The situation in the western Sudanese region of Darfur continues to deteriorate, with reports of spill over in neighbouring Chad and fragmentation in rebel leadership. Janjaweed Arab militias reportedly continue to operate in coordination with Khartoum in violation of Council demands. As a result, millions of civilians have suffered, and the delivery of humanitarian aid has been disrupted.
The ceasefire, monitored by the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS), remains shaky. AMIS has suffered setbacks on the ground, including the abduction and killing of troops. It has also struggled with underfunding and lack of expertise. There are reports of funding cutbacks from the EU and the US and indications from the African Union (AU) that funds will be exhausted by March or April.
An AU-UN assessment mission visited Darfur in December to consider the future of peacekeeping in the region, including the deployment of UN troops.
During his 19 December briefing to the Council, Under Secretary-General Jan Egeland asked for an expanded and more effective security presence.
The parties-Khartoum and rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/A)-resumed peace talks on the sharing of power and wealth in late November, under AU auspices. Some progress is reported on wealth-sharing, but there is still a considerable distance between the parties’ positions.
The Council was briefed on 13 December by the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Luis Moreno Ocampo, on the Darfur investigations. The Prosecutor said that, so far, the security situation made trips to the region and witness protection impossible, and that future cooperation from Khartoum would be critical. But Khartoum has established a new specialised tribunal to try to eliminate the ICC jurisdiction and announced on the day of the Ocampo briefing that it would not cooperate with the ICC investigation.
At the time of writing, Council members are about to renew the mandate of the Panel of Experts until March, when a review of the sanctions regime is due, and adopt a Presidential Statement welcoming the resumption of peace talks. The Sanctions Committee received the Panel of Experts’ final report on Darfur.
Expected Council Action
In January, the Council will receive the regular report of the Secretary-General on the implementation of the mandate of the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS). It will also receive the monthly report of the Secretary-General on Darfur.
The Council will also receive the report from the joint AU-UN assessment mission. We expect that Council members will begin to focus on various options such as co-deployment possibilities between the UN and AU, and also the feasibility of the transfer or sharing of AMIS responsibilities with UNMIS.
Council Members will be conscious of the AU Summit in Khartoum (22-23 January) and will want to ensure that the AU members receive positive signals about the valuable contribution which AMIS has made and also a clear message about the need for a more robust presence in the future. At time of writing it is unclear whether this will be done by way of Council action or by members acting individually.
Civil war broke out in southern Sudan in 1962. It ended with the 1972 Addis Ababa agreement, which gave south Sudan autonomy and freedom of religion. The origins of the war are related to struggles between the largely Arab-Muslim north and the economically marginalised south.
In 1983, fighting broke out again with the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) under the leadership of John Garang. The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), in particular Kenya, launched in 1993 mediation attempts that culminated in the Machakos Protocol in 2002, followed by five other protocols. The Council expressed support with an extraordinary meeting in Nairobi in November 2004.
The signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in January 2005 began the transitional process. The agreement established the sharing of public positions between incumbents and southern rebels. It also determined the equitable sharing of oil revenues.
A Government of National Unity (GNU) was inaugurated in July 2005, and John Garang became First Vice-President. With Garang’s sudden death in the same month, Salva Kiir was sworn-in in August. Other political groups in Sudan tried to take part in the process.
In the final weeks of 2005, the situation in south Sudan remained calm, but fragile. The implementation of the north-south CPA continues at a slow pace, with the adoption of a constitution for the region.
In March, the Council created UNMIS to support the implementation of the CPA. It is mandated to, inter alia, assist with disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) of combatants as well as with security-sector reform. Sources of concern are delays in troop deployment and that, at the time of writing, Khartoum and the UN had not concluded a Status of Forces Agreement that will define the legal status of UNMIS in Sudan.
But Khartoum also faced a separate conflict in Darfur in 2003, against the SLM/A and the JEM. At the heart of the conflict are issues such as economic marginalisation and land rights. The Government of Sudan responded by sending troops and recruiting the Janjaweed, who engaged in brutal attacks against the civilian population..
A ceasefire was signed in April 2004 in N’djamena, Chad, and is monitored by AMIS with UNMIS support, mostly on planning and technical advice. Peace talks have dragged on for more than a year, over seven successive rounds, with no peace agreement.
The situation in Darfur poses risks to the transition. The Council has consistently called for a political solution to the conflict and, in particular, on Khartoum to protect civilians and to disarm the Janjaweed.
The Council imposed an arms embargo against non-state parties to the conflict in 2004. In March 2005, it extended the embargo to all parties, imposed a travel ban and assets freeze against violators, a ban on military flights over Darfur, and established a Sanctions Committee and a Panel of Experts to monitor compliance.
Sanctions violations are ongoing, especially regarding the flights ban and Khartoum’s support to the Janjaweed. In addition, Darfur’s porous borders with Chad and with the rest of Sudan cannot counter the flow of arms.
The Committee has been inoperative in preparing a list of individual violators or adopting its own guidelines. Problems with gathering information, including the lack of cooperation from some members of the Sudanese government, marked the first Panel’s tenure.
The Council referred the situation to the ICC in March, per the recommendations of the International Commission of Inquiry (ICI).
The key issue for the Council is how to support both the north-south transition and provide in addition – probably in conjunction with the AU – a more robust presence in Darfur involving UN forces.
A related issue is whether this can be done using UNMIS forces or whether additional forces will need to be generated by DPKO.
The discussions will involve complex technical issues relating to mandates, command and control, application of generic UN peacekeeping principles and not least funding. This will involve innovative thinking about the practical implementation of a partnership with a regional organisation.
