such as the right to vote, right to life and the right not to be tortured.

As consequences, people have decided to put an end to such historical vicious circle of civil wars, poverty, and oppression. No one knows, but young Sudanese; what is like to be ruled by the Muslim Brotherhood organization in the 21st century and being deprived of almost every right.  Therefore, currently, millions of people with all categorization are demonstrating and experiencing the joy of being free and the right to determine how to live. Sudanese have realized the collective power they have, not only to overthrow a dictatorship but to decide the future of their country.

These thirty years of Muslim Brotherhood ruling have not merely been devastating to the people, but it has destroyed almost every element of civil society and civic administration in Sudan. Hence political parties have been weakened or deconstructed, and education curriculum has been changed to fit the Brotherhood ideology.

 

 

Sudan national legal system:

Over the last thirty years,  The legal system in Sudan has gone through significant alteration. In effect, it has been weakened by corruption and altered to fit the Brotherhood ideology. For instance, Sharia law has become the prominent and primary law, in all areas including criminal, civil law.

Therefore, given the nature and the scope of the crimes committed in certain regions such as Darfur; the Sudanese legal system is incompetent to try these crimes. From the legality principle point of view, there is no mention of genocide, crimes against humanity or war crimes in the Sudanese legal system. Besides, grave violations of human rights occurred before the interim national constitution of Sudan, 2005, which incorporated certain rights and the state’s obligations.

Further, the courts are incompetent to grantee the fundamental rights of both the victims and the defenders. For example, issues will arise such as integrity of judges, transparency and the possibility to ensure robust victim protection or fair trials.

 

For these reasons, given the seriousness and the scope of these crimes, it might be unreasonable to rely on Sudanese legal system alone to administer justice, in particular, genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. Although the ICC has jurisdiction over certain crimes in particular regions, there is an urgent need to establish an ad hoc tribunal with specific temporal and material jurisdictions as well as well-defined cooperation with the national courts.

 

Moreover, for sure Al Bashir has gone, but his regime remains to be functioning as if nothing has happened. Primarily, the ruling party has been and still controlling almost all the institutions including the judicial branch, media, and law enforcement forces. For instance, for so long the government is run by the security apparatus, in which all personnel is partisans. Nonetheless, after all,  the security forces (NISS) remains intact.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Legal research on the Case of Asim Omar Hassan:

On the Case of Asim Omar Hassan and

the Human Right to be Free from Torture

 

Case file: 2016/3648

Name: Asim Omar Hassan

Date of Birth: 1994

Occupation: Student at the University of Khartoum


Facts of the Case 1

Background 1

Current legal situation 2

Related news 4

African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) 5

Sudan’s obligations under the Charter 5

Relevant interpretation, application and/or jurisprudence 5

Analysis 7

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights 8

Definition of torture and application under the ICCPR 8

Obligations of Sudan under the ICCPR 9

Customary International Law and Jus Cogens 10

Definition of torture under general international law 11

Incommunicado detention 12

Concerning National Law and Torture 13

Concerning torture 14

The ancillary issue of fair trial rights 15

 

Contributors

Stephanie Triefus

Isabel Oriol Llonen

Mohammed Elgizoly Adam Abdalnoor

Ivo Tarik de Vries.

 

  • Facts of the Case

 

 

Background

 

  1. Mr. Asim Omar Hassan, of 23 years old, was a student at the University of Khartoum in the School of Management Studies and an active member of Congress of Independent Students (CIS). In the past, he had been repeatedly targeted by the Sudanese Security Forces; Mr. Hassan had been arrested many times for his political opinions and peaceful political activities. Asim was subjected to continuous political subjugation by the Sudanese regime; he was dismissed in 2015 from the School of Law in Bahri University for political reasons as a result of his peaceful political participation in the campus. He was unfairly found guilty in front of the Omdurman Criminal Court in 2015, where he and two other members of the Sudanese Congress Party were lashed (20 lashes) as a penalty for “public disturbance” under article 166 of the Criminal Law as a result of his participation in a peaceful public speech in Sabrin Market in Omdurman during a public campaign for the boycott of the 2015 Elections.

 

  1. In 2016, news about a planned sale of the Khartoum University buildings was leaked by the media. As a result, Khartoum University students were protesting for a couple of weeks against the alleged sale of the university buildings in central Khartoum. A number of students were being arrested by the Sudan National Security Intelligence.

 

  1. On the 2nd of May 2016 at 5 pm, during the events associated with these protests and while the student (Asim) was leaving the university campus with his classmates and friends, a number of security men of the Sudan National Security Intelligence wearing civilian uniforms arrested him. The student resisted in the beginning because he was not aware of a crime he was alleged to have committed and was not informed of any charges against him. However, he was seriously beaten up at the gate of the university in front of all the students around there before his arrest.

 

  1. The student’s family was informed by his friends that Asim was arrested by the security personnel and taken to a secret security detention. Despite the constant attempts by the family and the defense lawyer to find out the location of detention and by whom he was arrested, his whereabouts remained unknown until the 7th of May 2016, when formally the family was informed that their son was at the police station in North Khartoum. Hence the defense lawyer submitted a letter requesting to meet the student, however, the prosecutor informed them that he was under investigation and was not permitted to meet anyone, neither the family nor the lawyer yet. The next day Asim was transferred to another police custody in North Khartoum.

 

  1. Unofficially, the lawyer met him and he told the lawyer that he had not been informed on what grounds he was arrested or what the charges against him were. The lawyer wanted to confirm the rumors, the accusations by the police that he threw Molotov cocktails at the police car that caused some serious injury to some policemen; he denied that unequivocally and he confirmed that he was not even in Khartoum that day. Further, he was asked by the police about his whereabouts on 04-05-2018, and he told them that he was home with his siblings and friends. Again the lawyer wrote another letter to the prosecutor, but the request was denied for the second time and this went on for two months on the basis of the ongoing investigation. Furthermore, the defense lawyer kept writing letters requesting to meet with his client and constantly the requests were denied. Then finally the police formally confirmed that the student is accused of a murder of a policeman. Thus, the case was referred to the North Khartoum Court. The first hearing was on the 9th of August 2016.

 

  1. On the 3rd of October 2018, the accused was severely tortured while in remand custody by the prison guards. As a result of the torture, the accused almost lost his sight and hearing. He was severely beaten in different and sensitive parts of his body. As a result, he complained of frequent feelings of severe pain within the right ear with pus and a sharp pain in the head, chest, and testicles.

 

  1. The prison administration had refused to take him to the hospital and he remains as such for days. Then when his health seriously deteriorated he was taken to the police hospital. Although the prison administration aware of the fact that there are no specialists on that day, a Thursday. He met a general doctor who could not help him even with a painkiller, and thus he advised him to meet the specialist on Sunday. However, the prison administration did not allow him to go and see the specialist doctor on Sunday.

