November 2013 Monthly Forecast

Posted 31 October 2013
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AFRICA

Sudan (Darfur)

Expected Council Action

In November, Ambassador María Cristina Perceval (Argentina), chair of the 1591 Sudan Sanctions Committee, is expected to provide the quarterly briefing in consultations on the Committee’s work.

Key Recent Developments

The security situation remains volatile in Darfur with significant inter-communal violence continuing throughout the region, as well as violence between government forces and rebel groups. The Reizegat and Ma’alia communities engaged in fighting related to a cattle-raiding incident in Bakhit, Eastern Darfur on 18 September, reportedly leaving 21 dead and 53 wounded. In late September, members of the Misseriya and Salamat communities clashed, apparently over water resources, in Central Darfur, with 45 killed according to OCHA.

On 11 September, Sudan Revolutionary Front rebels attacked a checkpoint of the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) in Um Hashaba, North Darfur, killing one SAF soldier and wounding seven.

Four peacekeepers from the AU/UN Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) were killed in two separate attacks in Darfur on 11 October and 13 October. On 14 October, the Council issued a press statement condemning these attacks and calling on Sudan to investigate them and bring those responsible to justice (SC/11146).

The Implementation Follow-Up Commission on the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD) held its sixth meeting in Doha on 23 September. During the meeting, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of UNAMID Mohamed Ibn Chambas said that the challenging security environment could hinder implementation of the DDPD and delay projects that are part of the Darfur Development Strategy.

On 12 October, the AU issued a decision reiterating its “concern on [sic] the politicization and misuse of indictments against African leaders by the ICC” and deciding that “no charges shall be commenced or continued before any International Court or Tribunal against any serving AU Head of State or Government or anybody acting or entitled to act in such capacity during their term of office”. (Although primarily focused on the ICC’s proceedings against President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Samoei Ruto of Kenya, the decision is also relevant for President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan, who has been indicted by the ICC for allegedly committing war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.)

The Council held a briefing on UNAMID followed by consultations on 23 October. During the briefing, Chambas told Council members that he met with key figures from the Justice and Equality Movement—Gibril Ibrahim and Sudan Liberation Army—a Minni Minawi rebel groups between 22 and 27 August in Arusha, Tanzania. He said that the groups were committed to a “negotiated political settlement…in the context of a holistic solution to Sudan’s problems.” He also noted that Sudan had said that any negotiation with the rebels should be done in the context of the DDPD. Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous addressed the Council after Chambas, referring to the limited progress in the peace process, the difficult security environment and the ongoing need for humanitarian assistance in Darfur. Finally, Ambassador Daffa-Alla Elhag Ali Osman of Sudan expressed concern at what he called “the inability of UNAMID military personnel to defend…themselves” in reference to the recent attacks on UNAMID peacekeepers.

Key Issues

An underlying key issue is how the Sanctions Committee can ensure that violations of the arms embargo do not continue, as reported by the Panel of Experts assisting the Committee.

Another key issue is the continuing inter-communal violence in Darfur. The UN Secretary-General has pointed to fighting over land and natural resources as the immediate cause of this fighting, while some human rights organisations have reported that government forces have played a role in some of the inter-communal violence over the past year. It has likewise been argued that members of the Sudanese Central Reserve Police and the Border Intelligence Brigade, which have absorbed some of the former Janjaweed militia, have perpetrated violent acts as part of tribal militias.

Another ongoing issue is the lack of progress in implementing the DDPD and the absence of a number of the Darfur rebel movements from the peace process.

Options

One option is for Council members to receive the briefing without taking action at this time.

The Council may also consider adopting a resolution that:

  • imposes sanctions on the rebel groups that have failed to engage meaningfully in the Doha process;
  • reiterates the obligations of member states to comply with the arms embargo in Darfur; and
  • deplores the heightened inter-communal violence against civilians in Darfur.
Council Dynamics

There is widespread concern among Council members about the deteriorating security situation in Darfur, including violence against civilians and the related widespread displacement.

Regarding the lack of progress in implementing the DDPD, some members largely fault the non-signatory rebel groups for their failure to engage in meaningful negotiations with Sudan and believe that imposing sanctions on these groups under the 1591 regime might compel them to join the peace process. There is also a growing belief in the Council that the dire economic situation facing Khartoum makes it very difficult for it to implement the DDPD, and some members support the idea of removing bilateral economic sanctions on Sudan and offering debt relief. Others, however, are more inclined to blame the government for what they perceive as a lack of commitment to implementing the DDPD. These members appear to oppose removing economic sanctions on Sudan.

The Council is divided on the issue of the ICC notwithstanding its referral of the situation in Darfur to the ICC in resolution 1593. Some members support the ICC’s work in Darfur, while others are concerned that the pursuit of Bashir and others is motivated largely by political interests.

The UK is the penholder on Darfur, while Argentina chairs the 1591 Sudan Sanctions Committee.

UN Documents on Sudan (Darfur)

Security Council Resolutions
30 July 2013 S/RES/2113 This resolution extended the mandate of UNAMID for an additional year.
14 February 2013 S/RES/2091 This resolution extended the mandate of the Panel of Experts of the 1591 Sudan Sanctions Committee until 17 February 2014.
Security Council Press Statement
14 October 2013 SC/11146 This condemned attacks on UNAMID peacekeepers.
Secretary-General’s Report
14 October 2013 S/2013/607 This was a quarterly report of UNAMID.
Security Council Meeting Record
23 October 2013 S/PV.7048 This was a quarterly UNAMID briefing.