January 20, 2012 (KHARTOUM) – The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) should push for an International Criminal Court (ICC) investigation into war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly perpetrated by the Sudanese government in the conflict-torn states of Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile, an aid agency said.
The UK-based Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust (HART) made the call after its delegation, led by founder, Baroness Caroline Cox, conducted a two-week assessment of the troubled region.
In a statement released after the 4-18 January visit to Sudan, Cox argued the Sudanese government’s act of “deliberately” denying people life-saving aid constitutes “a crime against humanity.”
“If the UN Security Council will not agree [on] a resolution to this effect, an alternative appropriate body should initiate this request to the ICC,” she said.
The HART founder, renowned for fighting in support of the marginalised, also accuses the Khartoum regimes of using “genocidal” policies, while “seeing innocent civilians dying from military offensives, starvation and preventable disease.”
She said, “Khartoum is continuing to kill its own people with impunity. If the international community continues to fail to intervene in ways which will stop this ethnic cleansing of the peoples of Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan it will be seen as complicit.”
The UN estimates up to 500,000 people have internally been displaced in the two states since conflict broke out between the Sudanese government and Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) rebels in 2011.
At least 200,000 have also fled the conflict to neighbouring South Sudan and Ethiopia, with aid agencies anticipating a sharp rise in the numbers of these refugees.
Last year, the Sudanese government reluctantly accepted a tripartite proposal for humanitarian access to South Kordofan and Blue Nile, but humanitarian agencies say none has since been delivered.
“The tripartite agreement is seen as having done more harm than good, because without it, people would have made the journey to South Sudan earlier,” HART said in the statement.
The agency has urged the international community to put more pressure on Khartoum to immediately cease the aerial bombardment of civilians in the two-conflict states, allowing residents to return to their homes, live in security, harvest their crops and begin to restore essential services including education and health care.
Failure to take necessary measures to halt the sustained aerial bombardment is tantamount to condoning another attempted genocide, the statement said.
Early this year, a local-based agency linked to the SPLM-N claimed more than a million Sudanese currently live in constant fear of bombing and artillery attacks in the country’s rebel-held territories.
In a report, also extended to Sudan Tribune, the Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Agency (SRRA) paints a horrifying picture of the fate of more than one million Sudanese living in Sudanese states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile.
The report, for instance, says 959 bombs were dropped in South Kordofan between June 2011 and the end of December 2012, killing about 101 civilians and injuring 189 persons, the majority of which were children and women. In Blue Nile’s Wadaka payam [district] about 1,205 people, half of them children, have reportedly starved to death, the report adds.
Established in June 2011, SRRA serves as the SPLM-N’s humanitarian arm, leading all humanitarian interventions in SPLM/A-N controlled areas in Sudan.