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Cablegate: Sla/Unity: We Will Submit to Icc If Indicted

VZCZCXRO3652
OO RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #1258/01 2320714
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 190714Z AUG 08
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1659
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 001258

DEPT FOR AF/SPG, A/S FRAZER, SE WILLIAMSON
NSC FOR BPITTMAN AND CHUDSON
ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU
DEPT PLS PASS USAID FOR AFR/SUDAN

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ASEC PGOV PREL KPKO SOCI AU UNSC SU
SUBJECT: SLA/UNITY: WE WILL SUBMIT TO ICC IF INDICTED

REF: KHARTOUM 1232

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: On August 18, leaders of SLA/Unity pledged their
cooperation with the International Criminal Court, even if the ICC
issues indictments against them or their SLA/Unity brethren.
SLA/Unity leaders also separately told poloff via satphones that
they support Luis Moreno Ocampo's request for a warrant against
President Bashir, especially as, "the regime continues its genocidal
operations in Darfur." SLA/Unity leaders also discussed their
relationship with other movements, their lack of communication with
UNAMID, and increased GoS military operations in North Darfur. END
SUMMARY.

"WE WILL SUBMIT TO THE ICC"
- - - - - - - - - - - - - -
2. (SBU) On August 18, the leader of SLA/Unity, Abdalla Yahia, and
his chief military commander, Abubaker Mohamed Kado, both separately
told poloff that they respect the legitimacy of the ICC and will
submit to its demands. (Note: On July 17, the local and
international press reported that ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo
is considering charging Darfur rebel commanders with crimes against
humanity. The reports specifically mention Kado as one potential
rebel indictee along with Khalil Ibrahim and Ali Karbino. The
reports specifically mention the rebels alleged involvement attacks
on UNAMID forces- Haskanita in 2007 and Shangil Tobaya in July 2008.
End Note.)

3. (SBU) "We are ready to fully cooperate with the ICC and will
turn over anyone the ICC suspects of war crimes," stated Yahia.
Yahia said he had heard accusations against his military general,
but stated that Kado was not involved in the 2007 Haskanita attacks,
nor in the July 2008 attack on UNAMID peacekeepers. Kado separately
repeated Yahia's sentiments, stating that anyone in SLA/Unity, and
"even I" will submit to the ICC. Kado said that although his troops
were near Gusa Jamat on July 8, they were not involved in the attack
on the UNAMID convoy that led to deaths of at least seven UNAMID
soldiers.

RELATIONSHIP WITH OTHER MOVEMENTS AND UNAMID
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
4. (SBU) According to Yahia and Kado, SLM/Unity is in close
communication with SLA/MM leader Minni Minnawi, but downplayed any
future military coordination. Yahia reported that he considers
Minnawi his friend even though the latter is still a part of the
government. Both Yahia and Kado stated that as long as Minnawi is a
part of the Government of National Unity, there will be limits to
their friendship and level of coordination. Yahia also stated there
is occasional field coordination with JEM "without any
organizational or ideological ties." Kado reported limited
coordination with JEM. Both Yahia and Kado said they have had very
limited contact with UNAMID in recent months, and no communication
with the new chief mediator, Djibril Bassole.

GoS MILITARY OPERATIONS AND BASHIR'S INTIATIVE
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
5. (SBU) According to Yahia, the GoS has continued and expanded its
military operations in North Darfur near Wadi Atrun (reftel). Yahia
stated that he met with SLA/AW Commander Suliman Marajan on August
17 to discuss the operation and possible coordination among their
movements. Yahia noted that on August 18, there was no direct
fighting between GoS forces and the rebel movements, but that the
government intends to use this military buildup "to continue its
genocidal policies." Kado stated that the GoS now deployed three
brigades to the region around Wadi Atrun Karab Atom, and Wadi Howar.
He said that the GoS has conducted aerial bombing in the last week
resulting in 12 civilian deaths. Per reftel, Kado stated that GoS
oil interests in the region are motivating the SAF deployment to
North Darfur. Both Yahia and Kado dismissed President Bashir's
Darfur People's Initiative as a ploy following the ICC proceedings.
"How can the government broadcast its peace initiatives while a war
is going on. The GoS is not serious about peace while it drops
bombs and its troops fire their guns," stated Yahia.

COMMENT
- - - - -
6. (SBU) Yahia and Kado were consistent in their support of the
ICC, even if it means having a negative impact on them or their
movement. This is easy to say now, as Ocampo has not yet requested
an indictment for any members of SLA/Unity. Although Unity leaders
acknowledged ongoing communication with Minnawi, they downplayed the
extent of their coordination with SLM/MM. Yahia's emphasis on the
limits of this coordination, "as long as Minnawi is part of the
government," clearly demonstrates Yahia's hope for Minnawi's
withdrawal from the GoS and combined SLM/Unity-MM military
operations. Although not as strong as JEM or widely supported as

KHARTOUM 00001258 002 OF 002


Abdul Wahid, Unity is regarded by many observers as one of the most
important movements that could make or break any future peace deal.
Having already communicated with JEM, SLA/AW, and SLM/MM, Djibril
Bassole and his staff should immediately reach out to SLM/Unity
leaders such as Kado and Yahia.

BIO NOTE
- - - - -
7. (SBU) Originally from the Nuba Mountains, Abubaker Mohamed Kado
is a former army and Popular Defense Force Officer turned rebel
commander. Kado has a long history of involvement in Sudan's wars,
leading a unit of the Sudan Democratic Federal Alliance in Eastern
Sudan and later fighting with multiple iterations of the Sudan
Liberation Army in Darfur. Kado stated that he has "been in the
field actively fighting since 1996 and will continue to be there
until there is real change in Sudan."

ASQUINO

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