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Sudan’s constitutional court orders reopening of Port Sudan’s victims case


July 7, 2015 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan’s constitutional court has revoked a decision of the public prosecution which prevented families of the victims killed in a demonstration in Port Sudan ten years ago from filing charges under a legal rule known as the statute of limitations.

Sudan’s constitutional court in Khartoum (Photo: Reuters/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah)

On 29 January 2005, more than 20 demonstrators were killed, and at least 400 injured, among them women and children, during a peaceful protest, calling upon the government to allocate more resources to the marginalised eastern Sudan region. Hundreds of protesters were detained.

The interior minister at the time, Abdel-Rahim Mohamed Hussein, formed an investigation committee into the incident but its findings have not been revealed after it reached a settlement and paid blood money for some families of the victims.

However, the appellants who represent 6 families didn’t accept the settlement.

On 3 May, the constitutional court ordered opening of a criminal case on behalf of the appellants against those indicated by the investigation and to bring them to justice.

The court considered that formation of a probe committee by the minister of interior and negotiating with the families of the victims an implicit admission that the perpetrators belong to the interior ministry.

It accused the prosecution and the police of failure to open a criminal case as stipulated by the law.

The Beja Congress of east Sudan sought to bring the case before the International Criminal Court (ICC). However, the war crimes tribunal refused to investigate the case saying it doesn’t fall under its jurisdiction.


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