 

  1. Therefore, he remained with such pain and torture for 14 days without seeing a specialist doctor, until on Monday when he was able to see a specialist of nose, ear and throat. According to the doctor the accused suffered severely from the torture and that resulted in a hole in the drum of the right ear, which requires surgical intervention, but unfortunately Asim suffered acute inflammation in the facial nerve (the seventh cranial nerve), which prevents the surgical procedure only after the treatment of inflammation, requiring perhaps a long period of time.

 

Current legal situation

 

  1. On the 29th of August 2017, the North Khartoum Court headed by the Judge Abdin Dhahi charged Asim with premeditated murder under article 130.2 of the Sudanese Criminal Code 1991, on the grounds that he killed a police officer during the incidents, although the police force did not announce the death of one of its officers during the events.

 

  1. The Court adjourned the announcement of the punishment until September 24, 2017, to give a chance for pardons.

 

  1. The judgment is perfectly defective, as the pre-trial procedures have registered major violations of the rights of the accused student. These violations are including, but not limited to:

 

  1. The accused was illegally and arbitrarily arrested by non-competent authorities; without even an arrest warrant issued by a prosecutor or a judge; and without being informed of the charges against him; which is deemed to contravene the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1991; and the International conventions such as; the UN Standard Minimum rules for the Treatment of Prisoners 1955; and Article (67) of the Statute of the International Criminal Court; and the (1948) Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

 

  1. The accused Student had been deprived of his right to meet his lawyers during the period of the investigations, which violates his constitutional and legal rights, particularly Chapter Eleven of the Convention on the Rights of Prisoners 1955.

 

  1. The complicit actions of the prosecution with the accusation witnesses by informing them of their testimony, which is contrary to the integrity of the criminal justice system; and the appropriate proceedings; and which contravenes principle (12) of the Principles adopted by the Seventh United Nations Conference on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders.

 

  1. The illegal treatment of the accused student before and during the period of the trial, which adversely affected the conduct of the trial; and contravenes constitutional rights, as well as Article (5) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and Article (7) of the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and Article (55/1) of the Statute of The International Criminal Court.

 

  1. The adoption of the court of inconsistent and ambiguous evidences; and its deviations from neutrality and independence lead to that unfair trial and defective judgment.

 

  1. In view of the foregoing, it is believed the accused student, Asim, has been deprived of his legal rights in a fair trial and erroneously brought before a political court not a Court of Law; as there were no independence of the judiciary to keep the proceedings fairly or to safeguard of the rights of the accused student; contravening Article (34/1) of the Interim Constitution of the Republic of the Sudan 2005; and Article (10) of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights; and Article (14) of the 1966 International Covenant On Civil and Political Rights; and the Sixth principle adopted by the Seventh United Nations Conference on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders; and Article (28) of the Constitution; and Paragraph (3) of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights; Article (9) of The Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; and Article (3) of the Convention on the Rights of the Child; and the Four Geneva Conventions (1949).

 

  1. Asim’s trial symbolizes and reflects the systematic and grave human rights violations that the authorities continue to commit against peaceful civic and political rights. The current escalation and systematic racism as well as the increasing detentions of civil and political activists are only an indicator of the dire human rights situation in Sudan.

 

Related news

 

  1. The below listed sources provide supportive and additional facts:

 

  • The Independent. (27 August, 2017). Sudan student convicted of killing policeman: lawyer

https://www.independent.co.ug/sudan-student-convicted-killing-policeman-lawyer/?fbclid=IwAR3IKWQtejK_SJd-pXz1X7z9TTZ9V3stXOl17wlDfHB5ln72I_Hn3HQXW_Y

 

  • New Vision. (24 September, 2017). Sudan student sentenced to death for killing policeman

https://www.newvision.co.ug/new_vision/news/1462233/sudan-student-sentenced-death-killing-policeman?fbclid=IwAR0pFNTb1dILJfAmz1gxJeop8lxufoMvF2_5e76xmzIXH_j3k4Z8tIDzWxU

  • Dabanga. (25 September, 2017). Sudanese protest the death penalty on Asim Omar

https://www.dabangasudan.org/en/all-news/article/sudanese-protest-the-death-penalty-on-asim-omar?fbclid=IwAR37ARNBqPqBhWQpXjOCuF2p8U8laYh0yAaz_Nnz4pblLBIV7XHYpDdVH8U

http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article66499&fbclid=IwAR2mPCOf1s7cQ9Zz5IiTrVLdZkMv0B7d-8zZKdLp11Tgq_fN9zh2PKkL6xo

 

http://amnesty-sudan.de/amnesty-wordpress/category/ai-news/ai-presseerklaerungen/?fbclid=IwAR1ot1Xpjg7gpcYXn86HyxHzFTB8MCTXQ9vFuc-xbEnw2jd0-tMGvql8Ao0

 

 

  • African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR)

 

 

Sudan’s obligations under the Charter

 

  1. Sudan ratified the ACHPR on 18 February 1986 without reservations. Sudan has signed but not ratified the Optional Protocol on the Establishment of the African Court of Human and Peoples’ Rights and has not made a declaration recognising the competence of the Court to receive complaints against Sudan. The Court therefore does not have jurisdiction to hear complaints against Sudan.

 

  1. Under article 55 of the ACHPR, the African Commission may receive and consider communications from individuals and NGOs if a simple majority of its members so decide. For a communication to be considered, it must satisfy the criteria set out in Article 5, including exhaustion of domestic remedies unless it is obvious that this procedure is unduly prolonged, or domestic remedies are not accessible or effective. The Commission has previously found in several instances that Sudan has violated the ACHPR, including the prohibition of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment contained in article 5.

 

  1. Article 5 of the ACHPR states that “Every individual shall have the right to the respect of the dignity inherent in a human being and to the recognition of his legal status. All forms of exploitation and degradation of man particularly slavery, slave trade, torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment and treatment shall be prohibited.”

