- February 2, 2005
No Genocide in Darfur: UN Report
While accusing the Khartoum government of gross, systematic human rights violations, a UN report revealed Tuesday, February 1, ruling out a US-claim Sudan has pursued a policy of genocide in western troubled Darfur.
“The conclusion that no genocidal policy has been pursued and implemented in Darfur by the government authorities, directly or through the militias under their control, should not be taken in any way as detracting from the gravity of the crimes perpetrated in the region,” the report said, according to Reuters.
The report conclusion was welcomed by the Sudanese government as a means to undermined the US claims of genocide in the troubled region.
“We have a copy of that report and they didn”t say that there is a genocide,” said Sudanese Foreign Minister Osman Ismail on the sidelines of an African Union summit in Abuja, Nigeria.
The United States repeatedly called the situation in Darfur “genocide” and accused the Sudanese government of backing the Arab militias Janjaweed in their alleged attacks on African Darfuris.
Last July, the US House Of Representatives unanimously passed a resolution describing the situation in Darfur a “genocide.”
Genocide is defined as intent to destroy a group on national, ethnical, racial or religious grounds.
The UN commission report, however, accused the Khartoum government and its allied militias of systematically abusing civilians in the troubled region.
“The commission found that [Sudan”s] government forces and militias conducted indiscriminate attacks,” the report by the five-member commission said.
Those violations included killing of civilians, enforced disappearances, destruction of villages, rape and other forms of sexual violence, pillaging and forced displacement, throughout Darfur, it added.
“These acts were conducted on a widespread and systematic basis, and therefore may amount to crimes against humanity,” said the report.
The report recommended the UN Security Council refer cases of human rights violations in Darfur to the Hague-based International Criminal Court, the first permanent global criminal tribunal, for trial.
“International offenses such as the crimes against humanity and war crimes that have been committed in Darfur may be no less serious and heinous than genocide,” the report said.
It identified suspected perpetrators of such atrocities as government officials, rebels and “foreign army officers acting in their personal capacity”, adding that there was evidence some fighters with the militia were from Chad and Libya.
The report was initiated last October by the UN Security Council which had asked Secretary General Kofi Annan to set up a commission to investigate alleged human rights violations in Darfur, determine whether genocide had occurred and identify perpetrators.
The Darfur conflict erupted in April 2003 when the rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLA) took up arms against the Khartoum government.
The United Nations said the conflict is causing the world’s worst humanitarian crisis at present.
An estimated 670,000 people have fled their homes in Darfur since the beginning of the conflict while 110,000 others reportedly sought refuge in neighboring Chad.
The World Health Organization and the Doctors Without Borders (MSF) group, however, dismissed reports of the western media on the mass killings and rapes in the Sudan”s western Darfur, considering such reports as a propagation campaign.