November 2005 Monthly Forecast

Posted 28 October 2005
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AFRICA

Darfur

Expected Council Action
The Council will again take up the problem of Darfur, but will struggle to reach agreement on new measures to impact on the level of violence or the difficulties faced by the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS).  The findings in the interim report of the Sanctions Committee’s Panel of Experts could lead to some action on the sanctions front.

Key Facts
The conflict started in 2003, pitting the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/A) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) against the Government of Sudan. The Government responded by sending troops. In addition, Arab tribesmen known as the Janjaweed were recruited by the Government and engaged in brutal attacks against the civilian population of Darfur. Out of the estimated 6 million population of the region, at least 100,000 and possibly as many as 400,000 died, while some 2 million fled and remain in camps for refugees or internally displaced persons.

On 31 March, the Council referred the situation to the International Criminal Court (ICC), following the recommendations of International Commission of Inquiry, established pursuant to resolution 1564 to investigate reports of violations of international humanitarian and human rights law. The Council also:

•Extended the arms embargo to all parties in Darfur
•Imposed a travel ban and assets freeze on human rights violators and peace spoilers
•Reiterated the ban on offensive military flights over Darfur.

A Sanctions Committee assisted by a Panel of Experts was charged with identifying specific persons against whom the sanctions could be targeted.  An arms embargo against nongovernmental actors had previously been imposed through resolution 1556 (2004), and the Council expressed its intention to review it should Khartoum fail to disarm the Janjaweed and bring them to justice.

Following a ceasefire agreement in April 2004 and successive rounds of peace talks, negotiations on power and wealth-sharing started in September.  Little progress has emerged, and the next round is expected to start in late November. 

There has been renewed fighting in Darfur, with breaches of the ceasefire by insurgent groups and the Government, intensified violence against civilians and attacks on AMIS forces as well as aid workers.  Worsening conditions on the ground prompted the UN to suspend part of its aid delivery.

AMIS remains under funded, overstretched and unable to provide adequate civilian protection.  There are reports that the Government has delayed clearance for essential equipment for AMIS.  Although in the coming weeks AMIS is expected to reach its full strength of 7,731 personnel as mandated by the African Union (AU), its inability to effectively prevent or deter attacks against civilians has recently become apparent. In the event of a peace agreement, AU assessments estimate as many as 12,000 personnel will be needed to assist in the return of displaced persons. A new assessment mission is expected for November.

Reports have indicated ongoing violations of sanctions, including Khartoum’s failure to cut support to the Janjaweed or disarm them.  Enforcement of the sanctions regime is still lacking. The Panel of Experts has reported difficulties in obtaining information on the ground and achieving cooperation with the AU. The sanctions committee is still inoperative, with no agreement on guidelines and therefore no capacity to target sanctions against individuals.

The Council currently awaits the Panel’s final report, as well as a briefing from the chairman of the sanctions committee by early December and another one from the ICC Prosecutor-General in December.

On 10 October, the Council was divided about receiving an oral report on Darfur from Méndez, due to reservations from the US, Algeria, China and Russia.  However, a presidential statement expressing concern about recent developments and condemning attacks against AMIS was approved on 13 October.

Key Issues
The Council currently faces three issues:
•Its current measures do not seem to be having the desired effect of deterring violence and providing parties with incentives to negotiate a peace settlement.
•The problems of under funding and overstretching for AMIS are raising questions about the strategy of relying on regional organisations. 
•The internal failure to reach agreement on guidelines for enforcing the sanctions regime has rendered the sanctions strategy ineffective.

Council Dynamics
There is considerable uncertainty inside the Council about what course of action to take, especially given the lack of substantial progress in the peace talks. All along, the Council has been divided on Darfur, with China, Russia and Algeria tending towards the least intrusive approach vis-à-vis the Government of Sudan. This has been particularly visible during debates on sanctions, the ICC referral and most recently, the aborted briefing on Darfur by Méndez.

Moreover, back in 2004, the Council decided to support the AU military deployment in Darfur rather than contemplate a UN-mandated force.  The regional deployment by the AU has been much more acceptable to the Government of Sudan.  But all peacekeeping capabilities are at an early stage of development. Its deployment has been very slow and is still short of the currently authorised numbers. By contrast, the Council has authorised a force of up to 10,000 military personnel in southern Sudan to monitor the implementation of the North-South peace accord. As a result, some actors are concerned that there is a very substantive deployment in areas where there is no conflict, while violence continues to ravage Darfur, a region that suffers from insufficient peacekeeping capacity.

The issue of AMIS capacity has been sensitive. Some Council members prefer that the UN not deal with Darfur at all.  Others are relieved that there is a regional actor to which they can delegate the problem. As a whole, the Council is concerned about not undercutting a budding regional peacekeeping initiative.