 

Relevant interpretation, application and/or jurisprudence

 

Communication 279/03-296/05 – Human Rights Organization and Center for Housing Rights and Evictions v Sudan (2009)  

 

  1. In this case the Commission set out the principal elements that constitute torture under the Charter, namely, that severe pain or suffering has to have been inflicted; for a specific purpose, such as to obtain information, as punishment or to intimidate, or for any reason based on discrimination; by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of state authorities. The Commission has also in its interpretation of Article 5 of the Charter, adopted the definition of torture contained in the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

 

Communication 379/09 – Monim Elgak, Osman Hummeida and Amir Suliman (represented by FIDH and OMCT) v Sudan (2014)

 

  1. In this case the Commission applied the above principle elements of torture in its finding of violations by Sudan. The complainants were prominent human rights defenders who were arrested by officers of the Sudanese National Security and Intelligence Services (NISS). The Commission held that the complainants were severely beaten, subjected to long hours of interrogation, subjected to threats that they would be killed and raped, subjected to sleep deprivation, denied access to medical attention, were not informed of the reasons for arrest and were not allowed to contact a lawyer. The Commission noted that these acts resulted in severe physical and mental pain and suffering on the complainants, and were intentionally inflicted by public officials (NISS officials) for the purpose of punishing the Complainants and obtaining information. The complaints were evidenced by a medical certificate and sworn testimonies, and the facts were not contested by Sudan, which did not submit arguments on the merits of the case. The complaints had previously been brought to the attention of Sudan, and no action had been taken, in violation of the State’s positive obligation to investigate and punish acts of torture, and to afford redress to the victims. In light of these circumstances, the Commission considered that the Complainants’ rights under Article 5 of the Charter were violated, along with Articles 1, 6, 9, 10, 12 15 and 16. The Commission requested Sudan to pay adequate compensation to the Complainants in accordance with the domestic law of Sudan for the rights violated and to investigate and prosecute all those persons who participated in the illegal incarceration and torture of the Complainants.

 

Communication 386/2010 – Dr. Farouk Mohamed Ibrahim (represented by REDRESS) v Sudan (2013)

 

  1. In this case the complainant complained that he was subjected to repeated kicking and beating; prolonged bath in ice water; threatened with rape, death; and deprived of sleep for up to three days by members of the NISS. The Commission held that the case was inadmissible under article 56(6) as it considered that the complaint was not submitted within a reasonable time period of when the complainant realised local remedies are not available, sufficient or effective. The Commission did, however, accept that the political situation in Sudan prevented the courts from providing an adequate and effective remedy and that fear of persecution is an exception to the requirement to exhaust local remedies.

 

  1. The Commission has found Sudan in violation of article 5 in the following further cases:
  • Communication 368/09 – Abdel Hadi, Ali Radi & Others v Republic of Sudan (2013)
  • Communication 236/00 – Curtis Francis Doebbler v Sudan (2003)
  • Communication 222/98-229/99 – Law Office of Ghazi Suleiman v Sudan (2003)
  • Communication 48/90-50/91-52/91-89/93 – Amnesty International, Comité Loosli Bachelard, Lawyers’ Committee for Human Rights, Association of Members of the Episcopal Conference of East Africa v Sudan (1999)

 

Guidelines and Measures for the Prohibition and Prevention of Torture, Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment in Africa (Robben Island Guidelines), 2002

 

  1. The Robben Island Guidelines were adopted by the African Commission in 2002 as part of its mandate to formulate and lay down principles and rules aimed at solving legal problems relating to human and peoples’ rights and fundamental freedoms upon which African Governments may base their legislation. The Guidelines urge States parties of the ACHPR to criminalise torture as defined in the UN Convention Against Torture, paying particular attention to the prohibition and prevention of torture and ill-treatment of young persons. The Guidelines require States to combat impunity by ensuring that those responsible for acts of torture or ill-treatment are subject to legal process and that whenever persons who claimed to have been or who appear to have been tortured or ill-treated are brought before competent authorities an investigation shall be initiated.

 

Commission reporting

 

  1. The 2015 Report of the Joint Promotion Mission to the Republic of The Sudan by the Commission noted reports of torture and ill-treatment at Kober Prison but the Commissioners were not permitted to visit the prison.

 

Analysis

 

  1. It is clear that in its treatment of Mr Hassan, Sudan has breached not only article 5 of the ACHPR but also articles 1, 5, 6 7 9, 10, 16 and 17. Given the Commission’s reasoning in the similar case of Monim Elgak, Osman Hummeida and Amir Suliman v Sudan, it is likely that the Commission would again find Sudan in violation if Mr Hassan were to bring a complaint. Mr Hassan is known to have suffered severe beatings, lack of access to medical care, lack of access to legal representation and incommunicado detention, resulting in severe physical and mental pain and suffering. The treatment is clearly a punishment for Mr Hassan’s activism and the alleged murder of a police officer, and was perpetrated by prison guards acting in an official capacity.

 

Helpful resources:

  • REDRESS, ‘Litigating torture and ill-treatment in East Africa: a manual for practitioners’ (2016), accessible at

https://redress.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/1611East-Africa-Manual-1.pdf

 

 

  • International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

 

 

  1. The ICCPR, which is an international human rights treaty that Sudan has ratified and thereby must conform its laws and practices to, includes the prohibition on torture also found in customary law broached further below. Under its Art. 7, the ICCPR obliges States party to ensure within their jurisdiction that individuals will not, as a rule, “be subjected to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment…” whilst no derogation therefrom is admissible according to Art. 4, even during public emergencies. The ICCPR is monitored by the Human Rights Committee (HRC), which has elaborated on the definition of torture herein as well as obligations States, including Sudan, have under this treaty. Below its interpretations and applications pertinent to the present case are given, which also involve Art. 10 of the ICCPR.

 

Definition of torture and application under the ICCPR

 

  1. Acts that inflict pain or suffering on an individual amount to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment under the ICCPR if done for a special purpose, inter alia and perhaps most relevant here, to punish them for an act they or another person committed or are alleged to have committed. The pain caused need not be ascertained only objectively but also subjectively—that is, with cognizance of any vulnerability the victim might have due to their age, sex, physical or mental health, and so on, which must always be categorically proven to have been affected by the torture though.

 

  1. Thus the interpretation of ‘torture’ and ‘cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment’ by the HRC hinges not—as the Committee Against Torture holds Art. 1 of UNCAT to mean—upon any requirement that it was committed, instigated, or condoned by a public official of the State, nor—as peculiar to how the European Court of Human Rights reads Art. 3 of the ECHR—on whether the acts observed are sufficiently severe. Rather, the HRC has consistently not upheld a doctrine that further conditions the characterization of physical or mental pain or suffering of individuals as breaching Art. 7, save when this was read together with Art. 10 of the ICCPR, pertaining to conditions of detention.

 

  1. Hereby, a distinction must be made between acts that affect the detained individual specifically and conditions that generally impact detained persons in the same facility, such as those in prison, as Asim is. This treatment is also characterized as undue “hardship or constraint,” thereby implied to be of lesser severity as torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment are—one can take the example of overcrowding. Indeed, since Asim is here subject to detention it is important to address this legal distinction the HRC has made, since it means that his treatment must be shown as particular.

 

Obligations of Sudan under the ICCPR

 

  1. While Sudan has not ratified the first Optional Protocol to the ICCPR, which allows for individuals to send communications to the Human Rights Committee on violations under the treaty by any State party, the obligations thereunder are still binding on Sudan.

