Africa

Conflicts within Sudan Part 2

UN divided

From the outset, the UN Security Council was divided over Darfur. At first, they were content to issue threats of “action”, but in January 2005, the UN stated that the Sudanese army and its allies had committed systematic abuses against civilians. On the other hand, the Security Council did not want to call it genocide , which according to the UN Charter and international law would have forced the world organization to intervene.

International attempts at mediation had no effect. However, the Sudanese government agreed that the  African Union  (AU) would send a peacekeeping force named the Amis (African Union Mission in Sudan).

The 2006 UN attempt to replace Amis with a UN force was delayed by the Sudanese government. In the end, there was a compromise that the UN would take the lead over a force that would for the most part consist of Amis in a new form. The government only approved the participation of African countries, with the exception of Pakistan and China. It was not until the New Year 2008 that the UN took over responsibility for the force, now called the Unamid (United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur).

Relations between Unamid and Khartoum quickly strained. In 2015, then-President Omar al-Bashir ordered the force to leave the country after accusing a government-affiliated militia, the RSF (Rapid Support Forces), of committing mass rape in Darfur in the autumn of 2014. Despite al-Bashir’s orders, Unamid remained in the region until 31 December 2020 when the mission gradually began to be phased out. It then consisted of just over 4,300 soldiers, just over 2,100 police officers and about 500 international civilian employees and a thousand local employees.

Bandit rule rather than war

In March 2009, the International Criminal Court ( ICC ) in The Hague issued an arrest warrant for Omar al-Bashir. He was charged with  crimes against humanity  and  war crimes . In July 2010, the indictment was extended to include genocide .

Al-Bashir responded by expelling dozens of aid workers from Darfur, exacerbating the crisis and reducing the world’s visibility of what was going on. He demonstrated his defiance to the court through a series of visits to other African and Arab countries, whose leaders showed solidarity with him rather than with the international community and refrained from arresting him.

In December 2014, the ICC prosecutor dropped the war crimes indictment in Darfur. She said that the outside world’s lack of co-operation forced her to leave the matter to rest and accused the UN Security Council in particular of passivity.

A turning point came after al-Bashir was overthrown in a military coup in the spring of 2019 (see Current Policy ). The new civil-military transitional government announced in February 2020 that it was ready to hand over al-Bashir to the ICC. The former president was then in Sudanese prison, convicted of corruption.

According to a2zdirectory, a peace agreement concluded in 2006 between the Sudanese government and Minni Minnawi (see above) had no effect. Rather, the crisis was exacerbated by Minnawi’s faction of the SLM merging with the army and the Janjawids in attacks on the JEM. The growing division among the rebels weakened virtually all groups, and in August 2009, the commanders of the UNAMID said that the conflict could hardly be called a war. Instead, he described it as bandit rule and local clashes over land and water.

In the outside world, many now saw the issue of land ownership in Darfur as one of the most difficult problems. The war had shattered the foundations of older customary law and made it impossible for internally displaced persons to return to villages taken over by land occupiers. These had sometimes received help from the authorities to obtain proof of ownership. Further confusion arose when returning refugees driven away from their home villages settled in other abandoned villages.

During al-Bashir’s last years in power, the Arabs in Darfur began accusing his regime of betraying promises to give them land. Some Arab clans began to attack each other. Others joined forces with black rebels, but it was more an expression of growing anarchy than of increased cohesion among Darfur’s various ethnic groups.

Hundreds of thousands killed

In 2010, Milli Minnawi broke with the government and terminated the peace agreement from 2006. Instead, the government signed an agreement with LJM in 2011. In the same year, JEM, SLM-Nur and SLM-Minnawi merged with the rebel movement SPLM-Nord, a “branch” of the South Sudanese independence movement. Together they formed Sudan’s revolutionary front (SRF). The Khartoum government accused South Sudan of supporting the rebels in Darfur.

In the summer of 2011, the government signed a peace agreement with a rebel alliance in Darfur, but the important guerrilla JEM chose not to join. In accordance with the peace agreement, a governing body was established in Darfur in 2012. The following year, an international donors’ conference was held where more than three billion dollars were promised for the reconstruction of the war-torn region. Most of the money would be contributed by the government in Khartoum.

Conflicts within Sudan 2