June 2011 Monthly Forecast

Posted 31 May 2011
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AFRICA

Sudan/Darfur

Expected Council Action
The Council is scheduled to receive a biannual briefing from the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, on the court’s work in Sudan. The prosecutor is expected to deliver his report in a public meeting of the Council, followed by a private meeting. 

The Council is also expected to discuss the Sudan sanctions regime in consultations, following receipt of the mid-term report of the panel of experts.

Key Recent Developments
A Council delegation visited Sudan from 21 to 24 May. In Khartoum the delegation was scheduled to meet Foreign Minister Ali Karti and Vice President Ali Osman Taha on 22 May to discuss the situation in Darfur and ongoing negotiations with Southern Sudan.  Karti and Taha cancelled their meetings. The Council’s planned discussions on Darfur with the Sudanese government were overshadowed by the developing crisis in Abyei. The delegation did have meetings with UN representatives, the head of the AU high-level panel on Sudan, Thabo Mbeki, and internally displaced persons. The Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) seized Abyei town on 21 May (see separate brief on South Sudan in this month’s Forecast).

Prior to their visit to Sudan, Council members met the AU Peace and Security Council in Addis Ababa. It seems there were differences between the two sides over the Darfur political process (DPP) and whether to endorse a launch of the DPP as soon as possible. It appears there was not enough agreement to include this idea in the final communiqué.

On 17 May the Council extended the mandate of the Sudan sanctions committee’s panel of experts until 19 February 2012 (it was due to expire on 19 October 2011). The mandate’s new period seems to reflect the delay in appointing the panel, which was authorised in October 2010 but not fully appointed until late February 2011. The Council’s early extension also recognises the reality of the situation facing the panel. Its members have had difficulties getting visas to enter Sudan, and there was a risk that it would not be able to undertake much work ahead of preparing its final report in September.  Following the extension, the report is now due in January.

Moreno-Ocampo delivered his last biannual report to the Council on 9 December 2010. Several key developments have occurred since, including ongoing armed violence in Darfur against civilians and also directed against peacekeepers. The UN has confirmed that 11 civilians were killed when SAF planes bombed two villages south of Ed Da’ein in South Darfur on 16 May and ten civilians were killed in a village northeast of El Fasher in North Darfur two days later. A female peacekeeper was killed and two were injured in an attack in North Darfur on 4 April.

On 12 May the International Criminal Court (ICC) formally notified the Council about the visit of Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir to Djibouti on 8 May to attend the inauguration of Djibouti’s president. The ICC stressed that Djibouti was obliged to execute the outstanding arrest warrants against Bashir stemming both from the Rome Statute, to which Djibouti is a state party, and Security Council resolution 1593. The court asked the Council to take any action that it might deem appropriate.  

On 16 May lawyers representing the two Darfur rebel leaders facing trial at the ICC notified the court that the defendants would only be contesting whether their September 2007 attack on the AU camp in Haskanita was unlawful, questioning whether the AU mission was a peacekeeping mission in accordance with the UN Charter. Both defendants have agreed to plead guilty if the attack is ruled unlawful.

Ahmed Haroun—also indicted by the ICC—was elected governor of Southern Kordofan state in early May, despite claims from the opposition that the election was rigged.

Human Rights-Related Developments
In a statement on 18 March, the Human Rights Council’s independent expert for Sudan, Mohamed Chande Othman, said that he will present his next report in September with recommendations arising from his latest fact-finding mission from which he had just returned. Othman expressed special concern about the situation in Darfur. “We must not forget Darfur, where civilians continue to bear the brunt of the fighting between the armed groups and Government forces,” he said. Othman called on the international community to assist in finding a comprehensive solution to the conflict through an inclusive peace process that addressed the conflict’s root causes, including the economic marginalisation of the region.

 

Key Issues
A key issue for Darfur is what effect wider issues in Sudan, such as a recent escalation of violence in Abyei and Khartoum’s stonewalling of the Council delegation, will have on the Council’s future approach to issues such as Darfur.

Another issue is the ICC request for action against Djibouti. 

Options
Council members could take up the wider Darfur issues in the closed meeting which follows the prosecutor’s briefing and issue either a statement or agree to elements for a press briefing.

Council Dynamics
There are substantive differences within the Council over the ICC’s work in Sudan, particularly between those who are states parties to the Rome Statute and those who are critical of the court’s pursuit of Bashir. South Africa had publicly indicated when coming onto the Council that it intended to seek an Article 16 deferral of the cases against Bashir. 

But events in Abyei, combined with Khartoum’s stonewalling of the Council members’ visit, may mean that there is more scope for a united Council approach on Darfur in the near future. 

UN Documents

Security Council Resolutions

  • S/RES/1982 (17 May 2011) extended the mandate of the Sudan sanctions panel of experts to 19 February 2012.
  • S/RES/1945 (14 October 2010) renewed the mandate of the Sudan sanctions panel of experts.
  • S/RES/1593 (31 March 2005) referred the situation in Darfur to the ICC.
  • S/RES/1591 (29 March 2005) and S/RES/1556 (30 July 2004) imposed sanctions.

Latest Secretary-General’s Report

  • S/2011/252 (15 April 2011) was on implementation of the DPP.

Security Council Meeting Record

  • S/PV.6440 (9 December 2010) was the previous regular biannual Council briefing by the ICC prosecutor.

Other

  • S/2011/111 (8 March 2011) was a note by the president of the Council circulating the final report of the panel of experts of the Sudan Sanctions Committee dated 20 September 2010.

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