Expected Council Action
In July, the Council is likely to renew the mandate of the AU/UN Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID)—which expires on 31 July—for an additional year. Prior to the renewal, it will hold a briefing and consultations on the Secretary-General’s quarterly report on UNAMID.
Key Recent Developments
Fatou Bensouda, the ICC Prosecutor, briefed the Council on 5 June with “a deep sense of frustration, even despair”, as each of the 17 previous briefings on the work of the ICC on Darfur “had been followed by inaction and paralysis within the Council while the plight of victims of crimes committed in Darfur has gone from bad to worse” (S/PV.6974). Bensouda described several problems in the region, including indiscriminate aerial bombardment, sexual violence as a weapon of war, lack of humanitarian access and impunity for crimes.
High levels of inter-communal violence and displacement have plagued Darfur in recent months. Human Rights Watch (HRW) has reported that members of the Ta’isha and Misseriya communities have carried out attacks on the Salamat community since April in the Um Dukhun area of Central Darfur. As a result of this violence, over 100 civilians have been killed, and more than 30,000 have fled into neighbouring Chad. (According to HRW, while the source of these clashes is a land dispute between the Ta’isha and the Salamat, observers believe that Sudan has been supporting the Ta’isha and Misseriya because of their participation in pro-Khartoum militia in past years.) In one incident on 8 April, Janjaweed leader Ali Kushayb, who has been indicted by the ICC for war crimes and crimes against humanity, was spotted with government security forces and affiliated militia, who razed the town of Abu Jeradil, Central Darfur.
Fighting between the Salamat and Misseriya communities has also expanded to South Darfur, with clashes reported in Shataya on 19 June and some 40 people allegedly killed and 45 wounded in the fighting.
According to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, conflict between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Sudan Liberation Army–Minni Minawi rebel group has led to the displacement of 61,000 people from East Darfur since early April. Most of these people continue to be displaced, with many in dire need of humanitarian aid. (Between January and May this year, roughly 300,000 people have been displaced in Darfur, more than the total number of displaced in the previous two years combined.)
A group of civil society leaders from all five Darfur states held a conference organised by UNAMID on 10-11 June in El Fasher to discuss how to implement the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur. Addressing the participants, El Tijani Seisi, the chairperson of the Darfur Regional Authority, urged civil society “to come together under one umbrella” to have a greater impact on the peace process in Darfur.
Two high-level appointments to UNAMID were recently announced. On 4 June, Lieutenant General Paul Ignace Mella (Tanzania) became the new force commander. Prior to assuming this post, he had served as the chief of the Tanzanian Defence Intelligence Organisation. On 20 June, Joseph Mutaboba (Rwanda) was named Deputy Joint Special Representative in Darfur and deputy head of UNAMID. Mutaboba had served as the Special Representative for Guinea-Bissau and head of the UN Peacebuilding Support Office in Guinea-Bissau until January.
A key issue for the Council is how to address the considerably heightened level of violence in Darfur in recent months.
A related issue for the Council is determining the extent to which the government of Sudan has played a role in supporting this violence.
Another related issue is what the Council can do to improve humanitarian access in the region, notably to civilians displaced by the growing violence in Darfur.
An additional key issue is what can be done to revive the peace process and engage the rebel groups that have not signed the Doha Document in constructive dialogue with the government.
In renewing the mandate of UNAMID, the Council could:
- request from the Secretariat an evaluation of the impact of UNAMID’s recent reconfiguration on the mission’s effectiveness, as well as a determination of whether UNAMID troops can be more strategically deployed;
- demand that Sudan improves its cooperation with UNAMID, given ongoing restrictions on humanitarian access;
- reiterate its demand that rebel movements that have not signed the Doha Document engage in the peace process; and
- emphasise the importance of combating impunity in the Darfur.
Although unlikely, the Council might also consider imposing sanctions on rebel groups that have not acceded to the Doha Document, as well as on the six individuals—President Omar Al-Bashir, Defence Minister Abdel Raheem Muhammad Hussein, Governor of South Kordofan Ahmad Harun, Kushayb, Abdallah Banda Abakaer Nourain and Saleh Mohammad Jerbo Jamus—who have been indicted by the ICC for crimes in Darfur. (Bahar Idriss Abu Garda, a former high-ranking member of the JEM, was charged with war crimes by the ICC, but on 8 February 2010, the Pre-Trial Chamber I decided against confirming the charges.)
Another option would be for the Working Group on Peacekeeping Operations to develop strategies to enhance UNAMID’s protection of civilians work and report these strategies to the Council.
An additional option for the Council would be to ask the Secretary-General to launch a commission of inquiry to investigate the sources of the recent inter-communal violence in Darfur, including allegations of government involvement in this violence.
Several Council members have been troubled by the toll that the deteriorating security environment in Darfur has taken on civilians, and by the assessment by some observers that 2013 has been the worst year for displaced civilians in camps. At least one member believes that the reduction of UNAMID’s force level, mandated in resolution 2063 last July, may have negatively impacted the mission’s effectiveness in protecting civilians. (Resolution 2063 in July 2012 authorised a reduction in the mission’s force level by over 5,900 troops and police to be carried out over 12 to 18 months.)
There are differences of opinion among Council members regarding Sudan’s commitment to the peace process. Some have been critical of the slow pace of implementation of the Doha Document and believe that the government is responsible for much of the conflict in Darfur. France, Luxembourg, the Republic of Korea, the US and others have pointed to reports that security forces are attacking civilians, with some of these members underscoring allegations of indiscriminate aerial bombardments and the climate of impunity in the region.
Other Council members tend to be less critical of Sudan, believing that it is making an honest effort to implement the Doha Document under difficult circumstances. These members tend to emphasise the role of rebel groups in Darfur for the instability in the region. Among this group, Pakistan and Russia have argued that the Council should consider imposing sanctions on rebel groups that have not signed the Doha Document.
The UK is the penholder on Darfur.
UN DOCUMENTS ON SUDAN/DARFUR
|Security Council Resolutions|
|31 July 2012 S/RES/2063||This resolution renewed the UNAMID mandate for a year and authorised a reconfiguration of the mission.|
|31 July 2007 S/RES/1769||This resolution created an African Union/UN hybrid peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID).|
|31 March 2005 S/RES/1593||This resolution referred the situation in Darfur to the International Criminal Court.|
|10 April 2013 S/2013/225||This was a quarterly report of the Secretary-General on UNAMID.|
|Security Council Meeting Records|
|5 June 2013 S/PV.6974||This was a briefing by the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court on Sudan.|
|29 April 2013 S/PV.6956||This was a briefing on Darfur.|
Useful Additional Source
Sudan: ICC Suspect at Scene of Fresh Crimes, Human Rights Watch, June 3, 2013.