 

  1. Thus the Sudanese regime is required to investigate any allegations of torture, as part of the effective remedy individuals have a right to under article 2(3) of the ICCPR. It should go without saying that here lies also the right to lodge a complaint of torture under domestic law and that investigation must follow as soon as there is reason to believe article 7 was breached. Concurrently, article 2(2) of the ICCPR provides that States must have legislation criminalizing the act of torture to be investigated—below a summary of Sudan’s national law mentions its measures herein. These obligations are relevant in this case.

 

  1. Further relevant, under article 14(3)(g) of the ICCPR, the State has an obligation, and especially its courts, not to admit any statements, such as a confession, that have been obtained through ill treatment or torture under article 7. If so, and the defence claims such is the case, it is for the prosecution to prove it is not so.

 

  1. More generally, all State officials that come into contact with detained persons must be educated and trained with regards to the prohibition of torture by the State party. The procedural obligations thereby requires locations where persons are detained to also be official and not secret, while those interrogating be recorded and those dear to the detained person, family and friends, must have access to them. In this way the obligation can be checked and effectively monitored. With regard to Asim’s not being able to contact his family while in a secret detention location, both these facts point to Sudan’s breach of its obligations under the ICCPR with regards to torture.

 

  1. Lastly, and more specifically, if an act of torture is found to have occurred, the victim has a right to a remedy in the form of redress and compensation under article 2(3) of the ICCPR. Though the victim has no right to demand the perpetrators of the crime against him or her be subject to criminal prosecution, the State nevertheless has an obligation to investigate who is responsible for the act and to ensure such acts do not repeat themselves.

 

 

  • Customary International Law and Jus Cogens

 

 

  1. There are four universally-recognized sources of international law: i) conventions, treaties, and agreements, ii) international custom, iii) general principles of law, and iv) judicial decisions and teachings of the most qualified publicists. In the following paragraphs it will be addressed how the prohibition of torture, cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment is understood in the second source listed, international custom.

 

  1. Customary international law refers to an international practice of states that is uniform and consistent, and accepted as law. This means that all states, without exceptions, are legally obliged to comply with it even if it is not found in a treaty or convention. Within customary international law there are peremptory norms known as jus cogens. Jus cogens norms are fundamental principles of international law from which no derogation is permitted under any circumstance (including situations of war, public emergency or terrorism).

 

  1. In order to know which rules or practices are customary international law and which of those have a status of jus cogens, one must resort to the judgments and opinions of international courts and tribunals. The International Court of Justice (“ICJ”) holds the most authoritative interpretation of international law. The ICJ has acknowledged that the prohibition of torture has a status of jus cogens. This means that all states, including Sudan, have an international legal obligation to refrain from, investigate and prosecute torture.

 

  1. Other international courts and tribunals such as the European Court of Human Rights, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the Human Rights Committee, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, and the International Law Commission have acknowledged the interpretation of the prohibition of torture as jus cogens.

 

Definition of torture under general international law

 

  1. There is no settled definition of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment in international law. Different treaty bodies and international courts interpret torture according to the provisions and cases under which they have jurisdiction. However, the definition of torture of the United  Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (“UNCAT”) although only formally applicable to states parties to the UNCAT (to which Sudan is not) is the general reference international bodies take to identify practices of torture. Art. 1 of the UNCAT defines torture as

 

any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions.

 

  1. Although Sudan is not legally bound by this definition of torture, the elements this definition provides can be useful to help determine whether Mr. Hassan was subjected to torture. Several international courts have used the elements of this definition to determine whether an act of torture was committed.

 

  1. The first element of this definition is the infliction of ‘severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental’. On 3 October 2018 Mr. Hassan was subjected to repeated beatings in all parts of his body that left him with severe pain and suffering including the perforation of his eardrum for which he had to undergo a surgical procedure and it is likely to have a permanent damage in his hearing capacity. Additionally he was beaten in other sensitive parts of his body such as the face, the chest and testicles, and complained of sight problems. Mr. Hassan’s pain and suffering were further aggravated by the fact that 14 days went by before the prison’s administration took effective actions for him to receive medical care.

 

  1. The second element of this definition is the intention. The UNCAT definition recognizes that punishment for behavior or acts can be one of the purposes of torture. Mr. Hassan was a political activist and student that was vocal against injustices and changes in the education system. He was also imprisoned for the alleged murder of a police officer. The torture to which he was subjected to was punishment for the acts he (allegedly) committed.

 

  1. The third element is that the pain and suffering must be inflicted by, with the instigation, consent or acquiescence of public officials. At the time of the events Mr. Hassan was in custody of the state, and was tortured by prison guards acting in official capacity. This entails the direct international responsibility of the state of Sudan. Furthermore, the European Court of Human Rights has stated that when an individual is taken into the state’s custody in good health it is for the state to provide a plausible explanation for injuries caused, if it fails to do so a violation of the prohibition of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment is likely to exist.

 

  1. The treatment to which Mr.Hassan was subjected to in custody of the state of Sudan clearly constitutes a violation of the prohibition of torture as part of customary international law and jus cogens. It is important to note that the prohibition of torture not only constitutes the obligation to refrain from torture, but also to investigate, prosecute and punish those responsible of the acts of torture.

 

Incommunicado detention

 

  1. When Mr. Hassan was arrested he was taken to an unknown detention center. During the following 8 days his family and lawyer were unable to contact him and his whereabouts were unknown. Several requests were denied to Mr.Hassan’s lawyer to confer with his client and 2 months passed before they were officially allowed to meet.

 

  1. The UN Human Rights Council has stated that prolonged incommunicado detention can amount to torture or ill-treatment. Other international bodies and courts have also taken a strong position regarding incommunicado detention and its potential for torture and inhumane treatment. The Inter-American Court of Human Rights has stated with regards to incommunicado detention that “[i]solation from the outside world causes any person to suffer moral and psychological trauma, making him/her particularly vulnerable and increasing the risk of aggression and arbitrariness in jails”. Furthermore, the UN Special Rapporteur on torture recommends that the investigative phase lasts no longer that two or three days, Mr.Hassan’s incommunicado detention well exceeded this recommended period, making him vulnerable to physical and mental pain and suffering.

 

 

  • Concerning National Law and Torture

 

 

  1. In times of emergency situations, states may have the discretion to derogate or restrict certain rights such as freedom of assembly, freedom of speech and freedom of expression, but it is only possible in times of emergency.  However, no violation of jus cogens norms can be justified in any situation.

 

  1. This section is based on the constitution of Sudan, concerning article 27 of the Bill of Rights; 28, Life, and Human Dignity; 29, Personal Liberty; and 34, Fair Trial as well as the Sudan criminal code section 39. Accordingly, the rights of the claimant have been violated without any legal ground.

