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Darfur War - 2010

Conflict and human rights abuses in Darfur continued in 2010. Violence in Darfur killed 2,321 persons during the year 2010, an increase compared with the 875 persons killed the previous year. Approximately 45 percent of the violence-related deaths during the year were caused by armed conflict, 38 percent by tribal clashes, and 17 percent due to crime or accidents.

An estimated 1.9 million civilians had been internally displaced, and approximately 270,000 refugees fled to neighboring Chad since the conflict in Darfur began in 2003. According to UN estimates, 268,000 persons were displaced between January and November in Darfur. The UN estimated in 2006 that 200,000 persons had died as a result of the conflict and that by 2008 an additional 100,000 may have died. Civilians in Darfur continued to suffer from the consequences of genocide.

The government continued to bomb and burn civilian areas. Government forces and government-aligned militia continued to kill civilians, rape women and girls, and use child soldiers. Darfur rebel factions, bandits, and unidentified assailants also killed and abducted civilians, humanitarian workers, and personnel of the UN-African Union (AU) Hybrid Mission in Darfur (UNAMID); beat and raped civilians; and used child soldiers. Interethnic violence was a severe problem and resulted in civilian deaths and displacement.

In Darfur fighting involving government, government-aligned militias, rebel groups, and ethnic groups continued to kill, injure, and displace civilians. Fighting between government forces and rebel groups particularly impacted the areas of Jebel Marra and Jebel Moon, beginning early in the year, and near Khor Abeche beginning in mid-December. Intercommunal violence increased during the year. Tensions in IDP camps also resulted in deaths. Rape as well as recruitment of child soldiers continued to occur.

While estimates varied, approximately 1.9 million persons had been internally displaced in Darfur, and approximately 270,000 refugees had fled to neighboring Chad since the conflict in Darfur began in 2003. According to UN estimates, 268,000 persons were displaced between January and November in Darfur. IDPs in Darfur continued to face significant humanitarian needs and experience abuse.

Government forces provided support, weapons, and ammunition to government-aligned militias, and the government seldom took action against soldiers or militia members who attacked civilians.

Fighting, insecurity, bureaucratic obstacles, and government and rebel restrictions reduced the ability of peacekeepers and humanitarians to access impacted areas. Armed persons attacked, killed, injured, and kidnapped peacekeepers and humanitarians. Humanitarian organizations were often not able to access and deliver humanitarian assistance in conflict areas, particularly in Jebel Marra and Jebel Moon. The government's expulsion of 13 international humanitarian NGOs and three local NGOs in 2009 continued to degrade the delivery of humanitarian services. The lack of access as well as fear of government retribution resulted in reduced reporting on human rights and humanitarian information during the year.

Chadian President Idriss Deby met with his Sudanese counterpart Omar Hassan al-Bashir in Khartoum in early February 2010 in what could be a breakthrough moment in the easing of relations between the two countries. The two announced that they will work towards peace within their troubled border areas. Chad has long-accused its eastern neighbor of granting safe harbor to opposition militias, and Sudan claims Chad supports certain Darfuri rebel groups. Any potential peace arrangement in the region would require an end to the proxy war between Chad and Sudan. The talks were plagued by deep distrust between the two sides and a rebel movement too fragmented to unite under a common position.

The most powerful Darfur rebel group, the Justice and Equality Movement, signed a truce with Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir in February 2010 in Doha, Qatar. The deal, negotiated in the Chadian capital N'Djamena, was spurred along by the recent pledge from Sudan and Chad to quit fueling the proxy war on their border. The cease-fire was supposed to lay the groundwork for a formal peace deal to be completed by March 15,. The final agreement is to incorporate elements of power-sharing, prisoner amnesty, and the integration of rebel forces in the Sudanese army. Other rebel groups have not signed on to the deal. The normalization of relations between Chad and Sudan definitely had a great role in this breakthrough between JEM and the Sudan government.

Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir said February 23, 2010 that the seven-year conflict in his country's Darfur region was over. Speaking in the North Darfur capital of El Fasher Wednesday, Mr. Bashir said the war and the crisis in Darfur are "finished," and that a war for development has begun. Bashir's remarks came a day after his government signed a cease-fire with Darfur's most powerful rebel group, the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM).

The other main rebel group on the ground, the Sudan Liberation Movement faction still aligned to exiled-leader Abdel Wahid al-Nur, refused to join the peace talks. While JEM holds Islamist ideological ties with the Khartoum regime, SLA is an ethnic Fur-dominated rebellion seeking secular rule.

Developments regarding ICC cases pertaining to President Bashir, Ahmad Muhammad Haroun, and Ali Muhammad Abd al-Rahman included the following:

  • On July 12, pretrial chamber I issued a second warrant of arrest against President Bashir for three counts of genocide. This warrant was in addition to the March 2009 ICC arrest warrant issued for Bashir for five counts of crimes against humanity and two counts of war crimes. Both arrest warrants remained outstanding at year's end.
  • Ahmad Muhammad Haroun, for whom the ICC issued a warrant of arrest in 2007 when he was then state minister for humanitarian affairs, remained the appointed governor of South Kordofan.
  • Ali Muhammad Abd al-Rahman, also known as "Ali Kushayb," a janjaweed militia commander, for whom the ICC issued a warrant of arrest in 2007, remained at large.

In his semi-annual report in December, the prosecutor reported to the UN Security Council that crimes continue in Darfur, and that the Government of Sudan remained uncooperative with UN Security Council Resolution 1593 and with execution of the arrest warrants against Haroun and Kushayb.

Developments with respect to the ICC prosecutor's 2008 request for an arrest warrant for three rebel commanders, Bahr Idress Abu Garda, Abdallah Banda Abakaer Nourain, and Saleh Jerbo Jamus, for war crimes pertaining to the 2007 attack on African Union (AU) peacekeepers at Haskanita included the following:

  • On June 17, Abdallah Banda Abakaer Nourain and Saleh Jerbo Jamus voluntarily appeared before the ICC pretrial chamber I in response to summonses to appear. In November they waived their rights to be present at the confirmation of charges hearing, which took place on December 8. The pretrial chamber I's decision is due in 2011.
  • On February 8, ICC pretrial chamber I declined to confirm the war crimes charges against Abu Garda, finding that the prosecution's allegations that Abu Garda participated in the alleged common plan to attack Haskanita were not supported by sufficient evidence.

There were no developments regarding the recommendations of the AU High-Level Panel on Darfur's 2009 report, including its recommendation to create a hybrid court of Sudanese and international judges to prosecute the most serious crimes committed in Darfur and a truth and reconciliation commission. Discussions with the government on implementing the panel's suggestions remained stalled due to the government's objections to perceived interference in the country's sovereignty.

Government forces and government-aligned militias engaged in the killing of civilians, including continued aerial bombardment of civilian areas. The aerial bombardment of villages was often followed by ground attacks. Attacks resulted in civilian displacement (also see section 2.d.).

Violence in Jebel Marra--a mountainous area that reaches into each of the Darfur states --killed and displaced numerous civilians, particularly between January and March. In east Jebel Marra, government forces and Arab militias launched offensives against Sudan Liberation Army/Abdul Wahid (SLA/AW) factions based in the mountains. In western Jebel Marra, fighting occurred between SLA/AW factions.

Fighting between the SAF and SLA/AW in eastern Jebel Marra particularly impacted Leiba, Kidingeer, Gugoli, Feina, and Deribat villages in South Darfur and Fanga Suk and Gosdor villages in North Darfur. Fighting, including aerial bombardment, continued during the year. In September-October, the SAF recaptured the villages of Suni and Jawa in an aerial and ground offensive that caused deaths and large-scale civilian displacement. Humanitarian organizations lacked access to Jebel Marra, with the government permitting only brief day-trips to certain areas, making it difficult to gather precise information on the fighting's impact on civilians. UNAMID documented cases of gender-based violence in connection with the fighting in Jebel Marra. According to UNAMID, police arrested perpetrators in two of the cases.

