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Report of the UN HR Commission on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions in S. & W. Sudan

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UNITED NATIONS

Economic and Social Council

- COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS
- Sixty first session

- 6 August 2004
- E/CN.4/2005/7/Add.2

GENEVA, Aug 09, 2004 (Sudan Tribune) — Attached the Final version of the report of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Ms. Asma Jahangir, following her mission to the Sudan in June 2004.

Hereunder some extracts from the summary of the report:

The mission was originally prompted by a substantial number of allegations of violations of the right to life, in particular in the Darfur region in western Sudan, but also in other parts of the South. The mission visited Khartoum, the three states of Darfur and Upper Nile State and met with a large number of interlocutors. The mission also had meetings in Nairobi and Cairo.

The Special Rapporteur finds that it is beyond doubt that the Government of the Sudan is responsible for extrajudicial and summary executions of large numbers of people over the last several months in the Darfur region, as well as in the Shilook Kingdom in Upper Nile State, though on a lesser scale. In addition, the current humanitarian disaster unfolding in Darfur, for which the Government is largely responsible, has put millions of civilians at risk, and it is very likely that many will die in the months to come as a result of starvation and disease.

In the Sudan, the Special Rapporteur found that a number of individuals had been sentenced to death for crimes committed when they were under the age of 18, which is a clear violation of international standards as well as national legislation.

With regard to the future, the Special Rapporteur recommends that the immediate priority be to ensure effective humanitarian assistance and human rights protection to the vulnerable populations in Darfur as well as in the South, in order to protect the right to life of the people of the Sudan. All attacks against the civilian population must stop. The Government must immediately ensure that all militias are disarmed, that the actions of the Popular Defence Forces (PDF) remain under the firm control of the Government, and that all members of the PDF are properly screened. The Government should ensure, with international assistance if available, that appropriate training is given to the armed forces so that they act in accordance with international human rights law and international humanitarian law. The Government must ensure that immediate and complete access is provided to humanitarian actors as well as international human rights monitors, so that the international community has every opportunity, in cooperation with the Government, to protect the lives of vulnerable populations in Darfur. The two rebel movements in Darfur should also guarantee safe humanitarian access. The international community should continuously be urged to provide generous humanitarian assistance to the affected people of the Sudan. The United Nations must continue to highlight the need to protect the human rights of civilians. An international presence is of the utmost importance to guarantee consistency, impartiality and neutrality. The Special Rapporteur also stresses the importance of addressing the political and economic grievances of the people of Darfur. A comprehensive, just and transparent peace process that takes these grievances into account is needed in this regard.

The issue of accountability is crucial to the peace process, as many of the key causes of the conflict relate to perceptions of injustice and discrimination. The Government of the Sudan must make every effort to end the culture of impunity. In the context of Darfur, the setting up of the National Commission of Inquiry is a positive development, and it is hoped that the Commission will take into account violations of human rights allegedly committed by the security forces. However, the Commission can only partly address the issue of accountability. Ultimately, it is the obligation of the Government to ensure the delivery of justice and to ensure that witnesses and victims are protected in this process. However, it is the Special Rapporteur’s impression that the establishment of accountability will be seriously flawed unless the international community closely monitors, and possibly even assists, the process. In this regard, it is of the utmost importance that investigations be carried out to ascertain the details of the events in Darfur, including extrajudicial killings, and to bring the alleged perpetrators to justice. International actors are best suited to conduct these investigations, in order to ensure that they are carried out in accordance with international legal standards and also to send a public message that they will be impartial.

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