 

  1. Nevertheless, the most controversial issue is that the National Security Act, whereby it gives unjustified power to the National Security Service NSS to unconstitutionally arrest and torture people. For instance, articles 25 and 50 of the National Security Act.

 

  1. According to the constitution under the Bill of Rights part two, article (27) which it reads as follow:

 

27 (1)The Bill of Rights is a covenant among the Sudanese people and between them and their governments at every level and a commitment to respect and promote human rights and fundamental freedoms enshrined in this Constitution; it is the cornerstone of social justice, equality and democracy in the Sudan. (2) The State shall protect, promote, guarantee and implement this Bill. (3) All rights and freedoms enshrined in international human rights treaties, covenants and instruments ratified by the Republic of the Sudan shall be an integral part of this Bill. (4) Legislation shall regulate the rights and freedoms enshrined in this Bill and shall not detract from or derogate any of these rights.

  1. Further, under article 28, concerning the life and human dignity, it stipulates that “Every human being has the inherent right to life, dignity and the integrity of his/her person, which shall be protected by law; no one shall arbitrarily be deprived of his/her life.”

 

  1. Additionally, under article 29 of the constitution, concerning personal liberty, this states that, and I quote:

 

Every person has the right to liberty and security of person; no person shall be subjected to arrest, detention, deprivation or restriction of his/her liberty except for reasons and in accordance with procedures prescribed by law

 

  1. However, the problem is when the constitution says that “except for reasons and in accordance with procedures prescribed by law,” for this looks like a drawback clause.

 

  1. The Sudanese code of criminal procedure under section (25) could be inconsistent with the constitutional law. The code of criminal procedure under section (25) stipulates that, and I quote:

 

Any policeman or chief may arrest: – (a) any person for whose arrest he has a warrant, or whom he is directed to arrest by a Magistrate under section 28 or 29 of this Code; (b) any person who has been concerned in an offence for which according to the third column of the first Schedule here to or under any other laws for the time being in force, the police may arrest without warrant, or against whom a reasonable complaint has been made or credible information has been received or reasonable suspicion exists of his having been so concerned

  1. Thus, there might be a contradiction between the constitution and the code of criminal procedures. However, the constitution has primacy over the criminal code and thus the constitution prevails over the code of criminal procedure.

Concerning torture

 

  1. According to article 33 of the constitution, it explicitly prohibits any form of torture. It states that and I quote: “No person shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.”

 

  1. It is also confirmed by the criminal code procedure section 39, which stipulates that:

 

Treatment of Arrested Person. The arrested person shall not be subjected to any treatment against human dignity nor shall he be physically or morally abused; and he shall always be entitled to contact his advocate.

 

  1. Hence, given the fact of the case, on the above mention legal provisions; the rights of the claimant have been violated without any legal grounds.

 

The ancillary issue of fair trial rights

 

  1. However, the Sudanese constitution under article (34) concerning fair trail stipulate that and I quote:

 

34 (1) An accused is presumed to be innocent until his/her guilt is proved according to the law. (2) Every person who is arrested shall be informed, at the time of arrest, of the reasons for his/her arrest and shall be promptly informed of any charges against him/her . (3) In all civil and criminal proceedings, every person shall be entitled to a fair and public hearing by an ordinary competent court of law in accordance with procedures prescribed by law. (4) No person shall be charged of any act or omission which did not constitute an offence at the time of its commission. 15 (5) Any person shall be entitled to be tried in his/her presence in any criminal charge without undue delay; the law shall regulate trial in absentia. (6) Any accused person has the right to defend himself/herself in person or through a lawyer of his/her own choice and to have legal aid assigned to him/her by the State where he/she is unable to defend himself/herself in serious offences.

 

 

Research outline (proposal)

 

Torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment in international law

 

  1. African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR)
    1. Sudan’s obligations under the Charter
    2. Art. 5 of the Charter
    3. Interpretation, application and/or jurisprudence (if any) of Art. 5 from the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and Court that could be relevant to the case
  2. International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)
    1. Sudan’s obligations under the Covenant
    2. Art. 7 of the Covenant
    3. Interpretation, application and/or jurisprudence (if any) of Art. 7 from the Human Rights Committee that could be relevant to the case
  3. Customary international law and jus cogens
    1. Brief explanation of what is customary international law and jus cogens and why is Sudan bound by it
    2. Torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment under customary law (authoritative sources)
    3. Torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment as jus cogens (authoritative sources)
    4. Interpretation, application and/or jurisprudence (if any) of the prohibition of torture in customary law or as jus cogens
  4. Information regarding prison conditions and torture in Sudan
    1. Cases/evidence of torture in Kober prison
    2. Cases/evidence of torture by the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) of Sudan

 

The legal research has been conducted by the LLM students at Utrecht University in the Netherlands.

 

Ivo Tarik

Isabel Oriol

Stephenie Trief

Gizouli Adam

 

Is Al Bashir’s case at the International Criminal Court beyond any compromise?

The purpose of this short paper is to assess the probability of a compromise in the case of Al Bashir in light of articles 16, 65 and 53 of the Rome Statute.[1] Despite the obvious developments in the field of international criminal law, the failure to prevent such serious crimes such as genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity remains salient.[2] The reason behinds this failure is the fact that the deterring effects remain hardly unseen and the response of international criminal justice to these atrocities has not been not comprehensive.[3]  Primarily, Al Bashir’s case is a legal one and it can only be settled on legal grounds. On 31 March 2005, Resolution 1593 was adopted by The UNSC under Chapter VII of the UN Charter to refer the situation in Darfur – Sudan to the Prosecutor of the  International Criminal Court (hereinafter the Court) based on article 13 (b) of the Rome Statute.[4]  On 14 July 2008, based on article 58 of Rome Statute the Prosecution filed an application requesting the issuance of an arrest warrant against the president of Sudan Al Bashir for his alleged criminal responsibility  concerning the crimes committed in Darfur against the tribes of Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa including genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes between the period 2003 to July 2008.[5]

Since 2003, more than 300,0000 people have been killed and over 2.3 million have internally displaced in Darfur.[6] Now, crimes are not only committed in Darfur but all over Sudan. According to Amnesty International, since the uprising began in Sudan on 19 December 2018, more than 45 people have been killed, 180 have been injured and over 2,600 people have been unlawfully detained.[7] It is accurate though the prosecution of grave crimes such as genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity is essentially symbolic more than administering genuine justice to a massive number of people.[8]

 

Several weeks ago, rumors have circulated among Sudanese activists and politicians regarding the possibility of a political compromise that could involve dropping charges against AL Bashir in exchange for Bashir to step down and for the sake of stability in Sudan. These speculations have come out as a result of an interview with a prominent Sudanese/ British national and businessman, Mo Ibrahim, where he stated that “Sudan’s president Omar Al Bashir should step down in exchange for war crimes by the ICC being dropped”.[9]

The indictment of Al Bashir has divided the Sudanese into camps. On one side, the Darfuris, who have suffered a great deal of injustice, are asking for justice. For this group, Al Bashir’s prosecution is symbolic. Some Darfuris may have no idea where the Hague is, but the importance for them is that Al Bashir will prosecuted by “so powerful people”.

