World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Sudan: No Justice for Darfur Victims

Sudan: No Justice for Darfur Victims

Special Courts Failing to Prosecute War Crimes

(New York) – The courts established by the Sudanese government to deal with the widespread crimes in Darfur have failed to provide justice to victims of war crimes committed since early 2003, Human Rights Watch said in a briefing paper released today.

" The cases before the court so far involve ordinary crimes like theft and receiving stolen goods, which don’t begin to reflect the massive scale of destruction in Darfur. The Sudanese government must do more than pay lip service to the idea of justice. "

On June 6, 2005, the Office of the Prosecutor for the International Criminal Court (ICC) announced it had opened an investigation into the events in Darfur. The next day Sudan’s chief justice announced the establishment of the Special Criminal Courts on the Events in Darfur (SCCED), telling the Sudanese media that the court was “considered a substitute to the international criminal court.”

“The cases before the court so far involve ordinary crimes like theft and receiving stolen goods, which don’t begin to reflect the massive scale of destruction in Darfur,” said Sara Darehshori, senior counsel to the International Justice Program at Human Rights Watch and author of the briefing paper. “The Sudanese government must do more than pay lip service to the idea of justice.”

Since early 2003, tens of thousands of civilians have been assaulted, raped and killed, hundreds of villages destroyed and approximately 2 million people forcibly displaced by the conflict. Human Rights Watch is aware of only 13 cases that have been brought before the new special court to date. The cases have involved low-ranking individuals accused of relatively minor offences. No senior commanders or superiors have been charged for their part in the atrocities.

In its 31-page briefing paper, Human Rights Watch examines the first year of the special court’s operations, and sets out the major roadblocks to the prosecution of war crimes in Darfur. These include:

• A lack of clarity in Sudanese law on which war crimes and crimes against humanity can be prosecuted;

• Absence of a legal basis to hold commanders accountable on the basis of “command responsibility” for crimes they may have failed to prevent or punish;

• Provisions granting immunity from prosecution to members of the armed forces, national security agencies and police that create potential obstacles to successful prosecution;

• The incorporation of many of the “Janjaweed” militia into the Popular Defense Force, special police forces and other paramilitary groups, possibly enabling them to invoke immunity to avoid prosecution;

• Failure to investigate complaints by victims; and

• Victims – particularly those of gender-based sexual violence – often being harassed and sometimes threatened with arrest or prosecution themselves when they go to the police.

“The 13 cases brought so far are an insult to the victims,” said Darehshori. “The failure of the justice system in Darfur makes ICC prosecutions all the more important. Khartoum must now cooperate fully with the ICC investigations.”

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Gordon Campbell: Is This Guy The World’s Most Dangerous Thirtysomething?

Saudi Arabia has long been regarded as a pillar of stability in the Middle East, and is the essential caterer to the West’s fossil fuel needs. It is also the country that gave us Osama Bin Laden, al Qaeda, and 15 of the 19 terrorists who carried out the 9/11 attacks... More>>


Non-Binding Postal Vote: Australia Says Yes To Same Sex Marriage

Binoy Kampmark: Out of 150 federal seats, 133 registered affirmative totals in returning their response to the question “Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?”. More>>


Bonn Climate Change Conference: Protecting Health In Small Island States

The vision is that, by 2030, all Small Island Developing States will have health systems that are resilient to climate change and countries around the world will be reducing their carbon emissions both to protect the most vulnerable from climate risks and deliver large health benefits in carbon-emitting countries. More>>


Camp Shut Down: Refugees Must Be Rescued From Manus

On 31st October 2017, the detention centre on Manus Island in which the Australian Government has been holding more than 700 refugees was closed, leaving those living there in a desperate situation. More>>



Rohingya Muslims Massacred: Restrictions On Aid Put 1000s At Risk

Amnesty: The Myanmar authorities’ restrictions on international aid in Rakhine state is putting tens of thousands of lives at risk in a region where mainly Rohingya people are already suffering horrific abuses from a disproportionate military campaign. More>>


  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC