We are responding to the genocide in Darfur and conflicts across Sudan by working to protect civilians, building peace for all of Sudan and bringing those responsible for the crimes committed to justice.


Protection

Protection

Urgent and sustained diplomatic measures aimed at bringing about sustainable peace in Darfur will ultimately provide the framework for ending violence against civilians. While an effort to build lasting peace is absolutely critical, the Save Darfur Coalition also pursues concrete efforts to address current insecurity on the ground caused by over a decade of genocidal violence and increasing instability.

In July 2007, the United Nations Security Council authorized the AU-UN Hybrid Operation in Darfur, better known as UNAMID, with a strong mandate to protect civilians. Early political and bureaucratic obstructions by the Sudanese government — including stalling on signing agreements and dictating the make-up of the force — caused waning political will for sufficiently resourcing and supporting the force.

Many Darfuri civilians rely on peacekeepers to provide protection and stability in the present realities of the conflict. For the people of Darfur, their home has become an unpredictable climate of violence and survival. According to the United Nations, 3.2 million people in Darfur rely on humanitarian aid for food, healthcare, clean water, and countless other services.

Darfuri civilians feel the brunt of this unstable climate, especially women and girls. Women and children make up the overwhelming majority of those living in displaced persons camps, with some estimates as high as 80 percent. Years of continued insecurity have led to an increase in opportunistic rape by a multitude of actors. The camps where women and children are forced to flee are also unsafe, and when they leave to collect firewood or other essentials they are often attacked. Sexual violence is contributing to the region’s instability and is rapidly breaking down the social fabric in Darfur. UNAMID can be more effective in protecting women and girls if it is properly trained and equipped to do so — this means increasing the number of females in the force and establishing communication mechanisms with local communities to better understand protection needs.

Despite its challenges, UNAMID presents the most immediate opportunity to provide civilian protection in Darfur, facilitate open humanitarian access, and deter and investigate attacks, including those sexually violent in nature. The international community, led by the U.S., must invest diplomatic and materiel resources to ensure the force has the access and independence in reporting needed to fulfill its mandate.


Peace

Peace

Building peace costs less — in lives and in dollars — than picking up the pieces after a humanitarian crisis. The best way to end genocide and mass atrocities right now is with persistent, high-level diplomacy aimed at creating sustainable peace and laying the groundwork for a more secure future. We encourage the Sudanese government and Darfuri rebel movements to commit themselves to substantive peace talks, inclusive of other regions of Sudan, to address the root causes and manifold consequences of more than a decade of violence and suffering in Darfur.

We also call upon the international community — led by the United States — to support the African Union High-Implementation Panel in a comprehensive approach to peace in Sudan that includes other regions including South Kordofan and Blue Nile.

Any talks will also need strong civil society representation, including the critical involvement of women, if they are to produce a sustainable agreement.

Any deal between the Darfurians and other groups and the Sudanese government should advance peace, stability, justice and democracy for all Sudanese.


Accountability

Accountability

After decades of civil wars in Sudan and years of mass atrocities in Darfur, one of the most frequent demands of survivors is that the individuals responsible for rape, murder and destruction of villages and livelihoods be held accountable. The pursuit of justice and accountability is about far more than exacting retribution or revenge for past crimes. Ending the current climate of impunity for perpetrators and providing measures of justice to survivors is essential for lasting peace in the region.

We support the current work of the International Criminal Court (ICC), which has taken historic steps toward holding accountable those most responsible for mass atrocities in Darfur. After the United Nations Security Council referred the Darfur situation to the ICC in 2005, prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo opened a formal investigation into war crimes in Darfur.

In April 2007, the ICC issued arrest warrants for two suspects on charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes in Darfur: former Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and the current governor of a key border region between North and South Sudan, Ahmad Haroun, and janjaweed militia leader Ali Mohamed Ali (“Ali Kushayb”). Neither suspect has been turned over to the Court.

On March 4, 2009 the ICC issued an arrest warrant against Bashir for 7 counts of crimes against humanity and war crimes. On July 12, 2010 the ICC issued an additional warrant adding 3 counts of genocide for the ethnic cleansing of the Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa tribes.

Undeterred by his arrest warrants, Bashir continues his reign of impunity—attacking innocent civilians in Darfur and other states in Sudan and travelling freely to other countries.

Another arrest warrant was released in March 2012 for Sudan’s Minister of Defense Abdel Raheem Muhammad Hussein on 20 counts of crimes against humanity and 21 counts of war crimes. Hussein too remains free and has traveled with impunity.

The ICC has also summoned one rebel leader, Bahr Idriss Abu Garda, to appear on charges of war crimes for a 2007 attack on African Union (AU) peacekeepers in Darfur. Abu Garda appeared at the Court in May 2009 — the first appearance before the Court of any suspect in the ICC’s Darfur cases — and his confirmation of charges hearing is scheduled for October 2009. The court’s judges are also considering charges submitted by the prosecutor against two other rebels allegedly involved in the same attack on AU troops.

We call on the U.S. and international community to fully support the ICC’s work in Darfur and to press Sudan to enforce outstanding warrants. The ICC’s work has put pressure on President al-Bashir and other members of his regime.

Even after a negotiated peace is in place and atrocities have ended, work to heal and transform a society through the pursuit of justice and accountability for past crimes is never a quick or straightforward process. Ensuring justice and accountability for the grave crimes committed against the people of Darfur will likely take many years and require a variety of mechanisms. In other societies recovering from conflict and mass violations of human rights, these have ranged from criminal prosecutions at international and national levels, to truth commissions and reparations programs, to forms of traditional and/or community-level justice. Such efforts often continue for decades after atrocities and other mass violations of human rights have ended, and often must be preceded by or accompanied by reforms of national judicial and security structures.

The International Criminal Court’s work in Darfur must continue unhindered and with the full backing of the international community. But the successful execution of its arrest warrants — and even future trials and verdicts — will mark only the critical beginning of a path to justice, accountability and reconciliation in Sudan.

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