On the other side of the debate, the elite in Khartoum who think that having Al Bashir standing trial in foreign soil is a humiliation to the entire nation since there is a possibility of having him justly prosecuted in Sudan. The issue has become sensitive to the extent that some politicians in the Northern -the elite  can’t even express their positions explicitly because in doing so, it deems complicity with Al Bashir.

  Article 16 of the Rome Statute:

Under article 16 of the Rome Statute, the UN Security Council (hereinafter UNSC) has the authority to suspend investigations or prosecutions at any time for one year, and then suspension is renewable.[10] The Court also has the discretion to decide whether or not to continue the prosecution.[11] Article 16 has been questioned by international non-governmental human rights organizations, in the sense that it hinders the independence of the Court.[12] So far, article 16 has not been judicially construed. It might be possible that if the UNSC invoked article 16, the Court could challenge the validity of such resolution.[13]

The office of the Prosecutor has reviewed article 16 in a policy paper within the context of the Rome Statute and thus recognized the role of the UNSC.[14] However, based on this discourse,  the prosecutor has concluded that there is a difference between the interest of peace and the interest of justice; insinuating that there is a shared responsibility, the former concerns the UNSC and the latter belongs to the Court.[15]

Therefore, it is unlikely that the UNSC will invoke article 16, notwithstanding that the situation in Sudan could constitute a threat to international peace and security. First, it has never been invoked by the UNSC. Second, it would serves no purpose in regard to Al Bashir stepping down because it does not mean that the charges will be dropped, but rather stopped for one year or more depending on the circumstances. Al Bashir has no reason to step down while knowingly the case is going to be opened a year after, when he has no government to defend him.

Article 65 of the Rome Statute:

Pursuant to article 65 of the Rome Statute, there is a suggestion for plea bargaining.[16] However,  what is deemed as plea bargaining under this article is not exactly the same plea bargaining in the sense of the American concept.  According to Black’s Law Dictionary, Plea bargaining is “an agreement set up between the plaintiff and the defendant to come to a resolution about a case, without ever taking it to trial”. Under this article, Al Bashir could potentially plead guilty in exchange for a light sentence or more serious charges being dropped. However, given the nature and the character of the court; plea bargaining is hardly possible.[17] In effect, during the drafting of the Rome Statute there had been a debate concerning the guilty plea as a procedural technique, but there was no suggestion on its applicability before the Court.[18] There might have been some negotiations between the Prosecutor and the Defense counsels, but this has never been revealed in the public record.[19]  Deciding a case based on a guilty plea might be sufficient. Nonetheless, for the victims, this might signify a sense of compromise rather than seeking justice.[20] For instance, in both tribunals the Yugoslavia Tribunal (ICTY) and Rwanda Tribunal (ICTR), although some defendants have pled guilty to serious crimes such as genocide and crimes against humanity; no charges have been dropped or sentences have shortened considerably.[21] During the ICTY trials it has been concluded that plea bargaining is incompatible with objectives of the international criminal justice.[22]  However, the question remains as to whether or not Al Bashir will ever plead guilty or even trust the Court.

 

  Article 53 of the Rome Statute:

Under article 53 (1) (c) of the Rome Statute, the Prosecutor has the power to determine whether or not to stop the investigation or prosecution.[23] However, this applies only when there is substantial evidence and a reasonable belief that the prosecution or investigation concerned might not serve the interest of justice.[24] It has been a decade since the indictment and arrest warrant. The defendant continues to commit more crimes against the Darfuris and Sudanese in general. Hence, from a legal perspective, this article provides no possibility for dropping the charges or stopping the prosecution.  For these reasons, the Prosecutor might not even think of article 53.

Conclusion:

From a legal point of view, given the current circumstances and the nature of the crimes that committed; the Prosecutor has no reasonable or legal grounds to stop the prosecution in the case concerned.   Plea bargaining might be reasonable for certain crimes, but evidently not for serious crimes that concern a huge number of people longing for justice for so very long a time. For these reasons, it is unlikely that there will be any compromise, in particular, a legal one.

Given the promise the Court has given to the victims, the primary reasons for the referral of the case to the court, the deterioration of the situation in Darfur in particular, and Sudan in general: If the UNSC invoked article 16, it would not only contradict itself, but it would be blatantly disregarding to the international law. Further, if this happens, it will assert assumptions that the court is another tool for a new version of colonization.

 

Additionally, the Court is different from other ad hoc tribunals. Whilst the Court deemed to be an independent legal entity; the ad hoc tribunals are part of the UN organs because they have been established by the UNSC. Further, the Court has from the very beginning maintained the approach that it is an independent entity and it has the mandate that authorizes it to try any individuals no matter how powerful they are or what their backgrounds might be; simply, it does not matter. Hence, the Court has been highly criticized, fundamentally for its universal nature and the downgrading of cultural differences.

Be that as it may, it is safe to say that the criticisms, the shortcomings of the Court and the withdrawing of some states parties are all part of the Court’s process of development. In such a complex globalized world, where states are still deemed to be the primary subjects, it is unrealistic to have an International Criminal Court without such imperfections.

 

 

 

[1] Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (Adopted on 17 July 1998, entered into force on 1 July 2002) vol. 2187, No. 38544, Depositary (Rome Statute)

[2] Crawford, J and I Brownlie Brownlie’s Principles of Public International Law (8th ed, Oxford University Press 2008) 1-1283.

[3] Ibid 2

[4] The Prosecutor v Al Bashir ( ICC-02/05-01/09)Decision on the Prosecution’s Application for a Warrant of Arrest against Omar Hassan Ahmad Al Bashir (4 March 2009) Para 1.

[5] The Prosecutor v Al Bashir ( ICC-02/05-01/09)Decision on the Prosecution’s Application for a Warrant of Arrest against Omar Hassan Ahmad Al Bashir (4 March 2009) Para 4.

[6] Amnesty International ‘Displaced in Darfur A generation of anger’ Report AFR 54/001/2008 (2008)

[7] Amnesty International ‘Sudan: State of Emergency Intensifies Brutal Government Crackdown on Protests’ [25 February 2019] Available At

< https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2019/02/sudan-state-of-emergency-intensifies-brutal-government-crackdown-on-protests/ > Accessed on 01-03-2019

[8] David M. Rosen ‘Child Soldiers, International Humanitarian Law, and the Globalization of Childhood’  (2007) American Anthropologist 102, no 2, 296-306.

