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Sudan’s FFC reject findings of national rights body on 3 June attack

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Sudanese protesters close Street 60 with burning tyres and pavers as military forces tried to disperse a sit-in outside Khartoum's army headquarters on June 3, 2019. (AFP Photo)
September 25, 2019 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan’s Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) Wednesday brushed aside the report of a national human rights body on the brutal attack on the pro-democracy sit-in, and stressed their adherence to the investigation committee recently set up by Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok.

In a report released on Tuesday, Sudan’s Human Rights Commission said that 85 people were killed and more than 400 others injured in the capital and other states during the deadly raid on the main protest site.

After the assault, the pro-democracy independent Central Committee of Sudan Doctors (CCSD) said over a hundred peaceful protesters have been killed by the security forces that day.

"We only recognize the independent committee established by Hamdok to investigate the attack on the sit-in," FFC spokesman Wajdi Saleh told Sudan Tribune on Wednesday.

The national human rights body officials are appointed by the ousted president and have not been relieved from their functions but even under the former regime, they had not been seen as an independent authority keen to play their mandate.

For his part, Tariq Kandik, spokesman for the Democratic Bar Association, told Sudan Tribune that the FFC are not concerned by the findings of this report because the constitutional document provided to form an independent national committee to investigate the crimes and human rights committed that day.

"From a political point of view, we see the report issued by the Human Rights Commission on the attack on the sit-in, as an attempt to block the road to the Independent Committee, and attempt to undermine its work and results," said Kandik.

In his decision of 21 September, Hamdok said that the independent investigation committee will be composed of 7 jurists including a judge from the Supreme Court, and representatives of the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Interior (Member), a national figure and two other independent lawyers.

The new committee has to complete its works and submit a report about its finding within 3 months, however, if needed it can extend its mission for an additional three-month period, said the decree.

However, Human Rights Watch on Tuesday voiced some reservation over Hamdok’s committee saying it raises concerns about meeting the basic standards of independence and impartiality.

"The committee includes a representative from the Ministry of Defense, which oversees all armed forces, including the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) that Human Rights Watch and others found were responsible for a wide range of abuses that took place just outside of the ministry’s buildings on June 3," said the statement.

"A Supreme Court judge is also a committee member, which considering how compromised Sudan’s judiciary has been over the years, won’t necessarily bring greater independence and impartiality to the committee," further underscored the rights group.

HRW further regretted that the families of victims are not represented in the committee through their lawyers, and also pointed to the lack of regional supervision over the committee’s work.

"The committee should also not limit its inquiry to the June 3 attack, but should document events back to December 2018 when abuses against the protests started, and identify all those responsible".

(ST)

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