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Cablegate: Darfur Planned Compensation Scheme Faulty

VZCZCXRO8257
PP RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #0821/01 1531333
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 011333Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0941
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 000821

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/SPG, S/CRS, SE WILLIAMSON
DEPT PLS PASS USAID FOR AFR/SUDAN
ADDIS ABABA ALSO FOR USAU

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL PREF PHUM EAID KPKO SOCI UNSC SU

SUBJECT: DARFUR PLANNED COMPENSATION SCHEME FAULTY

REF: A.) KHARTOUM 816, B.) KHARTOUM 817

1. (SBU) SUMMARY. Compensation is the number one issue raised by
virtually every segment of society in Darfur. To implement
components of the Agreement dealing with reparations and
compensation, the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) established the
Darfur Compensation Commission (DCC). Although it was established
in August 2007, Khartoum has not released funding for the Commission
and it is not yet accepting claims. If the process is not
implemented in a fair and transparent manner, the issue threatens to
deepen the Darfur conflict and possibly even derail future political
progress. The DCC's complicated process for adjudicating claims,
coupled with its obvious political agenda, make it unlikely that it
will contribute to reconciliation absent both reform and technical
assistance. See recommendation - para. 8. END SUMMARY.

------------------------------
The Mechanics of Compensation
------------------------------

2. (SBU) Although not yet fully functional, the DCC has been
operational since August 2007. Since then, the Commission's 180
employees have undertaken preparations to start compensation
activities, such as developing the claim form to be distributed to
victims who are entitled to make a compensation claim. Individuals
will be limited to one claim per person, and must detail all losses
in that one claim. DCC teams will investigate and verify claims,
talking to tribal leaders to confirm assertions, and taking sworn
testimony from claimants and other witnesses. The types of losses
that will be covered by the Commission include loss of life,
property, and livestock. The Commission's Executive Director claims
to have "consulted other countries' methods" in developing their own
plan, and thinks that "the DDC has covered 90% of the possible
cases."

3. (SBU) Claims will be evaluated on a case by case basis, using
tribal administration principles and records, and awards will vary
accordingly. "The price of a horse is different throughout Darfur,"
the Director explained, "and there are many different types." Due
to organizational weaknesses, including overstaffing, a claim filed
with the Compensation Commission will be "investigated" or
"evaluated" by at least three departments before a determination is
made. The DCC will only consider claims from civilians - generally
IDPs and refugees. The Darfur Security Arrangements Implementation
Commission, which has not yet begun operations, will deal with
issues affecting the military and armed movements, but will also
have the ability to recommend individual cases to the Compensation
Commission for consideration.

-----------------------------
The Politics of Compensation
-----------------------------

4. (SBU) The DCC, like most organs of the Transitional Darfur
Regional Authority (TDRA), is led by Sudanese Liberation Army/Minni
Minawi (SLA/MM) relatives and close associates. The DCC Director is
clearly eager to begin handing out compensation awards, and wants to
begin working as soon as funds are received from Khartoum. When
asked whether that was wise, or even feasible, considering that
there was no real ceasefire in place and losses were sure to
continue, the Director noted predictably, given his SLA/MM
affiliation, that "we are going to start in SLA-MM areas and other
places that are secure, like IDP camps." When there is better
x5Q5QQQe commission could expand
its work. (Note: SLA/MM areas, particularly in North Darfur, are
arg5!zi(SBU) Senior DCC leadership complain bitterly that Khartoum has
not released the promised funding for them to start compensation
activities, but considering their obvious political agenda, the
delay may actually be an opportunity. Compensation is the number
one issue raised by virtually every segment of society.
Fortunately, conflicts between tribes and groups in Darfur don't
appear to run deep, and most Darfuris agree that if compensation is
done properly as part of a political solution (i.e., a ceasefire and
political agreement that hold), reconciliation is possible.
6. (SBU) Unfortunately, it does not appear that the DCC is on the
right path, neither in terms of its approach nor in terms of its
agenda. Establishing time consuming case by case investigations and
multiple layers of bureaucracy in the claims process decreases
transparency and increases the possibility for arbitrary or
politically motivated compensation awards. In addition, the

KHARTOUM 00000821 002 OF 002


Commission's desire to take care of its own first (i.e. SLA/MM), and
then worry about leftovers for other groups later, risks undermining
the commission's credibility and alienating large sectors of the
public. There is also a very real possibility that the commission
will run out of funds before compensation has been completed,
leaving SLA/MM to benefit at the expense of other Darfuris. If the
commission continues with this plan of action, it actually stands to
deepen the conflict and possibly even derail the political process.

--------------------------
Comment and Recommendation
--------------------------
7. (SBU) COMMENT: Although the UN has extensive experience in
transitional justice and rule of law issues, and the Office of the
High Commissioner for Human Rights just released a comprehensive
report on reparations, UNAMID has neither the technical skills on
the ground, nor the personnel to focus on this issue. The DCC has
said that it wants to meet with local and international NGOs, and if
properly packaged, for example in the cloak of "capacity building,"
is open to partnerships.
8. (SBU) RECOMMENDATION: Post recommends that, as part of the
broader dialogue on TDRA reform, the issue of compensation
specifically be raised as the highest priority in an appropriate
donor forum (ref B). In addition, we should push the TDRA and
UNAMID to consult transitional justice experts, like the
International Center for Transitional Justice, to ensure that any
compensation scheme meets minimal fairness and transparency
standards before the commencement of any compensation activities.
POWERS

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