[9] BBC website ‘Focus on Africa ‘[Tue 8 Jan 2019] available at

< https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/w172w23y4sq3y70 > Accessed on 01-03-2019

[10] Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (Adopted on 17 July 1998, entered into force on 1 July 2002) vol. 2187, No. 38544, Depositary, art 16

[11] Pati, Roza ‘The ICC and the Case of Sudan’s Omar Al Bashir: Is Plea-Bargaining a Valid Option’ (2008) UC Davis J. Int’l L. & Pol’y 15, 265-308.

[12] W A Schabas The International Criminal Court: A Commentary on the Rome Statute (Oxford University Press 2017) Chapter 2.

[13] Ibid 12

[14] Ibid 12

[15] Ibid 12

[16] Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (Adopted on 17 July 1998, entered into force on 1 July 2002) vol. 2187, No. 38544, Depositary, art 65

[17] Pati, Roza ‘The ICC and the Case of Sudan’s Omar Al Bashir: Is Plea-Bargaining a Valid Option’ (2008) UC Davis J. Int’l L. & Pol’y 15, 265-309.

[18] W A Schabas The International Criminal Court: A Commentary on the Rome Statute (Oxford University Press 2017) Chapter 6.

[19] Ibid 18

[20] Ibid 18

[21] Michael P Scharf ‘Trading Justice for Efficiency Plea-Bargaining and International Tribunals’ (2004) Journal of International Criminal Justice 2.4, 1070-1071.

[22] Ibid 18, 1073.

[23] Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (Adopted on 17 July 1998, entered into force on 1 July 2002) vol. 2187, No. 38544, Depositary, art 53

[24] W A Schabas The International Criminal Court: A Commentary on the Rome Statute (Oxford University Press 2017) Chapter 5

Government’s new strategy on IDPS Camps in Darfur:

Government’s new strategy on IDPs Camps in Darfur:
Dismissing the IDPs Camps in Darfur has been a top priority in government’s crisis management process over the last 9 years. It is obvious that no displaced person in Darfur chose to be a displaced in one of these ugly camps, it has been a pendent hope for every displaced person to go back to his or her beloved village, how can internal displaced persons return to their villages while the security situation significantly deteriorated?
Despite the fact that the security in the whole region is highly dangerous, particularly the targeted burnt areas which its people are displaced in camps across Darfur and refugees outside the country, There have been several failure attempts by the regime in Khartoum to empty the comps from IDPs since 2005 up to date, while the government providing no primary security or basic needs to those who lost all what they had and ended up living desperate life in Camps.
Nevertheless the a huge amount of money the government has been spending to manage this crisis could actually reconstruct the whole destroyed region and indemnification the material loss of Darfuries, unfortunately it seems this is not what Khartoum wants.  
Moreover, it is unambiguous that Khartoum’ concern is crisis management by any means, in doing so the head of state and some government’s figures got indicted by ICC apart from the mass destruction that took place in Darfur over the last ten years while the hope of a durable peace still remain murky in the whole country, and the fear of accountability among government leaders reached the peak. Furthermore, the government’s new strategy with the silence of international community the priority is to empty the IDPs Camps without any consideration to the growing danger of security situation and the basic necessities of the IDPs. The government started terrifying the IDPs by different means through storming up camps militarily and using hunger as weapon by chasing vital humanitarian organizations (E.G Red Cross) to force internal displace persons to get out of the Camps.
So long impunity has become the rule of law in Darfur and the African Union supports the failing operation (UNAMID) the UN will not get the ability to end this crisis considering the obscure of the international community’s stance toward Darfur’s catastrophe that has been pointed out by many concern cycles. Thus due to this the fate of millions of people will remain obscure.  

Gizouli Adam

New Danger in Darfur (Marijuana)

New Danger in Darfur (Marijuana):

It is well known that Darfur conflict has gone through many steps, and the government roles totally focus on crisis management, with security as the main priority to other issues. As a result of many years of despair, depression and frustration Marijuana has played a significant   role in the mass destruction in Darfur region. The question is how deadly Marijuana can be in such devastated environment and helpless society?

As part from the atrocities and horrible experience of what has been characterized as genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur which has not stop at all since 2003, the plight of the victims continues from bad to worse as no hopes for peace and justice seem attainable.

Furthermore, drugs have got its way to the helpless community of Darfur. Reports indicate that millions of young people have involved in using different types of narcotics, stimulant tablets especially Marijuana which let to drop out from school, in addition to indulgement into criminal activities among teenagers, high school and primary students.

Owing to decriminalization of drugs in Darfur, particularly South Darfur where drugs are publicly sold in markets like any other comodity. Thus, young people have easy access to drugs for affordable prices.

Needless to say that drugs have more harmful impact on conflict areas such as Darfur. Interviews with activists and community leaders indicate that their concern is mainly about the spread of drugs among young people between the age of 13 and 25. Eexperts say such age group is not only vulnerbale to drugs but also prone to phsycological disorders (e.g schizophrenia), which may continue to affect them as part of other lifetime diseases.   

 Despite the apparent danger of drugs and destructive impact, the issue has not received sufficent attention from concered circles. The government has not taken any concrete measures or introdced policies in place in order to combat the widespread of narcotics apart from approving their ban. Such inaction only drove more hopless youth to consume drugs. Activists accuse the government of turning a blind eye to this crisis, calling it as delibrate policy of destroying the region’s future generation which is vital for the reival and reconstruction of the war-battered Darfur. They also calim that the government aims to integrate these drug-affected youth and school drop outs into its new version of the notoreous Janjaweed militia known as the Rapid Support Forces.

Hopes remain that serious stepts would be taken to address the issue with immediate policies, including the launching of rehabilitation programs, drugs combat and raise of awareness of the magnitude of problem and its dire impact on the society.  Such measures must be introduced in the near future in order to lift out young people from the misery of drugs to a better life.

Letter to the UN Secretary-General regarding the Darfur refugee situation

Document date: 20/3/2011

 

Letter to the UN Secretary-General regarding the Darfur refugee situation

 

His Excellency Mr. Ban Ki-moon

Secretary-General United Nations

New York, NY10017

                                                                                                             March 20, 2011

 

Dear Mr. Secretary General,

 

It is well known that Darfur has been in a crisis situation since 2003; however, murder, rape and displacement are still being inflicted on the innocent.  Those who carried out genocide are still free despite the indictments and arrest warrants that were issued.

 

While we are writing this message, armed clashes continue in Darfur and tens of thousands of innocent people are fleeing their homes.  OCHA has reported that an estimated 66,000 IDPs have arrived in camps since January.  These refugees are suffering from lack of water, sanitation, health care, education and protection.