Among numerous other reports of aerial bombardment:

  • On February 17 and 19, respectively, the government reportedly attacked Feina and bombed and attacked the town of Deribat.
  • New IDPs reported that on February 24, east of Golo in Jebel Marra, aerial bombardment and ground attacks occurred on their village.
  • On September 1, the SAF carried out ground attacks in Katur village, close to Deribat, South Darfur. In the days leading up to the attacks, the SAF reportedly carried out aerial bombardment campaigns.

In West Darfur's Jebel Moon area, government forces carried out aerial bombardment and ground attacks against the JEM. Fighting occurred between January and March and then resumed in May. The JEM withdrew from Jebel Moon by May 13; they were pursued by the SAF, and clashes continued. The violence displaced civilians. The government and rebels denied UNAMID access to Jebel Moon. The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) received information that the SAF and other unidentified men committed gender-based violence during the fighting.

On April 29, in Girgigirgi Village near Jebel Moon, government aerial bombardment reportedly killed nine civilians.

In December in South Darfur, fighting between government and SLA/MM forces displaced almost 20,000 persons from Khor Abeche and Shaeria. Negeha and Jaghara villages, which were near Khor Abeche, were burned. Humanitarians lacked access to Khor Abeche. In North Darfur, fighting between government and rebel groups in Dar al-Salaam and Shangil Tobaya displaced 25,000 persons between December 19 and December 31. There were reports of civilian deaths, looting, and destruction of civilian property during the fighting in both North and South Darfur.

Fighting that resulted in killing civilians, also occurred in other areas of Darfur. For example, on January 16, near Katum, North Darfur, fighting between the SAF and SLA/AW reportedly killed 15 civilians and injured 20.

Chadian rebels also reportedly committed abuses near the area of Al Saiyah in North Darfur, including looting of villages and rape. On January 10, two civilians were reportedly killed when the local population clashed with Chadian rebels who had looted in Um Kary Village.

Tensions in IDP camps regarding disputes over political representation in the Doha peace processes resulted in deaths and additional displacements during the year.

In late July violence erupted in Kalma IDP camp between IDPs who supported and those who opposed peace talks in Doha. At least 35 persons died, and approximately 30,000 IDPs fled the camp. The government sought six individuals for alleged responsibility for the violence. They remained under UNAMID protection at year's end. After UNAMID began round-the-clock police patrols in the camp, security improved; however, sporadic gunfire erupted occasionally at night, and houses were set on fire.

In August similar politically motivated violence in Hamidiya and Hassahissa IDP camps in West Darfur between pro- and anti-Doha factions resulted in the shooting death of a student.

On September 3-4, violence again erupted in Hamidiya IDP Camp between pro- and anti-Doha factions, leading to the deaths of seven IDPs in the camp and injuries to approximately 30. At least three of those killed were SLA/AW supporters. Prior to this, on July 27, SLA/AW supporters killed three pro-Doha supporters in the camp.

Inter- and intratribal conflict increased during the year. It was fueled by increased competition for resources due to desertification and population growth, the weakening of traditional mediation mechanisms, and the proliferation of arms. Between March and May, intertribal violence killed more than 500 persons. Ethnic conflict caused 38 percent of violence-related deaths in Darfur.

In March in the area between Zalingei in West Darfur and Kass in South Darfur, fighting erupted between the Misseriya and the Nawaiba-Rizeigat tribes. During the year the violence killed hundreds and caused displacements. The tribes were fighting over land along the two states' border. The fighting limited UNAMID's ability to access some areas around Kass.

On April 20, in Al Ban Jadid, South Darfur, clashes between the Rizeigat and al-Saada tribes killed more than 50 persons.

On September 2, armed men who eyewitnesses identified as Arab tribesmen attacked Tabarat Village in North Darfur, killing at least 37, injuring at least 35, and reportedly displacing 3,000. Presidential Advisor Ghazi Sallahudin commenced an official investigation, appointed a special prosecutor for Darfur to focus on issues of justice and impunity, and promised compensation to victims.




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