The issue of applying pressure for compliance with sanctions will remain on the table. There are differences within the Council as whether this will be an effective lever in terms of promoting a solution to the conflict in Darfur.
Positions inside the Council on the future of AMIS and UNMIS in Darfur are still evolving. However, proposals are expected as soon as the report of the assessment mission is circulated. A sense of urgency is added by the deteriorating situation and by the fact that the Secretariat would need several months before it could generate forces for a large operation in Darfur.
There is some reluctance inside the Council to increasing UNMIS’ troop levels, with a preference to instead redeploy troops from the south into Darfur. Other members consider that the mandate in the south is already as much as can be managed with current force levels.
Dynamics are likely to be influenced by the signals the AU may send regarding its willingness to partner with or transfer responsibilities to the UN. Council members will be sensitive to the issue, particularly since great political capital was invested by the AU in its initiatives as a mediator and as a peacekeeper in the region.
Sensitivities on the part of Sudan will also play a role, but will probably be much less influential than in the past. AU members have seen the difficult experience AMIS has encountered in Darfur and are likely to be less supportive. And the dynamics in the Council will also be impacted by the departure of Algeria, Sudan’s closest ally on the Council during the entire period in which it has been seized of Darfur.
Some members of the Council are eager to start preparing a list of individual violators to be targeted for travel and financial measures. Due to the opposition from a few Council members, it is unlikely, however, that the Council will move at this point to impose individual sanctions.
Regarding any action with respect to Sudan’s non-cooperation with the ICC, the US opposition to the Court is likely to be an important but not necessarily overriding factor.
In addition to beginning work on the future UN/AMIS partnership arrangements, the extension of the mandate of the Panel of Experts on sanctions, some of the options laid out in our December issue continue to be plausible and include:
action to approve the Sanctions Committee guidelines;
an extension of the arms embargo to Sudan’s entire territory; and/or
pressure, perhaps by way of a statement criticising the announcement by Khartoum of its decision not to cooperate with ICC, on Sudan to begin to cooperate with the Court.
Some of the options on the future of AMIS and UNMIS in Darfur include:
incorporating AMIS’ responsibilities and troops into UNMIS with a new UN mandate;
replacing AMIS with UNMIS, and expanding UNMIS’ mandate accordingly. This can be done by raising UNMIS troop levels and/or redeploying troops from south Sudan; or
maintaining separate missions, while mandating increased cooperation including joint operations.
The range of options will be affected by the developments in the political negotiations in Abuja. The elements necessary to clinch a deal may play a role in determining the kind of force structure that will be required.
the reshuffling of public positions threatens traditional power structures;
the south will maintain a separate army, with its own chain of command;
the south will be able to decide whether it desires to secede in 2011; and
Abyei, a historically contested area on the north-south border, will become a separate political entity and will decide its fate in the 2011 referendum separately. Khartoum has, to date, failed to implement the decision of the Abyei Boundary Commission, which is final and binding.
The south is plagued by intertribal fighting and disgruntled armed groups that did not take part in the peace process. Furthermore, the region is in desperate need of economic development, but mines have hindered investment prospects. The division of ministries in the GNU left energy in the hands of the north, causing deep discontent in the south.
The activities of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in the south also raise concerns over Sudan’s porous borders. Sudan and Uganda announced they would start cooperating in that regard in November, and Under Secretary-General Egeland urged the Council on 19 December to take up the matter.
Regarding Darfur, risks come from weak command structures among the rebels. The SLM/A, in particular, has broken up largely along ethnic lines. Even in the event of a peace agreement, fragmentation could offset any improvements in security on the ground in the absence of a more robust peacekeeping presence.
|Selected Security Council Resolutions|
|Selected Presidential Statements|
|Selected Secretary-General’s Reports|
|13 December 2005||The ICC Chief Prosecutor Ocampo briefed the Council.|
|29 November 2005||Darfur peace talks resumed.|
|11 August 2005||Salva Kiir sworn in.|
|30 July 2005||John Garang died.|
|09 July 2005||GNU was appointed, John Garang sworn in.|
|20 June 2005||Trials began at the special Darfur Sudanese court.|
|28 April 2005||
AMIS increased to 7,731 personnel.
|31 March 2005||The Council referred Darfur to the ICC.|
|29 March 2005||Further sanctions imposed in Darfur.|
|24 March 2005||UNMIS established.|
|25 January 2005||
ICI report concluded that international crimes had been committed in Darfur.
|09 January 2005||
|19 November 2004||The Council met in Nairobi to discuss Sudan.|
|20 October 2004||
The AU expanded AMIS’ mandate to include civilian protection.
|18 September 2004||
|01 September 2004||Parties to the Darfur conflict called for AU peacekeepers.|
|30 July 2004||The Council imposed the first arms embargo on Darfur.|
Darfur N’Djamena Ceasefire Agreement signed.
|Naivasha Agreement on Security Arrangements (ceasefire between north and south) signed.|
|February 2003||Rebels rose up in Darfur.|
|July 2002||Government of Sudan and SPLM/A signed the Machakos Protocol.|
Other Relevant Facts
|UNMIS: Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of Mission|
|Jan Pronk (Netherlands)|
|UNMIS Force Commander|
|Major-General Fazle Elahi Akbar (Bangladesh)|
|UNMIS: Size and Composition of Mission|
|Maximum authorised strength: up to 10,000 military personnel|
|Strength as of 31 October 2005: 3,519 troops and 228 military observers|
|Key troop contributors: Bangladesh, India, Nepal|
|1 July – 31 October 2005: $315.99 million (gross)|
|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 authorised strength: 6,171 military and 1,560 police personnel|
|Strength as of 20 October 2005: 5,618 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|