 

Darfur rarely makes the headlines lately while the reality on the ground continues to worsen.  Insecurity, limited humanitarian access, impunity for perpetrators of atrocities, assassination and the lack of credible human rights reporting is rampant.  International attention has been focusing on the north-south tensions at the cost of Darfur.  Obviously Darfur has been forsaken despite the evidence that the situation there is extremely dangerous.

 

The lives of 2.5 million people are threatened by the present escalation of fighting in the Darfur region in Sudan.  Systematic and massive human rights violations are taking place, not all of which are directly connected with the hostilities between the Sudanese government and a number of armed movements:

 

  • Hundreds of villages have been burned and their fields destroyed;
  • Civilians are expelled or ruthlessly killed (More than 900,000 people are internally displaced, while over 140,000 have found refuge across the border in Chad, Central African Republic, Kenya and Uganda as well as Egypt.  Some estimates now speak of up to 300,000 dead as a result of the war.) and we believe more than 500,000 dead;
  • Settlements and civilian targets are indiscriminately bombed by high-flying Antonov aircraft and attacked by helicopter gunships;
  • People are arbitrarily arrested without being informed of the possible reasons, a practice that has been condemned by civil society groups in Sudan for over three years;
  • There are repeated cases of torture.  
  • Sexual assault is used as a weapon of war; and
  • The government, for a long time, refused to grant humanitarian aid organizations free access to the victims.

 

There is a danger that the unresolved political problems behind the current escalation of violence in Darfur could plunge the country into a new civil war, which would once again dash the people’s prospects of improved lives for decades.

 

For the thousands of forsaken refugees who deserve the help of every conscious human being; and on behalf of all the mothers who lost their sons and the women who have been raped and millions who paid the cost of this genocide, we are asking the United Nations Security Council to urge the international community to due more to prevent further attacks and violence against the innocent refugees and civilians.

 

We implore you to ensure that peacekeeping forces are fully deployed and equipped to protect the civilians, and that you insist on humanitarian access to people in need of assistance, and on protection of the local human rights workers.

 

 

Sincerely,

 

Gizoly Adam

Director of SudanCenter for Conflict Resolution (SCCR)

Justice and Freedom for All

Skype: frah20102

TEL: +254700686389

 

It is not the worst one

 

It is not the worst one:

Writers, artists and activists must not only promote democracy, justice, peace and human rights but they must be free from all kinds of primary affiliations in a country like Sudan that has a long history of racism, religious conflict and oppression. We mostly see our future through their paintings, writings and actions, especially in our fuzzy and confusing  situation.

 

It looks odd when everything seems normal such as change, war, peace, love co-existence and willingness of making a difference, then there must be something tremendously wrong. That means hope is no longer something effective or possible, so long as change takes place in a normal pattern, or people get to normalize very essential things in life like  hunger, war, child abuse, refugees, including death, then the situation is profoundly dangerous.

 

It seems a long way to a freedom in which the basic human rights still matter and the question of what should be done widely arises in every debate concerning the Sudan situation! Do we not understand what should be done yet? Or we are afraid of the consequences when we take  the privileges of those who unjustly inherited it.

This question does not have to be answered any more because the answer is very obvious: the lives of  millions of  people are threatened by the present escalation of fighting in Darfur, Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains regions.  Poverty  has overwhelmed the whole country, millions of lives have been threatened by hunger and war for decades and the same questions are being asked over and over again! The Sudan conflict has a great impact on  the development in the areas where there is  peace and on conflict resolutions across the world 

 for how long are we going to be at the mercy of others?

This must  end and it will be so long as there are millions of people no longer have something to lose or to fear of and death became a mercy to young people change is going to happen.

However, surprisingly there are good and respectful people who have no doubt about their hope for change. They have written about the recent demonstration  in Khartoum in September 2013 and described it as the worst Eid Adha the Sudanese people ever experienced! I do not get it. What about the ongoing killing of the people of Darfur, Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains, who have been crying for peace and freedom for almost a century? To me it seems an irrational way of thinking, especially when it comes from those who believe in democracy, freedom and human right philosophy. If to them 250 people who were killed in the recent demonstration was the worst thing that ever happened to the Sudanese people then surely the hope for change in Sudan is really a matter to be questioned. Because there could be this number of deaths among the inhabitants of villages in Blue Nile, Nuba mountains and Darfure in only one night. It has been many years for these people since they enjoyed the taste of Eid Aladha. Some of them were born and got kids and the kids got kids and they have never had a normal life!  Leave aside South Sudan that determined its fate and still not yet safe  from the tactic of the well-experienced government of war by proxy.

 

Let us  learn from South Africa’s experience that the dominating minority did their best to protect themselves by violating the majority’s rights and thus drove the state into insanity. In doing so they built the most oppressive injustice system that humanity has ever experienced and hopefully will never happen again. It took years to be deconstructed, until they got a prophet (Madiba) who came and proved that their injustice system was as stupid as their imaginations.  In the case of Sudan  -with almost the same system but subtly different – the dominating minority do not trust the majority, in fact they do not trust even themselves any more. Therefore they are imposing their fears on the whole nation so that all people are to be uncertain about everything.   

   What I am afraid of is that those who are the real change makers will not have a role to play after the change of this current regime. That means we will have to wait for quite a long time to start a new fresh movement of change. Nobody knows how long it is going to take.

The question is why we make it impossible for each other to make a change that everybody looks for  and dies for.

Change must not be so ambiguous that nobody knows what to do. Yes, change is always something frightening but should not be to those who have nothing to fear for any more, particularly in the case of such  “nations” as Sudan. Some people still believe that Alzbir Basha is a hero no matter what he did because there still is a road named after him in the capital city of Khartoum, while he is considered to be the greatest  X slave trader  in Africa. He used to own hundreds of thousands of slaves. Surprisingly now in the education curriculum of Sudan he is considered to be one of the historical heroes  and nothing is mentioned about his business, for God’s sake, how shameful it is, we are in 21st century!

However, we have struggled in many ways to live in harmony and peaceful co-existence, except the hard way and that is change through peaceful means that worked effectively in many places  with  profound outputs(?) Why do we not try this while many of us know that this is the only way to unity and peace? 

Those who are called “ordinary people” have a vital role to play in terms of change and it is a crucial role. Surprisingly, those who think they belong to the elite and are well-educated mistakenly ignore the fact that people instinctually know what is right and what is wrong.

I believe change is  inevitable and it is going to take place one way or another. We are tired of seeing it take place in a wrong way, therefore let us hope and work for the right change that is based on principle (democracy, freedom, peace, justice and the pursuit of happiness) rather than the primary affiliations that have proved its inability of effectiveness in terms of making a difference.

31/12/2013

 Mohammed Elizouly Adam

      Email-gizoli77@gmail.com

Blog-gizoulidotcom.wordpress.com