Options
Regarding sanctions, the Council will need to decide how to address the current violations.  Revising the current sanctions regime is an option.  Resolving the deadlock in the Sanctions Committee is another.  A more targeted set of measures is a further possibility.  Secondary sanctions against sanctions violators is a fourth option.  But given the current split on sanctions within the Council, prospects seem limited.

Another option which may be discussed is whether to accept the real limitations constraining the AMIS mission or to explore ways of providing a more robust protection presence in Darfur, possibly through the co-deployment of UN and AU troops.  Opposition from the Government of Sudan is to be expected.

Underlying Problems
The deterioration of the situation on the ground reflects fragmentation within rebel groups, widespread lawlessness, the reported continuing support to the Janjaweed from Khartoum and violations of the ceasefire by all sides.

Several regional players also have stakes in the current situation. Eritrea has Darfurian rebels in its territory. Chad has also been a key player in the region, both as mediator in ceasefire negotiations and, as Guterres points out, as a major recipient of Darfur refugees.

UN Documents

Security Council Resolutions
S/Res/1593 (31 March 2005) referred the situation to the ICC.
S/Res/1591 (29 March 2005) strengthened sanctions; established a Sanctions Committee and a Panel of Experts.
S/Res/1590 (24 March 2005) requested the Secretary-General to report on options for the UN Mission in Sudan to assist AMIS.
S/Res/1574 (19 November 2004) expressed support for peace processes in Sudan.
S/Res/1564 (18 September 2004) established the International Commission of Inquiry.

S/Res/1556 (30 July 2004) deemed the situation in Darfur a threat to international peace and security, established an arms embargo, requested monthly Secretary-General’s reports and expressed intention to take action against Khartoum.

Presidential Statements
S/PRST/2005/48 (13 October 2005)
S/PRST/2004/18 (25 May 2004)
Secretary-General’s Reports / Letters
S/2005/650 (14 October 2005) was the latest monthly report of the Secretary-General.
S/2005/378 (09 June 2005) reported on the Secretary-General’s trip to Darfur.
S/2005/285 (03 May 2005) detailed options for UN assistance to AMIS and proposed increases in AMIS troop levels.
S/2004/703 (30 August 2004) noted that the Sudanese government did not fulfil its obligations under resolution 1556 (2004).

Historical Background

 20 October 2005 Peace talks suspended for a month.
 15 September 2005 Peace talks resumed in Abuja.
 28 April 2005

The AU Peace and Security Council increased the authorized strength of AMIS to 7,731 military and police personnel.

 31 March 2005 The Council referred the situation in Darfur to the ICC.
 29 March 2005 The Council authorized travel and financial sanctions. 
 25 January 2005

The report of the International Commission of Inquiry concluded that war crimes and crimes against humanity had been committed in Darfur. 

 09 January 2005  

The Government of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) signed the Comprehensive Peace Agreement to end the North/South conflict. 

 19 November 2004   The Council convened in Nairobi to discuss Sudan, including Darfur.
 20 October 2004

The AU decided to expand the mandate of AMIS to include the protection of civilians in imminent danger and in the immediate vicinity of its troops.

 18 September 2004

The Council asked the Secretary-General to establish a Commission of Inquiry to investigate reports of atrocities in Darfur. 

 01 September 2004 Parties to the conflict called for the deployment of AU peacekeepers.
 30 July 2004   The Council imposed an arms embargo against all nongovernmental entities and individuals until the Government of Sudan successfully disarms the Janjaweed.
 03 July 2004 The Government of Sudan and the UN issued a Joint Communiqué, underlying Khartoum’s commitments towards peace in Darfur.
 08 April 2004

The Humanitarian Ceasefire Agreement was signed by the Government of Sudan, SLA and JEM.

 07 April 2004 The Secretary-General highlighted Darfur in his address to the Commission on Human Rights.
 February 2003 Insurgency against the Government started in Darfur.

Other Relevant Facts

 AU’s Chief Mediator
 Salim Ahmed Salim (Tanzania)
 Head of AMIS
 Ambassador Baba Gana Kingibe (Nigeria)
 AMIS Force Commander
 Major-General Festus Okonkwo (Nigeria)
 Size and Composition of AMIS
 Total authorized strength:  6,171 military and 1,560 police personnel
 Current Strength (20 October 2005): 5,601 military personnel and 1,176 police personnel
 Key troop-contributing countries: Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa and Ghana
 Cost (requested budget)
 $466 million ($290 million pledged)
 Largest donors: Canada, EU, US

Useful Additional Sources

Unifying Darfur’s Rebels: A Prerequisite for Peace, International Crisis Group, Africa Briefing, No. 32, October 2005.

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